Jul 17 2017
12:17 am
By: Tamara Shepherd  shortURL

I couldn't help noticing this morning that a post linked on the sidebar here is yet another misguided accusation that third party voters cost Clinton the general presidential election.

Now, I wouldn't care to beat this dead horse except that we Dems will never reach any agreement on the reason we lost that election until we first reach agreement about what reasons we can and should weed out. Please, people, third party voters are a reason the data tell us we can and should weed out. Hang with me...

If you followed my link to Southern Beale's blog, you'll see that she's posted a chart of 2016 presidential general election results.

What it says it that third party candidate Gary Johnson took 4,489,235 votes nationally.

It also says that all other third party votes (from 28 other third party candidates) *plus* all write-in votes totaled just 3,797,463 nationally.

In comments, SB herself said "I don’t think Gary Johnson voters were necessarily the left” and that’s certainly true. Those Johnson votes robbed Trump.

What’s clear, then, is that even if we assume that every last one of those 3.7M votes (comprised of votes cast for third party candidates other than Johnson and all the write-ins) would have otherwise gone to Clinton--and such an assumption is exceedingly generous to Clinton--the 4.4M third party votes Johnson robbed from Trump hurt Trump far more.

Understand, then, that the third party vote *helped* Clinton, not hurt her–because it robbed Trump of more votes than it robbed her.

Can we please then agree to weed out third party voting as the reason (or even "a reason") that Dems lost that race? Thanks in advance for applying some logic to the question.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

For Left Wing Cracker

Left Wing Cracker, I saw you over there, too, commenting that you've yet to see how third party voting impacted Clinton in swing states? I've gotcha covered.

In the data I pull together below, confirm my list of which states comprised the 13 swing states at Cook Political Report. Confirm my vote counts at the FEC's site of official results.

In the 13 swing states, these are final vote totals for just Trump and Clinton (no third party votes, no write-in votes):

AZ Trump: 1,252,401 / Clinton: 1,161,167 (TRUMP WIN)
CO Trump: 1,202,484 / Clinton: 1,338,870
FL 4,617,886 / Clinton: 4,504,975 (TRUMP WIN)
IA Trump: 800,983 / Clinton: 653,669 (TRUMP WIN)
ME Trump: 335,593 / Clinton: 357,735
MI Trump: 2,279,543 / Clinton: 2,268,839 (TRUMP WIN)
MN Trump: 1,322,951 / Clinton: 1,367,716
NV Trump: 512,058 / Clinton: 539,260
NH Trump: 345,790 / Clinton: 348,526
NC Trump: 2,362,631 / Clinton: 2,189,316 (TRUMP WIN)
OH Trump: 2,841,005 / Clinton: 2,394,164 (TRUMP WIN)
PA 2,970,733 / Clinton: 2,926,441 (TRUMP WIN)
WI Trump: 1,405,284 / Clinton: 1,382,536 (TRUMP WIN)

You see that Trump carried eight of 13 swing states.

In these same 13 swing states, if we reassign just the Johnson third party vote to Trump and give *all* remaining third party votes from the other *28* third party candidates to Clinton,* plus* give 100% of the write-in vote to Clinton, as well, it looks like this:

AZ Trump: 1,358,728 / Clinton: 1,214,437 (TRUMP WIN)
CO Trump: 1,346,605 / Clinton: 1,433,642
FL Trump: 4,824,929 / Clinton: 4,595,110 (TRUMP WIN)
IA Trump: 860,169 / Clinton: 705,862 (TRUMP WIN)
ME Trump: 373,698 / Clinton: 374,229
MI Trump: 2,451,679 / Clinton: 2,347,605 (TRUMP WIN)
MN Trump: 1,435,923 / Clinton: 1,508,890
NV Trump: 549,442 / Clinton: 575,943
NH Trump: 376,567 / Clinton: 367,729 (TRUMP WIN)
NC Trump: 2,492,757 / Clinton: 2,248,807 (TRUMP WIN)
OH Trump: 3,015,503 / Clinton: 2,480,984 (TRUMP WIN)
PA Trump: 3,117,448 / Clinton: 3,048,030 (TRUMP WIN)
WI Trump: 1,511,958 / Clinton: 1,464,192 (TRUMP WIN)

You see that Trump would then have carried nine of 13 swing states, as he would have picked up NH, too.

Conclusion: Third party votes for Johnson harmed Trump far more than did even the totality of all other third party votes plus all write-in votes harm Clinton. For this reason, Clinton actually won more electoral votes in swing states due to third party voting. She kept NH.

So in swing states, too, let's weed out third party voting as any reason Clinton lost the election--and we're that much closer to understanding why she really lost.

LeftWingCracker's picture

Thank you!

Great data, thank you!

fischbobber's picture

The end result

It's easier to drop out of the process that to take the unending shit from people that claim to be on your side. Clinton supporters won't be happy until a purity test is installed and the party is destroyed.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Dropping out of the process

All those Dems who "dropped out of the process" when the general election rolled 'round shur nuf hurt Clinton. The reasons they cite for having done it, though, are instructive.

PBS, two weeks after the general election:

But among those figures were stark contrasts in key states that helped swing the election to Trump — in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and elsewhere — indicating the President-elect’s leap from long-shot candidate to the most powerful political position in the world may have happened in part because of apathy toward Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, especially among the Democratic base, several political scientists and organizations monitoring voter turnout told the PBS NewsHour.

While Clinton is leading the popular vote by more than 1.5 million over Trump as of Sunday, she trails President Obama’s 2012 totals by more than 2 million ballots — a chasm that may have cost her the election, said David Becker, co-founder of the Center for Election and Innovation and Research.

Story also said at least 19 states saw lower turnout rates compared with 2012 and described that as "a scenario that is antithetical to presidential-year voting that tends to increase each cycle when an incumbent is not a part of the race."

The next step would seem to be to sort out apathy for the Dem candidate versus voter suppression efforts targeting Dems more generally, I guess.

Rachel's picture

That is total and complete

That is total and complete bullshit. And I speak as a Clinton supporter.

If anybody wants a purity test, it's the Bernie voters.

But nevermind. I HATE all this intra party squabbling. All is does is make Trumpeteers happy.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I hope you don't also think it's "squabbling" for me to have directed Dems who haven't really looked at the election results to look at them, Rachel?

If you possibly looked in at my link, SB wasn't the only Dem in that conversation who had the mistaken impression that third party voters cost Clinton the election. There were three or four over there in agreement with her and every one of them is just plain wrong.

I can't guess how many Dems nationally may have given the election results as little attention, but it's scary to think there are more. Until we all get on the same page, we will never win another election.

I'm not just trying to rankle Andy for sport...

Rachel's picture

My comment was in response to

My comment was in response to Bob Fischer.

cafkia's picture

If anybody wants a purity

If anybody wants a purity test, it's the Bernie voters.

To quote a good friend of mine "That is total and complete bullshit." And I speak as a Sanders supporter.

HRC/DNC folks have achieved victory with their attacks. I certainly will no longer think of myself as a Dem. If a Dem happens to be the best choice for me, fine but if a Progressive is on the ticket, that is where I am going.

I did my best to be rational, calm and measured in my reasoning and arguments. What I got (and still get for that matter) for my trouble is insulted. I get told to shut up and go away. I get told that non-partyline people deserve no say in the direction of the Dem party and therefore have none. Ok, they win. I'm gone.

fischbobber's picture


Clinton loyalists in this state are notorious for claiming to be reasonable when crossing over to vote for the Haslams and Briggs of this state destroying our healthcare, keeping our wages down, neglecting the underlying causes of our educational failures with band-aid solutions, privatizing our state institutions, and allowing unrestricted financial institutions to rob our poor. When Clinton voters switch candidates, they're as likely to move right as left.

That's the problem. Clinton folks tended to want voters to have personal loyalty to the Clintons, while Sanders voters tended to be more committed to philosophical ideals.

The open primary debate was a perfect example of this. Had there been open primaries run by people of integrity in a non-partisan manner, who is to say what would have happened. By all accounts, it is a certainty that Sanders would haver done significantly better. What we wanted was a level playing field and a fair process. If you wish to describe that as a purity test, that would be your privilege.

It's your lie, tell it however you want.

LeftWingCracker's picture

Mr. Fischer...

"That's the problem. Clinton folks tended to want voters to have personal loyalty to the Clintons, while Sanders voters tended to be more committed to philosophical ideals."

Preach it long and loud, sir. I voted for her in November only to stop Trump.

Andy Axel's picture


I wouldn't care to beat this dead horse

Hit it again.




Tamara Shepherd's picture


Clearly, Andy, some people aren't yet understanding what went wrong and why.

Kudos to you for your intuitiveness and/or willingness to look at the data.

Andy Axel's picture



Tamara Shepherd's picture


He's just mad. I am too, really. We're all trying...

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