Presidential Campaign

C’mon people: It’s not Jill Stein’s fault that Hillary Clinton lost the election

I have nothing but sympathy for those who are outraged when people promise to do one thing and then do something completely different. Take Donald Trump, for example.

Since becoming president-elect, the Donald has averred or outright reneged on his pledges to prosecute Hillary Clinton, repeal ObamaCare, and build a Mexico-funded wall — the latter being, without a doubt, the central promise of his campaign.

{mosads}Most politicians at least wait until they’re in office to pull the bait-and-switch, but Donald Trump never has been “most politicians,” has he? He’s backing off on his promises faster than Lena Dunham’s boyfriend and if I were a Trump supporter, I would be pretty displeased right now.

It makes a lot less sense to me when people are outraged at those who do exactly what they’ve been saying they were going to do for months, if not years.

As the autopsy of Hillary Clinton’s second failed bid for the presidency continues, a recurring theme is that third-party candidates and their voters are to blame. Strictly by the numbers, it’s true that there were enough Gary Johnson and Jill Stein voters in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida to have put Hillary Clinton over the top had all of them had voted for the former Secretary of State.

Which means about as much as saying Hillary would have won had a strange woman lying in a pond distributing swords mystically gifted the presidency to her.

Third party candidates always run, and in this case, both Gary Johnson and Jill Stein also ran in 2012. It’s a pretty safe bet that they would have drawn the same number of votes in 2016 as they did in 2012.

Analyses that tell us things like “if Jill Stein’s supporters and half of Gary Johnson’s backers had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state” don’t actually tell us anything meaningful because they assume a make-believe world where regular and dedicated third-party voters don’t exist.

When one deducts Jill Stein’s 2012 votes from her 2016 totals, she only has enough new voters to flip Wisconsin (barely) and Michigan, assuming that 100% of her new voters would have otherwise voted for Clinton. But that in itself is a myopic assumption when only 89% of Democrats voted for her.

If only 90% of the extra Stein voters had voted for Hillary while the rest voted for Trump or stayed home, Michigan is the only state that would have flipped. In none of these scenarios did Jill Stein voters cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.

It’s harder to say who Johnson hurt more since he tended to pull more evenly from both sides of the political divide. There are numerous reasons to believe that he hurt Trump more than he hurt Clinton, especially when one considers that #NeverTrump was always a stronger and more pervasive phenomenon than #NeverHillary, and the bulk of those #NeverTrump voters seem to have wound up on Johnson’s doorstep.

Still, splitting the new Johnson voters by 60-40 in favor of Clinton and the new Stein voters by 90-10 in favor of Clinton only flips Michigan and Wisconsin, leaving us with President-Elect Trump.

Ultimately, it does not matter whether the numbers say that third party voters could have, would have, or should have delivered the election to Hillary Clinton, because since the primary season began, the #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary factions have not been silent.

There was every indication that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would lose a small but significant portion of his or her own base. We pleaded with Trump and Clinton primary supporters to choose someone better; both sides sneered at us, insulted us, and dismissed our concerns.

They nominated their candidates knowing that we would never join in, and while that worked out for Donald Trump (by an electoral hair), those who supported Hillary Clinton in the primary remain shocked and outraged at third party voters when we only did what we told them we would do.

Watchmen’s uncompromising Rorschach once mused that the day would come when “all the whores and politicians will look up and shout ‘Save us!’” On November 8th of the year 2016, third-party voters looked down and whispered, “No.”

Bridget Jack Jeffries is disappointed with Hillary Clinton for spoiling the election for Gary Johnson. Follow her on Twitter or GAB.

The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill 

Tags 2016 presidential election Democratic Party Donald Trump Electoral College Gary Johnson Green Party Hillary Clinton Independent Party Michigan Pennsylvania popular vote Republican Party Third party United States Voter recount Washington D.C. Wisconsin

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