For every Internet commenter who enters online arguments about the USA with facts they got from their butt, there's a map that presents hard data bare and allows the viewers to make their own interpretations.

From light pollution and tree coverage to out-of-service railways and streets and highways, maps may not immediately look as exciting as a viral cat video -- which might explain why we often overlook them when -- but that doesn't mean that are boring. To prove that, we put together a selection of maps that explain the United States better then most textbooks and if broadening your worldview isn't thrilling, I don't know what is.

#1

Most Commonly Spoken Language In The Us After English And Spanish

Most Commonly Spoken Language In The Us After English And Spanish

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Meeple13
Community Member
3 months ago

Who thought that German would be up there?!

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There’s often overlapping features between maps. For example, a topographic map could be utilized to show the distribution of a local orchid, making it both a topographic and thematic map. It could also be used to show well-known features of specific interest to travelers making this topographic, general reference, and thematic maps all in one.

The most widely used maps are “Political maps”. They are the ones that are usually mounted on the walls of classrooms throughout the world. They show the geographic boundaries between governmental units such as countries, states, and counties. They show roads, cities, and major water features such as oceans, rivers, and lakes.

#2

The United States Of America: Alaskan Perspective

The United States Of America: Alaskan Perspective

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Shelp
Community Member
3 months ago

I WANT that map

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Political maps are really good at helping people to understand the geography of the world. They are usually the first type of map that students are introduced to in school, too. They are often called “reference maps” because people refer to them again and again when they have questions.

According to Geology.com, thousands of different political reference maps have been prepared to explain the United States. There are maps of the entire nation, maps for each of the 50 states, and even maps of the 3142 counties (parishes in Louisiana, and boroughs in Alaska) that make up the states. Most counties, boroughs, and parishes are further subdivided into even smaller political units. An incredible number of political maps have been prepared just to display the geography of the United States alone.

#3

How I, A Brit, See The United States (Sorry If It Offends Anyone)

How I, A Brit, See The United States (Sorry If It Offends Anyone)

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GirlFriday
Community Member
3 months ago

OK - this is funny.

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Patrick McGranaghan, who is a land surveyor in Colorado, USA, and the creator of one of the biggest online cartography communities, r/MapPorn, did an analysis on its most popular posts on Twitter. McGranaghan collected the 10 best-performing posts from the previous 18 months -- about 200 maps in total -- and went through each of them individually, tagging them based on the content, style, and subject matter. He then sorted the tags to see which ones were the most common.

#4

States With A Smaller Population Than Los Angeles County

States With A Smaller Population Than Los Angeles County

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Something
Community Member
3 months ago

This is why our voting system is insane. (It was designed for a different view of government, where the states govern the people and the federal government is the government of the states, but now that it doesn't operate at all like that, it doesn't make any sense.)

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"The most popular subject was history," McGranaghan told Bored Panda. "In this category, the most popular maps were about World War II." Maps about other wars were also well liked, as well as those about the ancient Romans and historic trade routes.

"Another popular category was natural science. Especially popular are maps about wildlife, such as those that use tracking data to show animal migration patterns. Other topics included geology and astronomic maps."

Interestingly, quite a few viral maps focused on language. These include etymology, dialect and various pronunciation maps.

#5

US Watersheds

US Watersheds

reddit.com Report

BeazleBug
Community Member
3 months ago

For those that don't know, a watershed is a geologic area from which all water drains to the ocean. The pink area is the Mississippi river basin which includes the Missouri, Ohio, Platte. Allegheny, Red and Arkansas rivers (among many, many others)

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"Another topic that I grouped together are 'political re-alignments'. These are maps that deal with boundaries. Subjects like separatist movements, re-drawing borders, and user-created idealizations. Many of these are satirical and funny," McGranaghan explained.

McGranaghan, however, wouldn't say that all of these maps are scientific. "I think the data is a bit noisy, but it's interesting nonetheless. Users sometimes want a magic formula to make their maps go viral and I don't think there is one. The tastes of the masses are fickle and change over time."

#6

Red And Orange Areas Have Equal Populations

Red And Orange Areas Have Equal Populations

Cogo5646 Report

Nathan Jones
Community Member
3 months ago

This is not at all surprising, since nearly half the population in this country lives within 30 miles of the coast.

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When it comes to maps that best describe a country, McGranaghan thinks that it depends on the goal of the mapmaker. "All maps are generalizations, some good, some bad. They are not true representations and a good 'reader' should know that. I think good data visualization will take disparate datasets and find meaningful connections that weren't known before. It sounds simple but it is not so straightforward. A good mapmaker should be familiar with many matrices of knowledge and should be able to sift through them and make new connections."

McGranaghan created r/MapPorn in May 2011 while living in Taiwan, and it currently has over 995K members. He thinks the reason why the community is becoming so big is the same one why people like maps so much: they are easily digestible. So go ahead folks, continue scrolling and enjoy the rest of the post. Bon appétit!

#7

United States Population Lines

United States Population Lines

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Adam C
Community Member
3 months ago

Cool Map.

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#8

The Most Efficient Route Between Every Springfield In The United States

The Most Efficient Route Between Every Springfield In The United States

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zims
Community Member
3 months ago

You're bound the find the Simpsons SOMEWHERE

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#9

Tree Cover Map Of The US

Tree Cover Map Of The US

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Iapetos
Community Member
3 months ago

There are not enough!

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#10

How Much Snow Does It Usually Take To Cancel Schools?

How Much Snow Does It Usually Take To Cancel Schools?

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GirlFriday
Community Member
3 months ago

Nice. I always get a kick out of the places that close school for an inch of snow. You don't even need to wear a coat for 1" of snow.

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#11

Most Common Surname In The United States By State

Most Common Surname In The United States By State

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Bardhi's Dad
Community Member
3 months ago

This is not really surprising, I think

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#12

Every State's Least Favorite State

Every State's Least Favorite State

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Thaia
Community Member
3 months ago

I love how florida hates itself

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#13

Its Very Interesting

Its Very Interesting

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Mihran Hovnanian
Community Member
3 months ago

Why is Canada building some sort of corridor to Mexico?

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#14

More People Live Inside The Red Area Than The Grey Area

More People Live Inside The Red Area Than The Grey Area

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Kevin Donegan
Community Member
3 months ago

... and this is the downfall of the American election system called the electoral college.

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#15

Drug Overdose Deaths In The United States Per 100,000 Persons For 1999 And 2014

Drug Overdose Deaths In The United States Per 100,000 Persons For 1999 And 2014

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Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

This one is saddening.

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#16

US States Scaled Proportionally To Population Density

US States Scaled Proportionally To Population Density

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zims
Community Member
3 months ago

Alaska is so tiny!

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#17

The Loudest And Quietest Spots In The Continental US

The Loudest And Quietest Spots In The Continental US

ational Park Service 9,9822,736Whoa? Report

Brandy Grote
Community Member
3 months ago

my house is in the border of very loud and very quiet. I can hear trains, a freeway, coyote howls, and owls hooting.

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#18

Out Of Service Railways

Out Of Service Railways

Andrew Grigg/ Report

nanashi
Community Member
3 months ago

for a large country like America, why is there no push for investing on high speed trains to cross the states?

Daria B
Community Member
3 months ago

Oh, there was a documentary about it, I don't know the title, sadly. Basically, it's because car companies wanted to sell more cars.

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Bob Belcher
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Fact: in the 1800s when rail was fisrt being laid there was no standard for rail width. Many companies used different widths which means cargo had to be loaded into train A city A, then travel to city B: unloaded from train A to train B and then continue and possible transfer again. Northern states had the benefit if a select few companies while southern states had many different Independant companies. This played a direct role in the logistics of the Civil War. After Vanderbilt created a huge monopoly he standardized the width now used and all other rails were discontinued. All railroads are exactly 4 feet 8.5 inces apart. Why? Because Vanderbilt used the width of a horse carriage which some say has been the same since the Roman times. Additionally, the tracks on the space shuttle mover are the same width. Therefore, Ancient Roman technology has a direct affect on all our lives and to some extent dictated part of space exploration. My dad told me this when I was a kid. My mind is still blown.

jamie1707
Community Member
3 months ago

Great stuff Bob!

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Kevin Waspi
Community Member
3 months ago

Bob, There were plenty of odd gauge rail lines in the early US. Truth is, none of them were other than minor spur lines less than a few miles long that never really connected to anything other than one minor point to another. Why? Because they COST MORE than the standardized equipment of 4 feet 8.5 inches UNLESS you were only buying a very few pieces of rolling stock to be used over a very short distance for specific purpose.

Bob Belcher
Community Member
2 months ago

Cool, thanks for the additional info.

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dena masoomi
Community Member
3 months ago

Time to recycle

Robert Ruedisueli
Community Member
3 months ago

Some of this is due to moving routes, but others are due to shutting down passenger rail. We need more passenger rail, but our passenger rail keeps shrinking. Train travel is continually growing faster and more efficient, while air travel is stagnant with growing inconvenience. If it wasn't for unfair subsidy of air travel, Americans would be flocking to trains.

Kevin Waspi
Community Member
3 months ago

Bob Belcher is only giving you part of the truth with different gauge rails. That 4 feet 8.5 inches was the standard in Britain, long before Mr. Vanderbilt created his monopoly. Want to read a funny account of that odd measure? See https://aviationhumor.net/the-us-standard-railroad-gauge-is-4-feet-8-5-inches/

Kevin Waspi
Community Member
3 months ago

The US used to be the envy of the world of rail transportation (both freight and passenger) until the government allowed the bus, petroleum, and rubber magnates buy up and dismantle rail service. All done in plain sight, in the name of "public transportation", this fraud is still not understood, as seen in its latest incarnation of "rails to trails". Useful idiots seventy years ago, now with offspring covering their idiotic decisions as useful idiots today.

Tostitos9781
Community Member
3 months ago

A little secret. I lived in Europe for 9 years. They have started converting rail lines to bicycle trails. A mix of regional lines and an air traffic network is sensible, but no one rides the rail from Lisbon, Portugal to Bucharest, Romania (Equivalent of LA to NYC). Even on high speed italian Frecciarossa trains, you would be looking at a 3-5 day trip.

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Curry on...
Community Member
3 months ago

I miss trains.

jamie1707
Community Member
3 months ago

We should be ashamed of the way we let railroad infrastructure just rot.

Bob Belcher
Community Member
3 months ago

Read my post. Most of it is old railways that are not compatible with the standardized width.

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Vicky Zar
Community Member
3 months ago

Wow

Plaid Progressive
Community Member
1 month ago

All can be great trails to hike! There actually is an organization called Rails to Trails.

Dale Henigman
Community Member
2 months ago

Cost too much per capita of usage, and need for individual conveyance at destinations.

Dorothy Cloud
Community Member
2 months ago

Ask Calif. We've spent millions of $'s and so far we have sporadic bits of railroads. Why? I think it's because it probably costs $100,000 per foot. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but I wouldn't bet on it!

Annie
Community Member
2 months ago

What a shame for so many reasons! We could be so much better and help save the environment...if only!

Rodney Barnes
Community Member
2 months ago

In the early 1800's before railroads most larger size towns around New York and Boston would run between 100-300 "stagecoaches" a day

Mildred Thompson
Community Member
2 months ago

I think that this is a shame. Wouldn't using railroads cut air pollution!?

Meghan Kennedy
Community Member
2 months ago

Because the automobile corporations pushed for the destruction of railways

Susan Brodrick
Community Member
2 months ago

I'd like to see this map by "Useable Out of Service Railways" then there is a discussion. Most cities and countries that invest really well in rail, the trains run very well. There is no reason why this couldn't work in the US. Spoilt nation of impatient car drivers, it's your god damned right to pollute the world's atmosphere with cars and planes to get there FASTER!

Joyce Brazel
Community Member
2 months ago

THIS IS SAD!

Lana Carlsson-Irwin
Community Member
2 months ago

this is sad. so many benefits to rail.

Toni Carroll
Community Member
2 months ago

Because it is too long, takes too much time and is uncomfortable. Ride Amtrac from Boston to LA. It's miserable, even if in first class.

Johanne Trudeau
Community Member
2 months ago

WOW!!!

Bill Case
Community Member
2 months ago

The country as a whole isn't set up for rail traffic. For example, when was the last time you saw a car rental office near a train station. When I lived in Phoenix I had to get to Flagstaff (!) to take a train. Airlines have the travel industry down pretty well. You change planes, your checked bags are automatically transferred to the new train. If You want to take a cross-country train trip (and decide to get a compartment for the five-day jaunt), the cost is similar to the cost of going by air (so unless you just want to see the sights, ...). If you want to eat on a train on a long trip you'll find the dining cars sometimes go off with a different train segment when the train is broken up at a major city. The staff is frequently surly. Lots of reasons.

Scott Bremner
Community Member
3 months ago

bike trails...

Cindy Chambers
Community Member
3 months ago

Aside from all the people crapping on the government, the fact is that there is no real demand for it. Why spend the money to travel for 2 days by train when I can fly there in 5 hours or less for less money?

ashley lesniak
Community Member
3 months ago

This is so sad.

Lea Springstead
Community Member
3 months ago

Let's turn them all into paved bike paths

Joshua Webster
Community Member
3 months ago

living near Promontory Summit, I have a few trails and rails to explore... when the rattlesnakes aren't out.

Lorraine R
Community Member
3 months ago

A lot of freight is moved by trucks now rather than trains. Now, If the airlines keep acting like they're the only way to get anywhere, and adding fees and being sniffy about giving people their money back for cancellations, etc., we may see a revival of passenger lines -- or so I keep dreaming.

Tabitha L
Community Member
3 months ago

Such a waste. I love riding the train.

carebear
Community Member
3 months ago

Sad

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
3 months ago

Hyperloops: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcikLQZI5wQ

Brandy Grote
Community Member
3 months ago

A damned shame

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#19

The U.S. Mapped By Residents’ Desire To Move To A Different State

The U.S. Mapped By Residents’ Desire To Move To A Different State

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Zoe Murphy
Community Member
3 months ago

Can’t leave....... In-N-Out!!!

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#20

Use Of The Word "Dang" Across The Continental US

Use Of The Word "Dang" Across The Continental US

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Troux
Community Member
3 months ago

Damn.

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#21

How America Utilizes Its Land

How America Utilizes Its Land

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zims
Community Member
3 months ago

I wonder where reservations fall on this chart.

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#22

Percentage Of People Born Outside The U.S. In Each State

Percentage Of People Born Outside The U.S. In Each State

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
3 months ago

To hear a lot if Americans talking, it would be much higher.

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#23

Regions Of The U.S. That Don't Officially Celebrate Christopher Columbus Day

Regions Of The U.S. That Don't Officially Celebrate Christopher Columbus Day

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Gareth Graham
Community Member
3 months ago

From watching US news recently, this may change

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#24

Popular Coffee Shop Chains By Number Of Locations

Popular Coffee Shop Chains By Number Of Locations

dannywat3rm3lon Report

Squirrelflightisawesome
Community Member
3 months ago

Caribou. I just love it.

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#25

Map Of Lowest Recorded Temperature In Each Us State (Fahrenheit)

Map Of Lowest Recorded Temperature In Each Us State (Fahrenheit)

reddit.com Report

Meechelle Reha
Community Member
3 months ago

This is Hilarious to me, my ex-husband was raised in Alaska from 7 year's old until 22 year's old & heard a ton of weather stories 😅 😄 😂 😆 🙃 🤣 😅 😄 I've been there 4 time's but alway's in summer though!

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#26

Light Pollution In The United States

Light Pollution In The United States

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tuzdayschild
Community Member
3 months ago

All astronomy hopefuls, please step to the left.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#27

Air Traffic Control Zones In The USA

Air Traffic Control Zones In The USA

reddit.com Report

Miss Cris
Community Member
3 months ago

"Albuquerque, we have a problem"

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#28

U.S. Education Spending Map

U.S. Education Spending Map

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WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Explains why so many US citizens show a heartbreaking ignorance and why a guy like Trump could become president.

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#29

Map Of The United States' 8 Million Miles Of Roads, Streets And Highways

Map Of The United States' 8 Million Miles Of Roads, Streets And Highways

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@Daisychain
Community Member
3 months ago

viod-5ef49...bb452e.png viod-5ef493dbb452e.png

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#30

USA Tree Diversity

USA Tree Diversity

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Ryleigh
Community Member
3 months ago

We need more trees!!!!

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#31

Garbage Can vs. Trash Can In The United States

Garbage Can vs. Trash Can In The United States

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RJ
Community Member
3 months ago

rubbish

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#32

Portion Of Each State That Is Federal Land

Portion Of Each State That Is Federal Land

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kate h
Community Member
3 months ago

Hawaii: 19% Federal, 81% Zuckerberg :/

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#33

All U.S. Counties With In-N-Out Burger As Of May 2020

All U.S. Counties With In-N-Out Burger As Of May 2020

reddit.com Report

Troux
Community Member
3 months ago

Thanks for posting this. I keep hearing this name and have never seen one.

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#34

A Tastier Map

A Tastier Map

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
3 months ago

Good grief, Georgia is insanely Waffled.

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#35

Date Of Creation Of All 3,142 U.S. Counties

Date Of Creation Of All 3,142 U.S. Counties

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Miss Cris
Community Member
3 months ago

Do they did it ex profeso to have a pi number of counties?????

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#36

US Governors By Eye Color

US Governors By Eye Color

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dena masoomi
Community Member
3 months ago

I’m not sure what to do with this information

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#37

Voters Who Didn't Vote For Hillary Or Trump

Voters Who Didn't Vote For Hillary Or Trump

reddit.com Report

BluEyedSeoulite
Community Member
3 months ago

AND LOOK AT WHAT Y'ALL DID!!

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#38

Average Size Of US Apartments By Region

Average Size Of US Apartments By Region

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Ryleigh
Community Member
3 months ago

dang

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#39

Results Of The 1984 United States Presidential Election By County. The Most Lopsided Election In History, The Only State Reagan Failed To Win Was His Opponent’s, Minnesota

Results Of The 1984 United States Presidential Election By County. The Most Lopsided Election In History, The Only State Reagan Failed To Win Was His Opponent’s, Minnesota

reddit.com Report

Kevin Donegan
Community Member
3 months ago

In reverse, this must be the outcome of the 2020 election. Trump is setting up the "corrupt election" playbook so that when he loses, he can claim the election was fraudulent. We need to do the same thing Reagan did and OVERWHELMINGLY vote the morbidly obese pathological lying vindictive narcissistic imbecile with the emotional maturity of a toddler (AKA tRump) out of office.

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#40

US Counties With Gdp Over $100b

US Counties With Gdp Over $100b

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Dave P
Community Member
3 months ago

um where are the five counties that make up NYC, all five have GDP's over 100B on their own

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#41

USA Country Map Divided By 1/3rds Of Covid Deaths

USA Country Map Divided By 1/3rds Of Covid Deaths

reddit.com Report

Brandy Grote
Community Member
3 months ago

give it a month.

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