In Susquehanna County in 2012, Mitt Romney received 10,800 votes to Mr. Obama’s 6,935. Mr. Trump’s victory four years later was 12,891 to Mrs. Clinton’s 5,123.
In neighboring Bradford County, the difference between Mr. Trump’s margin of victory and Mr. Romney’s was 5,986 votes. To the west, in Warren County, it was 4,317. In Clearfield, in the state’s midsection, it was 7,506.
And on and on. Pennsylvania has 67 counties. Mr. Trump ran up the score in all of the least populated ones. Even tiny Cameron County, the state’s smallest, contributed 423 more votes to the Republican margin than it had in 2012.
By the old formula, Mrs. Clinton should have prevailed. But these counties — some of which are 98 percent white — tilted the state to Mr. Trump. The totals in any one of them may seem small, but in the aggregate, they gave Mr. Trump a margin of victory at least 150,000 votes bigger than Mr. Romney had run up four years earlier. That was enough for Mr. Trump to win Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes by a razor-thin 48.58 percent to 47.85 percent.
“I’ve heard people lay the blame on the African-American community not supporting Hillary strongly enough, but I don’t buy it,” Terry Noble, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s rural caucus, told me. “Rural Pennsylvania went crazy for Trump. They literally came out of the hills.”
In the lead-up to this November’s election, there has been a focus on the suburbs. If you listen to cable news for any length of time, you’re likely to hear some pundit say, “It’s all about the suburbs.”