How many times have you been told to fight for what you believe in? Motivational posters, memes, blogs, Tumblr posts. “Fight for you dreams,” “Never stop fighting for what you believe in,” “Let your voice be heard.” This message gets relayed to all of us over and over again. So I started voicing my opinions and fighting for what I believed in…and was promptly told I was a horrible person for doing so by the very people who were the strongest proponents of the ”your voice should be heard” message. I guess those people only want you to share your opinion if they agree with you.
I’m referring to the outrage many are expressing towards third party voters. According to the internet I am privileged, a fuck up, worthless, the same as a Trump supporter, not worth any respect, an entitled child, I don’t care about minorities, I don’t care about women, I should be blocked/deleted/excommunicated, and according to Rachel Maddow I don’t care who is president…
My first reaction was to get emotional and individually defend each one of those attacks. Instead, I will set aside emotion, as many are struggling to do right now and think critically.
First off, the assumption that if those who voted for Gary Johnson voted for someone else they would’ve overwhelmingly chosen Hillary and not Donald is just downright silly. For goodness sake, let’s look at what parties Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld came from, oh right, they were originally Republicans. Now let’s look at who endorsed them.
Drew Carey (supported Mitt Romney in 2012)
Marvin Bush (the forgotten Bush brother)
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney
John Stossel (famous conservative pundit)
Greg Gutfeld (Fox News contributor)
and many, many more right leaning folks.
In fact, 23 card carrying Republican politicians endorsed the Libertarians while only two Democrats did. On a political stage, conservatives represent 92% of Gary supporters. This means Trump votes lost, not Clinton votes lost.
One of the most prominent Libertarians right now is Rand Paul, but wait you say, he’s a Republican! Well yes, he runs as a Republican because that party has more notoriety, hence they are more electable than a party many people know nothing about. He and other Libertarians such as Justin Amash and Thomas Massie (both were re-elected by the way) and obviously Johnson and Weld ran as Republicans. I don’t know of any Libertarians who run as Democrats when they have to pick between R and D. If you are a Libertarian with aspiration what party do you default to? The Republican Party. So it would make sense to think the opposite true. If you are conservative leaning and can’t stomach Donald Trump, where would you default to? The Libertarian Party.
Now let’s look at where Johnson did best, meaning he polled at 5% or higher.
Alaska, a red state where GJ received 6% of the vote.
Colorado, a swing state where GJ received 5% of the vote. There’s evidence that Gary Johnson voters saved Colorado for Clinton.
Indiana, a red state where GJ received 5% of the vote.
Kansas, a red state where GJ received 5% of the vote.
Maine, a blue state where GJ received 5% of the vote.
Montana, a red state where GJ received 5% of the vote.
New Mexico, a blue state where GJ received 9% of the vote.
North Dakota, a red state where GJ received 6% of the vote.
And finally Wyoming, a red state where GJ received 5% of the vote.
Out of the 9 states where Gary performed highest, six are conservative states and one state that wasn’t included was Utah, a red state GJ would’ve done well in had it not been for independent Evan McMullin. In Utah, Mormons voted overwhelmingly for third party conservative candidate Evan McMullin, pulling 20% of the vote away from Trump. (Votes that presumably usually got to the Republican candidate). In the blue states where Gary polled high, Clinton still won but by small margins, Gary Johnson likely saved her in Maine and Colorado.
But looking at where Gary was most popular and what politicians encouraged their followers to vote for Gary, if you were to force Gary voters to choose between Hillary and Trump the split would probably be about 70% to Trump with about 30% going to Hillary. Estimates before the election predicted that Hillary was losing slightly more votes to GJ and other third party candidates than Trump but that doesn’t seem to be the case when you look at the results.
Now, those pesky battleground states. I will break down what percentage of GJ votes had to go towards the other candidate to cover the spread. I don’t take into account where the remaining GJ votes (if there are any) would go to but this will hopefully show how unlikely or likely it is that GJ votes cost or gave a candidate the election.
Colorado. A state where third party votes likely saved Hillary. 43% of GJ votes would have to go to Trump to beat her.
Maine. A state where third party votes likely saved Hillary. 54% of GJ votes would have to go to Trump to beat her.
New Mexico. Gary’s home state where his numbers were huge. Hillary won. 88% of GJ votes would have to go to Trump to beat her.
Florida. Trump won. 58% of GJ votes would have to go to Hillary to beat him.
Pennsylvania. Trump won. 48% of GJ votes would have to go to Hillary to beat him.
Michigan. Trump won. 7% of GJ votes would have to go to Hillary to beat him.
North Carolina. Trump won. Even if you gave Hillary all of Gary’s votes, she would’ve lost.
Virgina. Hillary won. Even if you gave Trump all of Gary’s votes, he would’ve lost.
Ohio. Trump won. Even if you gave Hillary all of Gary’s votes, she would’ve lost
Wisconsin. Trump won. 26% of GJ votes would have to go to Hillary to beat him.
Nevada. Hillary won. 71% of GJ votes would have to go to Trump to beat her.
New Hampshire. Hillary won. 5% of GJ votes would have to go to Trump to beat her.
Iowa. Trump won. Even if you gave Hillary all of GJ’s votes she would’ve lost.
So. Looking at the numbers if my estimate of roughly 30% of GJ votes going to Hillary is correct, Wisconsin and Michigan could’ve flipped. It’s not likely that Florida would have changed hands.
Let’s say that these states did flip in Hillary’s favor. Hillary would gain 26 electorates while Trump would lose 26. Bringing Hillary’s total to 254 and Trump’s to 264. So, with the absence of GJ, neither candidate would’ve gotten to 270, the Republican controlled house would’ve decided and Trump would still be president. And that’s assuming no other states flipped…buuuut realistically if you forced Gary Johnson voters to choose between Trump and Clinton some states would flip in Trump’s favor.
If my estimate of roughly 70% of GJ votes going to Trump is correct, New Hampshire and Maine would’ve been in danger of flipping for Trump. Let’s say they did. Hillary’s total electorate count would now be 246 and Trump’s would be 272, winning him the election. Of course these are just estimates but hopefully you can see how it’s very likely Gary voters gave the popular election to Hillary. Third party voters almost certainly helped Hillary win the popular vote. And on that note let me point out once again, conservative independent Evan McMullin.
McMullin won 21% of the conservative vote in Utah and small percentages in other states. There’s little question as to where McMullin voters would’ve voted had they been forced to choose between Hillary and Trump. And if 90% of McMullin voters had chosen Trump instead, Trump would’ve won the popular vote.
So for those of you blaming 3rd party voters for your loss not only does that morally not make sense, it statistically doesn’t make sense. Trump voters elected Trump. Democrats not showing up to vote elected Trump. Democrats voting for Trump elected Trump. Women, Latinos, Asians and blacks elected Trump. But to say that third party candidates “cost Hillary the election” is just not likely to be true. If this election showed us anything it’s that there is a huge difference between what people report they will do versus what they will actually do and/or that the polling system is horribly flawed. To assume GJ voters would have overwhelmingly swung Hillary is to ignore that reality.
Third party voters could say the same about Hillary (or Trump) voters. If y’all hadn’t settled for one of the two weakest presidential candidates of all time Gary Johnson might be in the White House come January.
Even if GJ voters did give the election to Trump, most of us wouldn’t care. One of the main reasons so many people went third party is because they decided Trump and Hillary were equally bad. Perhaps in different ways, but equally bad nonetheless. They are so bad that one exit poll suggested about 63% of third party voters would’ve not shown up at the polls if forced to pick between just Hillary and Donald. Attacking third party voters is polarizing and doesn’t make us want to come to your side. Something the left (and right) don’t seem to understand. If you want people to join your cause, making fun of them and name calling probably isn’t the best idea.
I understand people are outraged, confused and saddened. A natural reaction to those feelings is to find someone to blame. But maybe instead of lashing out at people who made what they felt was the best decision based on their values and experiences we should all be reflecting and taking responsibility. What did I do to get us to this point? What did I not do to get us to this point? How can I be a better person? How can I help inspire others to be better people?
Now many on the left want to abolish the electoral college because it is a “rigged system” yet they’re mad at me for taking a stand against the same system? The hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me…hmmm I think I have an idea for another blog.
“For Democrats to blame third-party voters is disingenuous and a remarkable demonstration of their unwillingness to look at their own failure and anti-democratic process.”
*All statistics pulled from Google Elections on Wednesday, November 9th. Results may be slightly different now.