On his morning satellite radio show, Michael Smerconish - who I generally find level headed - made much of a piece in the Washington Post that sought to blame non-voters for Donald Trump's election rather than those who out of "protest" or a hissy fit that their candidate did not win their party's primary voted for a third party candidate. By his own admission, Smerconish voted for Gary Johnson and, in my view, by default voted for Trump. Admittedly, the piece reveals that Democrat leaning voters who stayed home - due to laziness and/or a false confidence that Clinton would win - played a major role in putting Trump in the White House, but it does NOT excuse voters like Smerconish who threw their votes away by voting for a candidate who had no chance in Hell of winning. Some data on three states make my case:
Michigan: Trump won by 10,704 votes. Gary Johnson drained off 172,136 votes, and Jill Stein drained off 51,463 votes. While not all of these third party voters would not have voted for Clinton, had they not thrown away their votes, Clinton might well have won and America would have avoided the national crisis it now endures.
Wisconsin: Trump won by 22,742 votes. Gary Johnson drained off 106,674 votes, and Jill Stein drained off 32,072 votes.
Pennsylvania: Trump won by 44,292 votes. Gary Johnson drained off 146,715 votes, and Jill Stein drained off 49,941 votes.
While the Pew Research data may allow individuals like Smerconish to try to waive off their complicity in putting Trump in the White House, those who voted for third party candidates bear just as much responsibility as non-voters in placing America in its current crisis state.
Hopefully, the lessons learned from 2016, especially by younger voters and minority voters who will suffer the most from the misrule of the Trump/Pence regime and its GOP enablers is that (i) they MUST get out and vote no matter what, and (ii) voting for a third party candidate is the equivalent of voting for the candidate that one most dislikes. Here are highlights from the Post article:
On Thursday, though, Pew Research Center released an unusually robust survey of the 2016 electorate. In addition to having asked people how they voted, Pew’s team , giving us a picture not only of the electorate but also of those who didn’t vote. There are a number of interesting details that emerge from that research, including a breakdown of President Trump’s support that confirms much of his base has backed him enthusiastically since the Republican primaries.The data also makes another point very clear: Those who didn’t vote are as responsible for the outcome of the election as those who did.
As we noted shortly after the election, about 30 percent of Americans were eligible to vote but decided not to, a higher percentage than the portion of the country who voted for either Trump or his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Pew’s data shows that almost half of the nonvoters were nonwhite and two-thirds were under age 50. More than half of those who didn’t vote earned less than $30,000 a year; more than half of those who did vote were over age 50.
By looking at the preferred candidate in a demographic group and then comparing the density of that group in the population that voted with the density in the nonvoting population, we get a sense for how nonvoters determined the 2016 results.
Looking at race and ethnicity, we see how the heavier turnout of white voters affected the contest. Black and Hispanic voters voted much more heavily Democratic than white votes backed Trump, but they turned out less.People under 30 preferred Clinton by 30 points but made up much more of the nonvoter population than the population that actually voted. A third of nonvoters were under 30; only 1 in 8 voters was in that age group.Evangelicals were the most strongly pro-Trump of the religious groups of voters, and they represented more of the voting pool than the nonvoting pool. Black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics made up less of the voting population than the nonvoting population — and strongly preferred Clinton.
Demographic groups that preferred Trump were three times as likely to be a bigger part of the voter pool than nonvoters. Among groups that preferred Clinton, they were about 50 percent more likely to be a bigger part of the nonvoting community.
Clinton nonetheless won the popular vote. But an increased turnout of under-30 voters in, say, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan could easily have changed the results of the history.