16 places that made 2016 the wildest election in decades

Click on the cities above to see the places that mattered in the 2016 election.

Where does the presidential campaign take place?

The next president will likely be chosen by the voters of fewer than a dozen states, where almost all the actual campaigning occurs. You won’t generally see candidates on the trail in reliably Democratic Oregon or solidly Republican South Carolina. Nor in New York, where the two candidates’ headquarters face each other across the East River —Trump’s in his signature Midtown tower, Clinton’s in a Brooklyn office building. New York is also one of the few places where the candidates (or their surrogates) face off in real time, in the studios of the morning talk and evening news shows.

But the campaign is just the epiphenomenon of an election that takes place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and whose effects will be felt all over the world. As they made their case to the voters, candidates, trailing their caravans of reporters, touched down in Laredo, Texas, to inspect the U.S.-Mexican border; Flint, Mich., to show solidarity with the children poisoned by lead-tainted drinking water; and Manchester, N.H., one of the cities hardest hit by the epidemic of opioid and heroin addiction. Other places, not even all of them in the United States, figured prominently in the narrative of the campaign, usually as symbols of the intractable problems the next president will face: San Bernardino, Calif., and Orlando, Fla., the venues for mass shootings by ISIS-inspired terrorists; Youngstown, Ohio and Indianapolis, where the globalized economy has displaced industry and manufacturing jobs; Baton Rouge, La., and Chicago, where almost all the varieties of (nonterroristic) violence were on horrifying display — gang shootouts that leave children wounded or dead; police shootings that fuel the anger behind the Black Lives Matter movement and retaliatory attacks on police that leave communities devastated.

Aleppo, Syria, where a brutal civil war grinds on, seemingly endlessly, claiming America’s attention for a news cycle or two when a particularly gruesome image surfaces, then retreating so far out of mind that one presidential candidate seemed to forget it existed.

And, to provide some balance, Burlington, Vt., the home of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, where Bernie Sanders got his political start.