Third Parties Make No News in 2016 Election

An eager reader sends me Reason’s Hit & Run blog post on the third parties, which Jesse Walker leads by saying, “Yesterday’s presidential election produced the strongest showing in 20 years for third-party and independent candidates.”

This statement is mostly meaningless. No third party or independent has caught fire since H. Ross Perot, and Perot lost badly and made no difference in who became President.

Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Evan McMullin, and Darrell Castle made no news on Tuesday. Libertarian Johnson never broke 10% in the Real Clear Politics four-way polling average; Green Stein never broke 5%; both sank as the fun of crabbing about the Big Two gave way to the reality of casting votes for President of the United States. Johnson and Stein both won a percentage point less in actual votes than their final RCP polling numbers. Johnson didn’t break 10% in any states, either. Even in his home state of New Mexico, which he governed, Johnson topped out at 9.34%.

Walker lists the thirteen states in which the indy/3 crowd collectively won more votes than the Trump/Clinton spread—six went for Trump and seven went for Clinton—and finds that the Green Stein vote exceeded a Clinton loss margin only in Michigan and Wisconsin. The 279 Electoral Votes already assigned to Trump by press accounts do not include Michigan’s 16. Take away Wisconsin’s 10, and Trump is at 269, but when Arizona finishes counting ballots, they’ll put 11 back in Trump’s column. No electoral math can show Jill Stein cost Hillary Clinton this election.

In South Dakota, the Libertarian Johnson/Weld ticket won 5.63% of the Presidential vote, his fifth-highest take in the country. Johnson’s best South Dakota county was Lawrence: Spearfishers and Deadwoodies (Deadwoodens? Deadwoodsmen?) gave Johnson 7.89% of their votes. Meade also went more than 7% for Johnson; the Libertarians broke 6% in Pennington, Brookings, Miner, Clark, Minnehaha, and Marshall.

The new leadership of the South Dakota Libertarian Party did a good job of distinguishing itself from morally unacceptable Trumpist lies and aggression, but only 5.63% of South Dakotans saw their Presidential ticket as a reasonable alternative to a sexist, racist, fascist pig. SDLP Chair Jon Boon McNutt cheers that tally as exceeding the national goal of 5%, but a single-digit non-factor is still a long way from wielding the electoral clout necessary to make the SDGOP nervous.

65 Responses to Third Parties Make No News in 2016 Election

  1. bearcreekbat

    This is clearly correct in SD, but given national voter turnout numbers as reported by Troy, which were were nearly identical in numbers compared to the Romney-Obama election, and given the facts that:

    – Hillary won the popular vote; and

    – Trump received substantially fewer votes than Romney did when he lost;

    it seems low voter turnout was not the problem for Hillary. Instead, it sure looks more and more like protest votes by former Obama supporters who wanted Bernie is the most logical cause for Trump’s win in such a close election.

  2. Someday I hope Dems will stop blaming others for their failures. Dems need to accept responsibility for the things they could have done differently to achieve the desired outcome. I think Sean King makes a number of valid points in his column. The Dems would do well to take these things into consideration before 2020.

  3. LS, to whom are you responding? Not anyone here so far: I believe blaming ourselves, people within our ranks who did not keep the faith and put the immediate practical needs of the nation above personal grudges, is the thesis of Bearcreekbat’s comment. It certainly is my thesis. We are in charge of our own destiny.

  4. Bearcreekbat is blaming Bernie supporters for Trumps win (former Obama supporters who wanted Bernie). Or as I like to call them, progressives. Anyway, a lot of Bernie supporters, like myself, are Independents. So that is why it appears to me that he is blaming others. It was the DNC’s forced coronation of HRC that took the Dems out of the running. It proved they had become to beholden to corporate money and corporate interests.

  5. mike from iowa

    Rally, Dems should have manned up like Comrade Drumpfski and claim the election was rigged. That is taking responsibility wingnut style.

  6. mike from iowa

    BCB doesn’t blame anyone, he points out the obvious and not so obvious. Pay more attention to him and you will learn much.

  7. I defend the right of third-party supporters to marginalize themselves. It’s a free country!

  8. bearcreekbat

    Here is a Newsweek piece analyzing the question and showing that the 3rd party numbers most likely tipped the election.

  9. It’s just excuse making. Blame the Libertarians and the Greens for your loss just like you did in 2000. Never mind that your party was too corrupted by corporate money and nominated the least electable candidate. Bottom line is that the Dems have lost touch.

  10. mike from iowa

    One can only dream of what LS stands for.

  11. bearcreekbat

    Isn’t it an odd situation for the least electable person to win the popular vote? And turning an effort to understand the factual effect of 3rd party protest voters on the race into a negative behavior (“blame”) also seems odd. Methinks LS might be a little defensive on these issues.

  12. mike from iowa

    Good post,bcb. W/O Johnson and Stein, HRC has a 5 point lead. With them the lead drops to 2 points. Looks like empirical evidence to me.

  13. Mike assumes everyone who voted for Johnson or Stein would vote for Hillary. But that is not at all logical. Libertarians have more in common with Republicans than Democrats. It is far more likely that Johnson voters would vote for Trump over Clinton. So this whole blaming the 3rd party candidates is a bunch of crap. It’s the lazy explanation. Much easier than figuring out why Clinton couldn’t pull in the same number of working class folks that Obama did. They don’t want to look at that because they are afraid of what they might find.

  14. I would think that Libertarians could have a good draw from both Democrats and Republicans. Why do you think that they’re more Republican?

  15. mike from iowa

    Where did this Mike assumes they would have voted for HRC stuff come from? I said no such thing and I did not imply it, either.

    You keep jumping to erroneous conclusions, fella.

  16. bearcreekbat

    LS, when I looked at the Florida numbers it appears that had only 1/2 or so voted for Hillary instead of a 3rd party, she would have prevailed in Florida (assuming the other half included genuine Johnson or Green supporters and did not abandon their candidate to vote for Trump). So there is no need to “assume” all 3rd party voters would have voted Democrat. It is probably sufficient to focus on the Bernie protest voters and it appears that there were enough of those to change the result.

    Most of the Stein supporters shared more of Hillary’s policy positions than Trumps. Most libertarians I have dealt with advocate more freedom from government control. The main arguments that Trump made in his speeches and debates seems inconsistent with the libertarian outlook, such as Trump’s plans to build walls, round up 11 million people and deport them, bar immigration from disliked religions, sanctioning cities that support refugees and immigrants, punish women who exercise their constitutional right to privacy under Roe, put more police in the cities, increase stop and frisk, make sure children born here to people who have overstayed a VISA cannot be citizens contrary to our Constitution, bomb the hell of countries and take their oil, kill family members of suspected terrorists, increase waterboarding and torture, remove 1st amendment protections so he can sue newspapers and media, and on and on and on. I could be mistaken, but these publicly state positions don’t appear all that “libertarian,” and seem to suggest that libertarians might be inclined to reject Trump. We should ask Bob Newland.

    I would never blame, discourage, or criticize anyone for voting 3rd party. I believe each of us should vote our conscience and hold our heads in high doing so. I also think it important to analyze the results after we vote to determine the effect, if any, of our voting decisions. Indeed, I would expect it would be helpful for potential 3rd party voters to be fully aware of what might occur if polls make it clear that their preferred 3rd party candidate is unlikely to even come close to winning.

    In SD 3rd party voting apparently had absolutely no effect on the outcome given the 2-1 gap between major candidates. Nationwide it appears it tipped the election. No blame, no complaint, just a simple fact that all voters need to consider.

  17. Timoteo. Because they are fiscally conservative and favor small government. Johnson and Weld are both former Republicans. Ron and Rand Paul are/were Republicans as well.

  18. Roger Cornelius

    LS is tossing around blame like candy on a Halloween night.
    LS seems to be blaming Democrats for everything under the sun while not acknowledging the failures of the Green Party, Libertarians and the lack of independents in supporting Hilary.
    All those parties were as big as losers as Democrats.

  19. Yeah, the way Libertarians manage to appear good on social issues is because they defer a lot of those issues down into a “state’s rights” position. That means the feds stay out of it and let each state decide. This is appealing to both Dems and Pubs depending on which state you live in. Given that and their desire for fiscal responsibility and small government, I think they tend to attract the Republicans that aren’t overly evangelical. I don’t think that environment attracts many liberals. But don’t take my word for it. Feel free to do some research and make up your own mind. May I suggest starting with a Google search of “Libertarian Ideology vs Republican Ideology”?

    The Dems that didn’t show up to vote probably hurt Hillary more than those that voted 3rd party. The way Clinton supporters made such a big deal about Sanders not being a “real democrat” alienated a lot of Independents. Then when Clinton did get the nom, she chased after the moderate Republican vote instead of shoring up support from the left. Ultimately, she left of a lot of potential votes just sitting at home. Obama and Bernie are/were inspiring candidates. HRC was not. Check out this chart.

  20. I appreciate that you think we had a big enough effect to sway the election.
    However, our numbers show that we did not do as well as we’d hoped nationally and did not have an impact on this election.

    Post election hang over is pretty brutal sometimes and I can see why you’re angry. Democrats simply did not turn out and vote in this election ( It’s unfortunate.

    As an aside, I can only speak for South Dakota Libertarians: Under no circumstances would we have voted for Trump or Clinton.

  21. bearcreekbat

    LS and Jon, I initially thought low turnout was the answer, but Troy corrected me by pointing out that the 2012 turnout was approximately 127M, while the 2016 turnout was approximately 126M. Despite a pretty close turnout in each of these elections Romney received more votes than Trump, but still lost. And Romney did not win the popular vote either. That suggested that we needed to look for additional possible explanations.

    The idea that libertarians in SD would never vote for Trump or Hillary is a bit surprising. That makes sense if the voter is convinced his libertarian candidate has a meaningful chance to prevail, or if the voter really has little interest in who will win and govern. In either case it would be logical to vote libertarian.

    But if a libertarian is interested in trying to have a voice about how the next president might influence libertarian goals and policies, it would seem to make more sense to support the candidate that shares the most views consistent with the libertarian outlook, at least until libertarians grow their party enough to be competitive by winning state and local races, getting some libertarians elected to Congress, and moving from a fringe to a better known party.

  22. bearcreekbat

    By the way, I couldn’t quite make heads or tails of the imgur posting, but these two cites, if accurate, seem to support Troy’s factual statement about turnout numbers in 2012 and 2016.,_2012

  23. Jon Boon McNutt

    Libertarian Party is not interested in choosing the lesser of two evils (especially at the highest office) I believe our national Party Chair can explain it best.

  24. Well, Clinton didn’t inspire enough voters to turn out and vote for her. Appears she got about 6 million less votes than Obama did in 2012.

  25. mike from iowa

    Under no circumstances would we have voted for Trump or Clinton.

    I’m guessing since Johnson was dumber than dirt you would have voted for the next most clueless candidate which would have been Drumpf.

    Johnson struck me as being extremely coy or simply a moron.

  26. Roger Cornelius

    Hillary still won the popular vote by 250,000

  27. bearcreekbat

    Declining to choose the lesser of two evils implicitly, but necessarily, throws support to the worst of two evils. It is like that terrible runaway train conundrum asking you whether you would pull the switch to save several lives if it would result in the sure death of another single individual. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but by not making a choice I am necessarily choosing to allow the death of several lives.

    I checked your video, but it locks up at about 1:49 so I could not get the other 8 or 9 minutes of the fellow’s full explanation. The video locked up when he said we won’t vote for a war monger or a corporate criminal. That seems a bit myopic as it focuses only on reputations or past votes you find objectionable. And his earlier emphasized statement that libertarians hope “your party will die” seems a bit mean spirited and selfish.

    We know, however, that there are many, many issues on the table besides corporate corruption and war mongering. Don’t libertarians support (or perhaps oppose) a woman’s constitutional right of privacy granting her the agency to decide whether to reproduce without unwanted government interference? Or the loosening of drug laws and release of non-violent offenders? Or many other policies that have little or nothing to do with war or corruption? Why focus on these two buzzwords to the exclusion of everything else each candidate says he or she will do?

  28. mike from iowa

    Clinton got 6 million less votes than Obama. That figures out to one vote lost for every crime wingnuts accused her of committing over 30 years but could never convict her of. Sad.

  29. Roger, the popular vote and $5 will get you a coffee at Starbucks. It’s the electoral vote that counts. Says it right in the Constitution.

  30. The lessor of two evils is a sucker bet. When faced with the choice of vomit soup or a crap sandwich, most would choose not to eat.

  31. If people from Aberdeen are Aberdonians then people from Deadwood are Deadwedians.

    Here’s how I choose to look at the Presidential race. After 8 years of a Democratic President the political pendulum was ready to swing back to a Republican President. The only reason Hillary Clinton, with all of her warts, was even in a position to win the popular vote and nearly the electoral vote on election day was because the Republicans nominated such a horrible candidate. Had any of the other Republicans who ran in the primaries gotten the nomination Hillary would have faced a blowout in both the popular and electoral vote, and we would have seen it coming all the way back to August. The pendulum was meant to swing. Now it will swing back, and Democratic fortunes will improve.

    My question is: Who will be the new #3 in the senate? After calling for the President Elect to step aside, Thune is toast. They can find someone else to be a silent scowler behind McConnell. Anyone want to bet on whether Thune jumps ship to a job in the private sector lone, long before his new 6-year term runs out? My bet is he’s working in the private sector in 2017. Politically – he’s toast. Done.

  32. Did I mention Thune is toast? He’s toast!

  33. Daniel Buresh

    DNC shot themselves in the foot. I was trying to tell Roger and a few others that before the election and they wouldn’t listen. I bet they thought I was nuts. Welp….here we are. The populist movement was big, and with Bernie’s comments, he knew that from day 1. Too bad they shoved Hillary down your throats.

  34. bearcreekbat

    LS, the choice between the lesser of two evils has to be considered in context. In your example the choice only affects you, and if you were actually starving to death you still might decide to choose one of what you consider evil to survive. (And my new puppy would be elated at the opportunity to choose one of your named delicacies, most likely the vomit but she isn’t too picky.)

    But when the choice or failure to choose can result in serious harm to other people, then it seems a more serious question rather than a fools errand. So if a leader of a foreign nation decides to start gassing innocent people and we have the choice of whether to try to stop the killing at some cost to our nation, including losing military lives, or whether to spend scarce resources to help the groups being murdered to fight back or seek safety, or to turn away and just ignore that nation’s policy of slaughtering people, our choice is not a fool’s errand, rather it is a matter of life or death.

    This is easily applied to the Trump/Clinton choice. A libertarian who considers both to be evil, but in different ways and with different effects, can weigh the harm they believe will flow from each candidate’s election and choose the candidate who they believe will cause the least harm to the least people. Simply choosing to turn away and ignore the harm that they anticipate is indeed a choice and that choice will support the eventual winner no matter how much harm you think he or she will cause. By choosing the lesser evil person, you are trying to reduce the adverse consequences to everyone else.

  35. mike from iowa

    But Daniel, didn’t you see Drumpf and Drumpf Jr peeking illegally at their wives ballots? Not cricket, eh. Did you hear that Russian officials were in contact several times with Drumpf’s campaign during the election? That is illegal. Not cricket. When do we get to turn the dogs loose and pepper spray them dirty criminals? Pepper spray and attack dogs are only for loser Indians?

  36. mike from iowa

    Should we run down the list of illegalities involving the Drumpf cluster f### of a campaign? But HRC is a crook.

  37. mike from iowa

    Comrade Drumpf assured South Korea’s Park that he would assist her country as per defense agreements in DIRECT violation of his campaign promises not to do so. Such a pathological liar.

  38. BCB: Libertarians are not pro-life or pro-choice. There are some from both convictions.

  39. Bearcreekbat, I don’t buy the analysis in the Newsweek article. Author Gidda offers no hard data showing the third-party vote would have broken for Clinton had it not been available. The Quinnipiac survey is from September, when Johnson and Stein had higher numbers. The state-by-state breakdown shows only a couple of states where the reliably Clinton Stein vote would have been enough to change the result for Clinton, and that only assumes the Johnson vote wouldn’t have negated and overwhelmed that result. Johnson beat Stein handily in every state—closest was DC, Johnson 1.57% to Stein 1.39%—and I do not see any data (and neither does Gidda) that a majority of Johnson voters anywhere would have gone for Clinton if forced to a binary choice.

    How high is the Johnson-for-Clinton bar? There are four states in which the Johnson vote was larger than Trump’s winning spread over Clinton: Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. If Johnson had not been on the ballot, and if all of those Johnson voters had still come and cast Presidential votes, she would have had to have won 53.79% of Michigan’s Johnson voters, 62.92% in Wisconsin, 75.88% in Pennsylvania, and 78.98% in Florida. To pull off the Electoral trick, Clinton would have to have flipped Florida and at least one of these other three states, or she would have had to have won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. In other words, at least three-quarters of either Michigan’s or Florida’s Johnsonites had to be Clinton leaners.

    Adding Stein to the mix adds only Arizona to the group of states where the third-party tally beat Trump’s margin over Clinton. More algebra… and I find Clinton doesn’t win Arizona unless she wins 92% of the Johnson vote and 99% of the Stein vote. Otherwise, if we can assume uniform Johnson-for-Clinton percentages across states (because good grief, do you know how complicated the formula is already?), Clinton doesn’t reach her WI-MI-PA Electoral hat trick until she can draw 59% of Johnson voters, which would in turn require her to get 63% of Stein’s pie in WI, 33% in MI, and 99% in PA. Florida doesn’t eke into play until Clinton draws 64% of the Johnson vote (and that minimum again requires her to get almost every Stein vote, 98%, and the other 2% not flaking out or staying home).

    If Clinton could pull 50% of Johnson voters (think about that: half of a sample of Libertarians willing to vote D rather than R?), there aren’t enough Stein voters to put her over the top in AZ, PA, or FL, and MI and WI aren’t enough. Clinton doesn’t have a path to victory among the third-party voters.

  40. bearcreekbat

    That is some complex analysis Cory! If the turnout was essentially the same or very close to 2012, and if Romney managed to lose with more votes than Trump, and if Clinton won the popular vote, and if 3rd party votes don’t explain these discrepancies yielding a Trump EC victory, then at this point I’ll admit I am at a loss to understand the odd outcome of this election.

  41. Porter Lansing

    It’s not very complicated why Clinton lost, BCB. White women voted for Trump at 53%. What’s sad is this jealousy of seeing a women excel is going to set the women’s rights movement back, again. It’s like cutting off your own nose because you believe your face is already too ugly.

  42. Porter Lansing

    Need proof? GOOGLE why can’t women stand to see another woman succeed? There are 235,000 articles backing up my assertion.

  43. bearcreekbat

    Porter, that is a very reasonable explanation why a particular group voted for Trump, but it doesn’t explain how Trump could win with those voters and everyone else who voted for him when his total votes were less in number than Romney received while losing to Obama even though the total voter numbers in 2012 and 2016 were nearly the same. That to me is the mystery that I thought could be answered by taking into account 3rd party protest voters. But if Cory’s state by state analysis is correct, the 3rd party vote did not give the election to Trump.

    Perhaps Romney received more of the popular vote in the states he won than did Trump in the same states? I suppose under Occams Razor this may well be the most straight forward answer. Sort of like Hillary winning the popular vote but not the electoral college. What a strange election!

  44. mike from iowa

    And wingnuts, with less of the popular vote than HRC, claim they have a mandate.

  45. If I may, Clinton lost because the American public had enough of her. Simple stuff. They were weary thought that she had something to do with their losses in 2008 and knew that they did not want to hear about her anymore. This is reality tee vee folks, when you loose at the Dancing with the dummies, your out. The best way to soothe the butt hurtness is to make sure that the leaders do not select another tired old hand like Howard Dean to steer this barge. Yeee hawwww would be heard over and over again by the echo chambers voice. Put Ellison in charge, he would do a great job, else we get another flawed candidate like HRC. Dump everyone in the entire shebang and start all over with a fresh start.

  46. Darin Larson

    Cory, what about the third party folks, independents and progressives that stayed home or refused to vote for HRC because she wasn’t everything they wanted in a candidate? These folks are not counted in the voting statistics you reference.

    Remember our discussion a while back of folks voting or not voting their conscience as the case may be, resulting in the election of Trump? There is plenty of blame to go around so I’m not going to blame any one segment of the voting public. However, I will say that idealism should be subservient to pragmatism when the idealism results in our country being far worse off. HRC was a pragmatic choice and too many folks that generally agreed with HRC were looking for ideal. On the other side of the race, Trump voters were pragmatic rather than idealistic.

  47. To me, as an Independent, third parties make no sense. I choose to be an Independent not because I believed in anything third parties say, but to say that I do not belong to any party whatsoever. I don’t get to vote in the republican primary, boo hoo. The Democratic primary always leaves me wondering especially when I know that it takes money to make it work and contributors to the Clinton campaign were promised that money would go to the down ticket. She lied or at least was not telling the truth. As Cory noted, Clara Hart got a pretty good chunk of change from Bernie but not from Clinton. No one seems to care about that in the South Dakota Democratic Party though as it must be too much trouble to ask where it went. Nope, they all need to go here as well. Maybe Joe Lowe should lead this and have a budget that could get things going.

  48. bearcreekbat

    I blame no one for Clinton’s loss – voters who choose Trump had that right and exercised it. Likewise the folks who stayed home had that right and exercised it. And since the electoral college is a fundamental Constitutional requirement, I have no complaints at all. I support the enforcement of Constitutional rules and the freedom to choose a candidate, no matter what that candidate stands for.

    But the idea that “Clinton lost because the American public had enough of her” is clearly inconsistent with the fact that Hillary won the popular vote. Hillary won the votes of the majority of Americans so it seems pretty clear that this majority did not have enough of her or her policy ideas and goals.

    I agree with Jerry that registering as an Independent is a declaration that the voter will pick whomever he decides is the best candidate, regardless of party. Third parties are a different creature and make no sense unless they have grown enough to actually be competitive. If you know a 3rd party has literally no chance to receive 270 electoral votes, it seems a real waste of the vote to pick that 3rd party candidate instead of the best (or least bad) candidate that actually has a reasonable chance of prevailing.

    One reasonable analogy is “pissing in the wind” when the wind is blowing straight back at the pisser. You might get relief for your bladder, but you end up getting awfully wet in the end.

  49. It really does not matter about the popular vote, what matters is who won. We can look at stats from sports teams and say damn, those guys ran more yards and they still got their butts handed to them. We then forget about the game until the next time. That is what must happen now. Alea iacta est, the die is cast.

    Third parties are not even rebels, they just waste time, because they have the time to waste.

  50. Porter Lansing

    Independent is a political party. Unaffiliated is a political mindset. U/A is the largest group in Colorado (bigger than Republicans or Democrats) with enormous clout. The political parties are where the extremists lurk in this state. Unaffiliated are the mainstream. With the new law passed Tuesday, everyone can vote in any party’s primary. That makes we U/A’s even more powerful. Our majority tends to temper election rhetoric and centralize the process. Candidates often run as Unaffiliated but receive no party money, which can be perfect for first time candidates. South Dakotans would like it but your Republican obstructionism makes it harder to get Unaffiliated rights passed, initially. Being Independent means little. Voters who think independently, however surge to the U/A roles.

  51. Exactly Mr. Lansing, the more that they can keep people in the dark the more they can shuffle the deck to keep the jokers on top. We get nothing because we do not want anything, it is much easier to move the bucket for the drips in a rain storm than to fix the roof. When the roof finally rots, you just send it to Washington as a senator. Easy stuff to do as there is always another drip waiting to rot the system.

  52. Mr. Lansing, if “Independent” is a political party and has leaders and such but attracts weirdos from the fringe right and fringe left and upper middle upside down, I could get involved with such a party. But, Mr. Lansing…that really makes no sense. It would be chaos.

    Mark me down as a joiner, OK? Oh, wait, you live in Colorado. Tell your fellows here in South Dakota to mark me down as a joiner, OK?

  53. bearcreekbat

    Porter, I have not seen an “unaffiliated” designation in SD, although it could exist. And I haven’t seen an “Independent” party here either, but I admit I haven’t looked. I registered Republican many years ago, mainly because my grandmother was a staunch Republican during the Eisenhower years and afterwards, registering voters and working to support Republican candidates on the local level.

    During the Vietnam years I believed that Kennedy and Johnson were Vietnam hawks. I opposed the war and had given no consideration to civil rights for minorities so I did not see any reason to support these Democrats. I didn’t like Nixon at all, except for the fact that some progressive legislation advanced while he was President, such as the Legal Services Corporation that provided legal help in civil matter to indigents, including counsel that could file class actions against powerful private entities as well as against local, state and federal government employees that were ignoring or violating laws intended to protect the poor. And the US finally got out of Vietnam during Nixon.

    By the time Reagan was elected and tried to destroy everything good in our Country, our state had been taken over nearly completely at a local level by Republicans. If you were not registered as a Republican no Republican primary vote for you. Since only Republicans seemed to have a chance here in SD, I kept my Republican registration so I could have a say so in the primaries. I usually ended up supporting the Democrats in the general election, but I saw no particular reason to re-register Democrat, especially since so many local elections were actually decided in the Republican primaries.

    These days I see myself as aligning with the thought processes of “progressives” and I tend to support progressive candidates, such as Hillary and Bernie. I leaned toward Hillary in 2016, however, because she seemed the most qualified for the office and appeared electable and honest. I was incorrect on the middle factor, but no one has been able to identify any factual evidence to dissuade my views on the 1st and 3rd points.

    Today I maintain my Republican registration due to the primary rules in SD. If I thought that changing registration could help SD Democrats I would do so in a minute. Any advice on this issue?

  54. Porter Lansing

    Great story, BCB. I remember exactly what you’re saying. I had a family member who was a Democrat elected official in South Dakota for decades. She was very rare. Our whole family was Democrat. I understand the legacy affiliation in your state and how strong it pervades. I thought Kurt Evans is an Independent? There must be some sort of Independent Party. There’s one in CO, also but here it’s only 1 or 2% … mostly kooks, to tell ‘ya the truth.

  55. Mr. Bat, my advice would be to maintain your registration as a Republican because that’s the only primary that matters. Then you can vote again in the general election. This will allow you to try and muddle with the Republican elections and put forth fellows like Messrs. Nelson and Russel, and then vote for the “Kloucheck” fellow who gets shellacked in the end.

    There is in “Independent” party. Not yet. But the “Conservatives with Common Sense” will probably beat them to the punch bowl and drain it with a really big glug.

  56. Porter Lansing writes:

    I thought Kurt Evans is an Independent? There must be some sort of Independent Party.

    There’s no Independent Party in South Dakota. An independent candidate here is an unaffiliated candidate. I’ve run for statewide office both as an independent candidate (1996) and as a Libertarian Party candidate (2002, 2014).

  57. Mr. Evans, thank you for the clarification. I thought maybe I was the only one paying attention. And thank you for your service, sir.

  58. Porter Lansing

    Then, if Independent isn’t a recognized party then it’s the same as Unaffiliated. I think U/A is so popular here because no one solicits you for donations, candidates don’t take our votes for granted and we can vote in either primary. Plus, just the name Unaffiliated gives you a good feeling about your place in the process. Thousands of people move here every month. Newcomers usually aren’t joiners for a few years. They mostly choose Unaffiliated.

  59. Unafilliated is good. Really good. But you can’t vote for the president of the Kiawanis if you aren’t in the Kiawanis club. I’m just sayin…

  60. Porter, I don’t think my algebra can encompass the people who stayed home. I’ll stick for now with the trees who fell at the polls and made a sound. ;-)

  61. bearcreekbat

    Salon’s Matthew Roza disputes Cory’s claim that “No electoral math can show Jill Stein cost Hillary Clinton this election.”

    He compares Stein’s votes in three key states with Trump’s margin of victory:

    Stein votes/Trump margin:
    MI: 51,463/10,704
    PA: 49,678/46,765
    WI: 31,006/22,177

    If these numbers are factually correct, by voting for Stein instead of Hillary, liberal Stein voters (aren’t they all liberal?) in these three key states gave the win to Trump.

  62. Bear, those are new and useful numbers. Forget Johnson, look just at Stein, and yes, if big chunks of Stein voters would have gone for Clinton without offsetting defections to Trump or Johnson, Clinton would have won. But an earlier Vox analysis found that a lot of those third-party voters would have just stayed home if presented with a two-option ballot instead of the four-option ballot and that without Stein, Clinton would have won Michigan, still lost Florida, and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would have been a 48 to 48 percent toss-up. Clinton would have needed to win both of those states to reach 270 electoral votes.”

    Clinton must win all three, WI, MI, and PA. I go make another spreadsheet and start imagining:

    If the Stein vote splits the same in all three states and goes 60% Clinton, 20% Johnson, 5% Trump, and 15% stay home, Clinton only gains Michigan.

    Cut the Johnson and no-vote to 9% each, give all to Clinton for 77% of Stein voters, and Clinton adds Wisconsin.

    Clinton’s magic number varies based on whether the resistors go for Trump or stay home. Clinton has to win 95% of Stein voters and hope the other 5% all go for Johnson or leave the line blank and not vote for Trump to guarantee winning Pennsylvania along with MI and WI. If Trump can win just 3% of Stein voters in Pennsylvania, Clinton cannot win there.

    That extreme situation doesn’t look like spoiling the election.

  63. bearcreekbat

    While the scenario you describe is certainly plausible, you still have to admit the numbers now add up to a Clinton victory if Green voters decided to go all in for our gal Hillary, rather than stay home and pout, or worse yet, darken the Donald dot.

  64. I’ll grant the numbers, but 95% Stein voters going for Clinton seems extremely unlikely. Third parties making news would have looked more like Stein beating the Trump-Clinton margin by Michigan proportions in multiple states and even taking second in a state or two.