There’s no question, the 2016 presidential race and eventual election was among the strangest, most divisive, and ultimately shocking in our great country’s history. Other than a few overly loud extremists, it seems the majority of Americans are more relieved that the contest (and subsequent social media memes) is over, than concerning themselves with the eventual, historic outcome.

The aforementioned outcry of sore losers—er, the radical left—stems from the unusual mismatched results between the popular vote and the Electoral College voting system. Seriously, do a Google search (at the time of this writing) for “sore loser” and your screen will be splattered with news of Democrats introducing bills to abolish the Electoral College—a system written into our constitution and upheld for each of our nation’s 58 presidential elections.

Indeed, this is only the 5th time that a candidate has won the election but lost the popular vote. How could this be? What were our founders thinking?! In short, they didn’t want such an important decision to be made by a handful of concentrated American cities.

Or, as explained by the 1960 World Series:

GameScorePt Diff
1New York Yankees – 4Pittsburgh Pirates – 62
2New York Yankees – 16Pittsburgh Pirates – 313
3New York Yankees – 10Pittsburgh Pirates – 010
4New York Yankees – 2Pittsburgh Pirates – 31
5New York Yankees – 2Pittsburgh Pirates – 53
6New York Yankees – 12Pittsburgh Pirates – 012
7New York Yankees – 9Pittsburgh Pirates – 101
28
Total Score (Popular Vote)
New York Yankees55
Pittsburgh Pirates27
Games Won (Electoral College)
New York Yankees3
Pittsburgh Pirates4

This fun analogy, shamelessly borrowed from Rush Limbaugh, illustrates how the Electoral College is a better representation of a fair contest—I doubt many would suggest the true winner of the 1960 World Series was the New York Yankees.

Which brings us to the elusive “swing states” and their eventual impact on the 2016 election. These promiscuous states spend the election cycle courting the hopeful candidates, with their eventual decision dramatically impacting the election result.

And while the states in question shift over the years, the general list includes: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

2012 Swing State Election Results


2012 Election Map

2016 Swing State Election Results


2016 Election Map

Okay, so more than half of the swing states switched over – effectively giving Donald Trump the nod over Hillary Clinton. And if you’ll allow me to show you one more map (last one, I promise), you may notice a correlation…

Cigar Tax Rates


US Cigar Tax
Tax rate:
Under 5%
Under 10%
Under 20%
Under 30%
Under 70%
70 – 100%

Of our 12 swing states, those with cigar tax rates at 5% or under switched to red at an 83% rate. The remaining blue states have an average cigar tax rate of 23%. Over the past decade there have been a number of proposed tax increases, smoking bans, and more serious regulations imposed on the tobacco industry (we’ll get to that in a minute). On this election alone there were 23 states that considered bills to increase tobacco tax rates—3 of which passed (and only 1 included cigars).



Cigar smokers have had enough, and with the once-distant threat of cigar regulation (authorized by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2009) finally becoming a reality this summer, the implications of an increasingly overbearing government were unveiled; showing real-life results that were on the minds of many voters in cigar-dense regions.

SEE ALSO: What Can You do to Help Save Premium Cigars?

But of all the “cigar friendly” states, none are more prevalent than Florida and Pennsylvania. Both rank among the top 5 regions for active cigar smokers on the Cigar Dojo app and both are known for their 0% tobacco tax on cigars. Because of this, an overwhelming majority of the nation’s cigar retailers reside within these two states—especially when taking the largest online retailers into account. These, of course, were among the most important/decisive states in the eventual outcome, along with Michigan—with the 3 states making up over 40% of all the swing state electoral votes. And all three switched to red (Michigan’s numbers are still technically out).

Now take into account the lackluster turnout for Democrats among their vital Latino vote. Clinton received 278,000 more votes than Obama did in Florida in 2012, yet lost by more than 100,000 votes (according to Meet the Press). Why? The argument could be made that our ol’ cigar smoking Cuban pals made the call. Cuban-Americans are reportedly 20% more likely to vote than the general Hispanic population, with two-thirds of Cuban-Americans residing in Florida (according to U.S. News). The Cuban vote was essentially split in the 2012 election, with Obama besting Romney by 2 percentage points. Compare that to 2016 and you’ll find a complete reversal, with Trump claiming up to 54% of the Cuban vote (according to Latino Decisions).

It’s no secret that a large percentage of Cubans are partial to the world of premium cigars. So when Obama and his administration managed to nearly simultaneously introduce the demise of craft, boutique, or mom ‘n pop cigar shops and factories, such as the historic cigar regions of Ybor City and Miami’s Little Havana with egregious FDA regulation; and a recent focus to normalize relations with communist Cuba, from which many are first-hand witnesses to Castro’s firing squads and property/business confiscation; you begin to see how the objectives of this administration did not sit well with Cuban-Americans.

While we don’t fully know what to expect from a Trump presidency (yeah yeah, other than a giant wall), there is hope that his administration will be more sympathetic to cigar smokers and their favorite hobby. At Cigar Dojo, we’ve always advocated that Democrats and Republicans should not be your main concern—rather those that give the power back to the people through a less intrusive government. Donald Trump has made it a point to emphasize his stance on deregulations across multiple industries, and that’s just what cigar smokers rallied for. But it’s the all-star team that Trump appears to be assembling that may have cigar smokers most excited, with notorious cigar enthusiast and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani expected to receive a cabinet position with the new administration. And then there’s Senator Marco Rubio, who was re-elected to the Florida Senate this election; Rubio has sponsored legislation to exempt premium cigars from regulation since assuming office in 2011. Both men are assumed to have pull within the inner circle of Trump’s administration. Not to mention Trump’s pick for vice president, Mike Pence, who has been an open advocate for cigar smoker’s rights for several years, freeing up regulations for cigar establishments in Indiana and being a co-signer of the HR 1639 (Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011).

Does this all amount to a reversal of course for the cigar industry? It’s no guarantee, but it’s safe to say that the future looks brighter than it did yesterday—not only from a changing of the guard, but a prevention of another Clinton administration that made its intentions to push Obama’s introduced regulations forward, and then some. Smokers can rejoice (did someone say celebratory cigar?) knowing they did their share at the ballot box—potentially saving the cigar industry from the brink of craft/boutique extermination.

  • Brian David K. Lake

    Basic violation of statistical rules. Causation and correlation aren’t hand in hand. And WTF? Trump is a horrific liar and horrible individual and the Republicans have systematically fucked up the economy for the poor, middle class, etc, as well as lied and obstructed on anything good. This is just disgusting to read.

    I’d rather have no cigars available than have a horrific corrupt congress and government under the employ of a billionaire corporatist.

    • Brian, it sounds like you need to relax with a good cigar.

      Cheers!

  • I am amazed at the folks who responded by saying they didn’t come here for politics. Um, you opened a link to an article that has “election” in the name. I think you can safely assume that politics are going to be in the article!
    Like most things about politics, cigars or religion, eat the fish and spit out the bones. Instead of pointing out everything you dislike, see if any of the points have merit, then move on.

  • Sam C.

    I am dismayed at reading this “article.” In the same way that I really dislike having to listen to Fox News at Jiffy Lube while getting an oil change, I am not a fan of charged political commentary in my cigar review sites. It’s in poor taste to assume that cigar smokers all fit into one category, and that we want to hear people called “sore losers”, read about Rush Limbaugh, and hear crockpot theories on world affairs. I daily read an array of cigar news sites and enjoy them: halfwheel, cigarfederation, cigar-coop, stogieguys, kohnhed, leafenthusiast, thecigarauthority, casasfumando, and cigardojo. I don’t see why I should be assaulted with political commentary that you would otherwise read (or not read, actually) in the comments section. This colors my view of the site as a whole as a “community” resource. One of the reasons I enjoy Cigarfederation so much is that the site and the community specifically avoid veering into this territory. If you do fee the need for this kind of commentary, NPR recently had a short piece about discussing politics at the water cooler and outlined several ways to do so in a non-inflammatory way.

    • Tom the Tinker

      Wait, did you just say this article assaulted you??? Is that where we are at now? Feeling assaulted at the very existence of an article that we may personally disagree with?

      Heck, if that’s the case I’m being assaulted all day and all night when I turn on my TV. I suppose I will have to retreat to my safe-space.

    • I agree. If I want to read Conservatives bashing Democrats I’ll go to Fox. I don’t expect to read political bullshit on a cigar site.

      So Samurai Sumatra, if you blame the Democrats for the original bill, how do you explain the Republicans doing nothing with the FDA ruling for the last 6 years? Not one bill has made it through Congress removing funding from the FDA for cigar regulations.

      I would argue that Obama has done more for cigar smokers than Rubio. Rubio would bar every American from going to Cuba while Obama wants to remove the embargo, and gave travelers no limit when bringing back Cuban cigars and rum when.

      Oh and your comment to someone else declaring “you’re not a Trump supporter” doesn’t wash. Maybe you should reread your own article.

      You’re deleted from my bookmarks.

      • Thanks for you comment. One quick response in regard to your assertion that Obama has done a good thing opening up Cuba. That illustrates our point we are making in this article. Cuban Americans are appalled by Obama’s actions because their families were destroyed and their property was stolen when the Communists took over. While they want to repair the relations between American and Cuba they don’t want it done without change on the side of the Communists.

        Being in the cigar biz we know a lot of Cuban Americans and they are not shy about their feelings regarding Castro and his regime and Obama’s recent actions which they feel is a slap in the face.

        As Scott de la Peña from Hermosa Cigars recently told me about his family…. “They left all their worldly possessions and family members behind, It is unconscionable to us that this administration would receive no assurance of open elections …or even a public apology to Cuban-Americans, and yet still award diplomatic legitimacy to this evil regime.”

        It’s feelings such as these that turned the Cuban’s in Miami against voting Democratic as they did in 2008 and 2012.

      • Buddy, before making a snarky comment that I should “reread my own article,” you might want to do the same. I never made such a comment… I’ve made one comment on this article and it had nothing to do with that.

        Now, as far as Republicans not doing anything for 6 years. This is not the case, as the FDA only made its intentions to include premium cigars within the last 2 years. Republicans as a whole didn’t fight this like they should have. That goes along with the narrative of this article: we should be voting for the men and women that will fight and support deregulation, such as Marco Rubio and Mike Pence; both of which have done exactly that.

        Arguing that Obama has done more for cigar smokers is mind boggling. It’s a selfish point of view that looks past the injustices of a corrupt and communist Cuban government for your own personal gain. Meanwhile, honest and hardworking cigar manufacturers are set to fall by the wayside from regulation set into motion by Obama.

        • Cam Rush

          Perfect reply. They see what they want to see.

      • Cam Rush

        Why did you read the article then ?

      • David

        It seems when Liberals don’t get their way or get their little feelings hurt they just take their toys and go home. Come on man, stay in the game and scrap with us.

  • Rob H

    Republicans in congress have pouted for the last eight years and flat-out refused to work with Obama for the simple reason that he is bla…a Democrat. Yet liberals are labeled “sore losers” when they react to a bigot whose unqualified to be president being elected. Don’t assume that because I enjoy a good cigar I am also a Trump supporter. I smoke cigars, not crack.

    • I’m not a Trump supporter either. And if you read the article we specifically state… “At Cigar Dojo, we’ve always advocated that Democrats and Republicans should not be your main concern—rather those that give the power back to the people through a less intrusive government.”

      I personally couldn’t care less what letter is in front of a person’s name… “R” or “D” it doesn’t matter to me. It’s all about candidates (Republican or Democrat) that support my liberty to smoke cigars.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Seth Geise

    I will begin by saying I am a Conservative Democrat. I may be considered by some as a Liberal, but there are some liberals out there that think I am only Democrat in name.

    1) How Rush Limbaugh found a correlation between a seven game world series and the total runs in that series with the election of a United States President is beyond me. I’ll give him credit on “creativity” for comparing a Republic to a 7 Game World Series, but using that as a staring point is a poor foundation. (Speaking of poor foundations, look at HRC’s low turnout #’s amongst Democrats. The real reason why Trump won. I won’t get into vote suppression in some States.)

    2) If you look at Trump’s numbers in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, they were higher with that of Romney’s in 2012, but connecting that to higher cigar taxes and cigar smokers is far fetch. I mean, you’re rocking Breitbart right now. Are you saying that in 2008 and 2012 there were cigar smokers who loved Obama and cared nothing about his Democratic agenda that all of a sudden in 2016 were like, I’m tired of regulations? … I’m going to answer this for you. No. What he did was get disenfranchised, low income, possibly unemployed whites out to vote. (Now, if those guys are cigar smokers there problem does not fall on regulations but poor money management. THEY CANT AFFORD TO SMOKE CIGARS.)

    3) Give me #s on Cuban-Americans. I have spoken with multiple generations of Cuban-Americans and there is a huge division amongst them. The older generation Cuban-Americans are dying out and they are the ones that have a problem with Cuba and back Republican candidates and someone like Trump. The young ones want to be able to have their families country opened up. Not all Cuban-Americans are “I hate Obama.” “I love Trump and the Republicans.” “Don’t Open Up Cuba.” etc.

    4) For those that think Pence, Rubio and Rudy will save the industry. Please give me your mailing address so I can provide you with tissues and a prescription of anti-depressants. The industry is regulated, it will remain regulated and that is a fact. Saying that those three will save the industry is false hope. It’s right up there with Loope’s sermons on the greatness and effectiveness of the CRA.

    • You know you have struck gold when you get a response like that from Seth. 🙂

    • Oh and one thing…. we didn’t say that “Pence, Rubio and Rudy will save the industry.” We simply said that with folks like that in office we our industry will have a more sympathetic ear in Washington than we would have had with the Clinton Administration in office. I don’t think there is much argument there.

    • To touch on your 2nd point, yes there were two clear differences, both materializing close to the election: FDA regulation and Cuba relations

    • Cam Rush

      Trump wins. Sweet dreams.

  • Mike

    Maybe Dojo should just stay away from politics? When I have a cigar in my mouth this crap isn’t running rampant through my thoughts.

    • Well… ya know… we can’t please everyone. 🙂

      • Sam C.

        No, but you can easily avoid offending your readers.

  • HongryHawg

    Let’s puff.