Monday, November 14, 2016

Shades of Ralph Nader: Did Gary Johnson and Jill Stein tip the 2016 U.S. election?

The parallels between the U.S. elections of 2000 and 2016 are striking. A candidate seeking a third consecutive term in the White House for the Democratic Party narrowly wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College to the Republican nominee, while a third-party candidate takes a significant and potentially decisive share of the vote.

Does that make Gary Johnson and Jill Stein the 2016 equivalent of Ralph Nader?

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  1. Well, obviously, neither of the top two candidates is entitled to any of those votes. Maybe if there was a run-off, or an IRV, those people still don't vote for either candidate.

    Apparently, in Michigan, about 90000 people voted for everything BUT President.

    However.... we will never know. This bothers me.

  2. Trump won the election when Clinton became the nominee, had the Democrats chosen Bernie Sanders the outcome likely would have been different.

  3. Full discloure, I am a Bernie Sanders supporter. This being said, I believe Bernie would have beaten Trump. He offered significant and progressive change...and the people wanted change.

    Hillary was too establishment and her ties to Wall Street were problematic. Blaming other candidates for the loss is too easy - she blew it herself. She did not connect at all with white middle class americans. Instead of giving hope to these middle class workers of their good manufacturing jobs returning...she simply encouraged them to re-train. In Michagan, Trump spoke about bringing the car plants back...she didn't and that's why she lost.

    I think Trump will be a disaster and there will be buyer's remorse in short order. Republicans have never done anything good for the middle class - they have been slowly bleeding it to death since Reagan while the rich are getting much richer.

  4. A big difference between 2000 and now is that in 2000, both candidates were perceived as centrists with not much to distinguish them policy-wise. It's hard to imagine in hindsight Bush Jr. and Gore being characterized as centrists, but in 1999-2000, with them being respectively associated with the centrist Bush Sr. and Clinton administrations, it wasn't unreasonable for someone to conclude that they were "two sides of the same coin"; certainly, that was Nader's main campaign platform and it drove some people to vote for 3rd parties.

    This year, both candidates were unpopular, but certainly distinguishable. Clinton's regret will not be that she didn't distinguish herself enough from Trump. For that reason, I don't see third party voters as an untapped pool for Clinton the way that Nader voters might have made the difference for Gore.

    1. I endorse this comment...though I think in retrospect you could see big differences in how Bush and Gore would have governed.


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