Forgottonia Profile: Election Results

To gain a better idea of what the 16 county region known as Forgottonia actually looks like, we compiled election data by county over the past 20 years.  Please note, that the purpose of this examination is to not endorse one political party or policy over another but to gain a better understanding of this place we call Forgottonia.  Our students simply documented election results, examined how they’ve changed over the years, then thought about what this means for us today. Although political party affiliation in Forgottonia over the past 20 years is complex and ever-changing, our study reveals that there has been and continues to be growing support for the Republican Party throughout Forgottonia. This trend occurred even before the presidential election of 2016, which subsequently sparked greater national interest in all things rural. 


As we share below, we find this growing support for the Republican party is perhaps largely due to collective feelings of resentment and alienation that once again persist throughout Forgottonia; sentiments that echo the original Forgottonia movement of the early 1970s.  Simply put, the support for specific policies or social causes in Forgottonia, has not seemed as important when compared to the desire to be seen and heard.   The election results reveal that the Republican Party has appealed to these expressions better than the Democratic Party (i.e., Donald Trump’s share of votes in Forgottonia actually increased in 2020 despite losing the overall election).  This analysis, therefore, provides insights for elected officials, community builders, and citizens alike–regardless of political party affiliation–to create strategies/policies that initiate and sustain economic growth in the region, promote consensus and civil dialogue, and most importantly seek to satisfy that the concerns of Forgottonians throughout the region are heard. 

Please note, our analysis covers only the following races (it would be interesting to examine how this trend is sustained or negated in more local elections at the county and city level where political party affiliation is likely less regarded): 

  • PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS for 2000-2020 (6 total elections)
  • GOVERNOR  of ILLINOIS ELECTIONS for 2000-2020 (5 total elections)
  • CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS for 2010 – 2020 (Depending on the county, this typically reflects congressional elections for the 13th, 17th and the now deficient 18th district)  
  • SENATORIAL ELECTIONS for 2010-2020 (4 elections total)

You can view and/or download the document in its entirety below. We plan to keep updating this document after upcoming elections. For now, here are some of the interesting takeaways when examining elections results throughout Forgottonia:

  • The presidential elections of 2016 & 2020 are the only elections (in the past 20 years) where all 16 counties favored one candidate (Republican Donald Trump). These trends were not unique, however, as the largest votes for Trump during these elections came from small-town and non-metropolitan areas. This article explores various insights into understanding this phenomena. KEY TAKEAWAYS include the following: 
    • RESENTMENT: “Given their intensifying feelings of resentment for being ignored and left behind, rural and small-town dwellers were particularly receptive to the slogan touted by Trump in his campaign – “Make America Great Again!”
    • SOCIAL CLASS IDENTITY + POLITICS: According to political scientist, Katherine Cramer, “people in rural areas feel as though they are being ignored by urban elites and urban institutions like government and the media at a time when they are struggling to make ends meet…Residents of rural and small-town communities believe they are not getting their fair share of government attention and vital resources compared to urban dwellers. They believe that America is moving away from them.”
    • “They believe their communities are dying, the economy is leaving them behind, and that young people, money and their livelihoods are going somewhere else…They think that major decisions affecting their lives are being made far away in big cities.”
    • FEELING THAT NO ONE IS LISTENING: “Perhaps most importantly, they feel that no one is listening to them or their ideas about things that are important to them.”
    • CONTINUING TRENDS of a URBAN-RURAL DIVIDE: According to a recent opinion poll conducted at the University of Chicago, “Results show that residents of small towns and rural areas are much more supportive of the Republican Party and its candidates than people in urban and suburban areas…the most ardent supporters of Republicans are among those small-town and rural dwellers who are white and male, have less than a college education and vote on a regular basis.”

Additional Takeaways

  • 14 of the 16 counties in Forgottonia favored Republican candidates for President, Senate, Representative, and state Governor in the last 20 years
  • 2 of the 16 counties favored Democratic candidates for President, Senate, Representative, and state Governor in the last 20 years
  • 5 of the 16 counties unanimously selected Republicans for President, Senate, Representative, and state Governor in the last 20 years
  • Despite losing the election of 2020, Donald Trump increased his % of the vote in all 16 counties in Forgotton



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