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Some election notes

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*34 US presidential elections have featured a recorded popular vote.  In 24 of those elections the two leading candidates received a combined total of at least 90% of the vote.  In those 24 elections, the winning candidate who received the smallest percentage of the popular vote was Donald Trump.  Put differently, Trump received the smallest share of the popular vote of any winning candidate in US presidential election history, excluding elections which featured a significant third-party vote.

*John McCain’s performance in the 2008 presidential general election is usually looked back on as something of a disaster.  McCain’s share of the popular vote was actually quite similar to Trump’s eight years later (45.65% to 45.99%).  Mitt Romney received 47.10% of the vote in 2012.

*There are some interesting parallels between the 2004 and 2016 presidential elections.  GW Bush’s margin in the popular vote was almost the same as Hillary Clinton’s (3.01 million and 2.86 million votes respectively, although Clinton’s margin is not quite final yet).  Bush avoided Clinton’s fate by barely winning a critical swing rust belt state, taking Ohio by 118,000 votes out of nearly 5.7 million cast there. If a few tens of thousands of marginal Bush voters had gone to Kerry instead, the 2004 election would have featured a losing candidate with a three-million vote win in the popular vote.  Of course if an even smaller total number of rust belt voters in MI, PA, and WI had voted for Clinton instead of Trump, the 2016 election would look practically identical to 2004.

*Following up on my little thought experiment in re Jill Stein:  I think it’s an open and basically unanswerable question whether Stein abandoning her campaign and endorsing Clinton would have actually produced enough votes for her to swing the election. I’m intrigued by Jameson Quinn’s data on this question, but it seems to me those data can ultimately not say very much about the extent to which Stein’s campaign dampened turnout at the margin for Clinton in the three states where the election was decided.

I also agree with various commenters that this hypothetical becomes more plausible the earlier that Stein pulls out of the race and endorses Clinton.

But ultimately this thought experiment had little relation to any real world possibility, because Jill Stein is a narcissistic fool who, I would guess, never even for a moment considered abandoning her idiotic self-indulgent little publicity stunt/grift.  Indeed I would further speculate that if you were to ask her today if, knowing what we know now, she would have done anything differently, she would say “no.”

Oh wait, I just googled it and it turns out there’s no need to speculate:

“It’s very clear from exit polls that there were very few Greens, 61 percent, that would have come out to vote if they didn’t have a Green candidate to vote for,” she said. “Of the remainder of those, over one-third would have voted for Donald Trump. It’s not supported by the numbers that the Greens would have made the margin of difference, not for a single electoral vote.”

Hopefully some new Dante will stick her in the ninth circle, with St. Ralph and an Intercept journalist or three, where Karl Rove can gnaw on their collective left feet for eternity and a day.

But the real point of the hypo is that contemporary presidential elections are now often so remarkably close (three of the last five have been decided by what was essentially an almost random handful of votes) that in retrospect a remarkable number of people could have altered the outcome if they had chosen to behave differently. This is of course most obvious in the case of the candidates themselves, who can be Monday morning quarterbacked from here to eternity, but the point is more salient in regard to various people who could have — again obviously in retrospect, but so what? — quite possibly stopped the candidate who was by their lights the greater of two evils from winning, but who chose not to for whatever reason.

(I’m giving Stein, Nader, et. al., the benefit of the doubt here by assuming that ultimately they really didn’t prefer Bush to Gore and Kerry, or Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton.  I realize this assumption may well be incorrect).

In other words, in excruciatingly close presidential elections a lot of people end up being invested with a lot of power at the margin, and the moral responsibility for the outcome that goes with it.  That would be a nice thing for everyone to remember next time, assuming there is one.

 

 

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  • Ronan
    • ThrottleJockey

      Happy Holidays Ronan! How’s your diet going? BTW, it seems like a hard time of year to diet.

      Have you ever visited Cork? Know much about it? I have a college buddy moving over for a year or so.

      • Ronan

        It’s going okay, thanks. Falling off the wagon a bit, but nothing that can’t be corrected.
        I’m half living (3 days a week) in cork at the minute. I’ve come to really like it tbh. It’s quite small, and can be grotty in parts, but there’s a good bit there to do. Also you’re in driving distance of a lot of the popular scenic parts of south east/west ireland (west cork, Kerry, parts of the Waterford coast etc)
        Is your friend moving to the city/town ?(rents are quite high at the minute, there’s a “housing crisis” in ireland , as elsewhere, so rents are a bit out of flux)

    • sharonT

      I read this article this morning and while I’m disheartened, I’m not surprised.

      This is the campaign that the professionals ran in Maryland in 2014. There was even a last minute call for help to Donna Braizille to fix their unholy mess of a gubernatorial campaign and she replied, “Dude, it’s like, two weeks before Election Day, what do you expect me to do now?”

      Yes, hacking. Yes, Comey. Yes, sexism. Yes, racism… but Christ, when people come to your campaign headquarters looking for volunteer opportunities take advantage of it. Give them an app for their phone so they can record voter interactions. Give them paper literature to leave on their doorknobs. Goddamn, give them signs for their yards.

      Don’t give them a call sheet and an app that they can earn points to decorate their virtual campaign crib. Yes, this was my husband’s experience making calls to North Carolina for Hillary. No one updated the call sheets for Maryland voters, so we both got call after call asking the same questions over and over again.

      This isn’t just a Brooklyn problem, it’s a Democratic campaign infrastructure problem and until its fixed, the Democratic Party will keep losing races, even in Blue States.

      • efc

        I don’t live in MI, but I really noticed in my very liberal part of intown Atlanta how few Clinton yard signs, bumper stickers, etc. there were as compared to 2012. I thought it was an indication of less enthusiasm but maybe it was just a mark of incompetence which gave the illusion of less enthusiasm. Driving out to trumptown (OTP, but actually they went blue in Cobb and Gwinett for the first time in ages) there weren’t many trump signs either. But I assumed that was because trump didn’t have a “ground game” (per a bunch of articles about how trump’s campaign was seemingly incompetent) so I didn’t give it much thought.

        • numbers

          What do these states have in common? http://www.270towin.com/maps/Ezykm

          In every one of them between 3 and 8 percent of the eligible voting age population that voted for Obama in 2012 decided not to vote for Clinton 2016. That’s between 10 and 20% of Obama voters who either stayed home or voted for Johnson. When you can tell me how Clinton’s ground game resulted in such a uniform exodus from the Democratic party, I’ll listen to it.

    • mpavilion

      The article is somewhat confusing, as canvassing was heavily emphasized here in the West (California, with efforts largely focused on Nevada); so it’s not like the nat’l campaign HQ discounted the importance of canvassing altogether. (Of course, we were successful in NV, which may help prove the point…)

    • kvs

      That article is an example of someone trying to report on a subject they don’t actually seem to know much about: have narrative, find someone to go on the record to support narrative, include incomplete anecdotes as data, add some facts and act like they conclusively support the narrative.

      The amusing nugget in there is that Clinton reportedly had 3.5x as many MI staff as Obama ’12.

    • kvs

      By the way, Fowler seems like quite the opportunistic quote giver.

      Fowler in that article.

      “They believed they were more experienced, which they were. They believed they were smarter, which they weren’t,” said Donnie Fowler, who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee during the final months of the campaign. “They believed they had better information, which they didn’t.”

      Fowler in September

      “Donald Trump has a superb marketing department,” says Donnie Fowler, the Silicon Valley CEO and seasoned Democratic political operative tapped by the Democratic National Committee this week to a linchpin post directing Clinton’s “Get Out the Vote” Team. “But Donald Trump has no sales team, nobody to go to the voter and make the sale. And Hillary has a very deep and sophisticated sales team.”

  • ThrottleJockey

    Based on what numbers and analysis I’ve read, I’m skeptical that Stein changed the outcome. I really think Stein voters are fundamentally voters disaffected with both parties who, absent a 3rd choice, would mostly stay home. At least that’s what 60% of them said in the Exit Polls. A lot of them would like nothing more than to give a middle finger to both parties.

    • Sumdood

      This is correct. It was Clinton’s job to get her people out to the polls and she didn’t even campaign in Wisconsin! She barely paid any attention to Michigan, and Pennsylvania seems to have been subject to a lack of organization too. Blaming Hillary’s inept campaign on Jill Stein seems kind of stupid and hyperbolic wishful thinking.

      Also, some not insignificant portion of those Green Party voters will be voting democratic down the ballot. I get so infuriated when people focus so much on the presidential race — especially in the face of such a glaring loss — without noting that Dems picked up 3 House seats and two in the Senate.

      • Cheerfull

        I heard it was six representatives not three, and they will have very little additional impact. The two senators somewhat more. The presidency 99% of the shebang.

        Also I do not blame Hillary’s inept campaigning on Stein and I don’t think Campos is either if you read his post. We are blaming Stein’s decision to campaign against Clinton on Stein and her determination to convince those Americans willing to listen to her that it was a choice between nearly equivalent evils. Leading some to vote for Stein and some not to vote for Clinton in any case.

        As noted, repeatedly, by many people, and yet ignored, repeatedly, by many people, in a close election with numerous relevant factors it makes no sense to point to any in particular and say there, that’s the culprit.

        It does make sense to point to all those who had some part to play, including in this case Stein, and say that you share blame for the result.

    • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

      I really think Stein voters are fundamentally voters disaffected with both parties who, absent a 3rd choice, would mostly stay home. At least that’s what 60% of them said in the Exit Polls.

      And at least 13% of them said they would vote for Trump. So absent Stein, Clinton only nets around 13% of her vote totals. Add that in and see how much of a difference it makes (hint: it involves a world where Paul is obsessively writing counterfactuals where Johnson didn’t run, and Clinton somehow got the majority of his votes).

      • Cheerfull

        You neglect the point that Paul repeatedly makes in his post – that part of Stein’s effect was to pound on the point that Clinton was objectively as bad as Trump and thus help persuade people not to vote for Clinton, even if they also did not vote for Stein.

        Stein’s culpability can be judged in part by her intent, and the choices she made, and the implications of those choices as well as by what measurements can be taken from the polls.

  • You know, we can diggle at the margins about how Stein contributed to Hillary’s loss, and the evilness of third parties in general. But isn’t the real issue that, in an election where the threat of fascism was (and is now) real, 18 million less people voted in 2016 than in 2008? If Hillary had been able to get out even a tenth of those votes, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    • ThrottleJockey

      To your point, it says a lot that women in ’16 weren’t nearly as excited about electing the first woman president as blacks in ’08 were about electing the first black president. To be honest, given that ~52% of all voters are women, I assumed that Hill started the campaign with a baked in advantage.

      • To your point, it says a lot that women in ’16 weren’t nearly as excited about electing the first woman president as blacks in ’08 were about electing the first black president.

        I would say that a lot of women weren’t that enthused at Hillary being the first woman president. My wife, for example, voted for her, but it wasn’t out of some feeling of female solidarity. It was because the alternative was far worse.

        Obama, on the other hand, was a truly transformative candidate.

        • LeeEsq

          My friends seemed split pretty evenly between those enthused about Hillary Clinton and those voting for her because she was the Democratic candidate. I’d say that the college educated Baby Boomer and Gen X women were the most enthusiastic.

        • bender

          I’m a college educated Boomer, and I have a good friend I met in college, and we have been feminists all our lives. When HRC got the nomination, we had a thirty second conversation like this, “First woman nominated for President by a major party, and this is what we get.” “Those are the breaks. We have to vote for her.”

          Not passing the ERA looked like a setback, but the last legal barrier to women’s full participation in American society (that I can think of) fell last year when combat positions in the armed forces were integrated. Of course, legal barriers aren’t the only barriers to full equality.

          I was proud and happy to have lived long enough to vote for Obama the first time, although my interpretation of “Change and Hope” was “I get to vote for a black man for a change; I hope he doesn’t screw up or get assassinated.”

      • The Great God Pan

        It says a lot, but not necessarily about Hillary.

        I don’t think women as a whole can be counted on to demonstrate solidarity in that way. A pretty large minority of women oppose abortion rights, voted for the candidate who “grabs ’em by the pussy” and wants to “date” his own daughter (and, given what we know about his lack of self control, may have actually done so), think that concerns about sexual harassment and assault are just “PC nonsense,” etc.

        These women just aren’t going to get enthused about voting for the first woman president for its own sake.

        • Colin Day

          The Susan Sarandon “I don’t vote with my vagina.” demographic?

      • Quaino

        We must never, ever question the sanctity of the self-hating female vote. Only the racist white working class is to blame.

      • To your point, it says a lot that women in ’16 weren’t nearly as excited about electing the first woman president as blacks in ’08 were about electing the first black president.

        Can we quantify this? Certainly Clinton didn’t get as high a % of the female vote as Obama got of the black vote, but black people already vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. I’m pretending to work right now so I can’t collect the data, but it seems to me that you’d have to determine how much of a swing Obama got in the black vote versus a generic Democrat, and how much of a swing Clinton got with women versus a generic Democrat.

    • Paul Campos

      131 million people voted for president in 2008 and 137 million voted for president in 2016. Of course the population had increased so turnout as a percentage of the population was higher in 2008, although not by anything like the equivalent of 18 million people.

      ETA: Turnout was three percent higher in 2008, so the equivalent of about four million votes.

        • Paul Campos

          That story was written when more than 11 million votes had not yet been counted. Turnout in 2016 was higher than in 2000 and will probably end up being slightly higher than in 2012. The story notes that the final figures weren’t yet available, but it doesn’t mention that the final figures could (and did) invalidate the story’s central claim.

  • Hercules Mulligan

    It is absolutely true that in an election this close, literally everything matters, certainly including the behavior of self-righteous “purists.”

    It is further true that all evidence suggests HRC would have won absent the FBI letter, and I have no problem with blaming it as before.

    But you focus on the things you can change, not the things you can’t. Spending the next four years berating third-party voters is enormously less helpful than finding better ways to turn out the base and win over nonvoters.

    There is now a great deal of evidence that the Clinton team’s ground game in key states was awful. Just awful. It’s not Monday night quarterbacking to say we need to fix this for next time! None of this absolves Steiners of their dumb decisions. None of this erases the errors of the press or the maliciousness of the FBI. But for christ’s sake, this is something they did badly and we need to fix.

    • Crusty

      “But you focus on the things you can change, not the things you can’t. Spending the next four years berating third-party voters is enormously less helpful than finding better ways to turn out the base and win over nonvoters.”

      The thing about third-party voters is that they are people who already give enough of a shit to vote, so effort getting them to change their vote seems to me like it could be worthwhile.

      • Sumdood

        People who see both major parties as corrupted by special interests are not going to be convinced that those interests share theirs. You’re far more likely to pick up non-voters than you are trying to convince people who are already solidly against big money, corporate control of government.

        • Crusty

          Well, it depends. Perhaps four years of Trump authoritarianism will make them feel differently. And not every third-party voter is a true believer. Some are young and stupid and might be slightly less of each four years from now. Others had personal beefs with Hillary.

          • Sumdood

            Yes, a lot can change in 2-4 years. On this much I hope we all can agree.

            • Eliza1600

              Yes. A good friend of mine voted for the first time in 2000, in Florida. She diligently researched the candidates and determined that Nader was the one most aligned with her values and priorities, so she voted for him. And regretted it the next day. She says that’s when she learned that the general election is about, as she calls it, “playing the game” where you have to be realistic about your options and what’s at stake.

  • Rob in CT

    Typo alert:

    There are some interesting parallels between the 2004 and 2016 presidential elections. GW Bush’s margin in the popular vote was almost the same as Hillary Clinton’s (3.01 million and 2.86 million votes respectively, although Clinton’s margin is not quite final yet). Bush avoided Clinton’s fate by barely winning a critical swing rust belt state, taking Ohio by 118,000 votes out of nearly 5.7 million cast there. If a few tens of thousands of marginal Bush voters had gone to Clinton instead

    Should be Kerry.

    I don’t think Stein swung the election. She’s still terrible and deserving of all manner of scorn.

    How about Johnson? “Principled Libertarian helps elect American Mussolini.” Gah. His running mate showed more integrity, toward the end.

    ETA: I guess if 2 out of 3 Johnson voters would’ve voted for Trump instead the above isn’t true. But what if instead they stayed home? I dunno.

    • Paul Campos

      Fixed thx

  • Davis

    One-third of Greens would have voted for Donald Trump? WTF? If true, they’re hopeless.

    • yet_another_lawyer

      They’re single issue voters and their single issue is emails.

    • tsam

      Stein voters are those grossly uninformed people whose core mantra is “both parties are the same”. So you take Stein’s lead in saying that Killary is literally cancer, worse than Hitler, and not much to say about Trump (in fact an online poll had her ideologically matched with Trump at ~41% of the issues (!)), you have a whole group of sanctimonious dummies who really thought the lesser of evils was the most evil bastard the GOP could shit out, and they’re really fucking good at that.

      ETA: Strictly anecdotal, but I did hear this class of morons talking about Trump “Shaking things up”, as if that were some kind of benefit to anyone besides rich white males. Of course, where we go from there is left to the imagination of the mystified listener.

    • Morse Code for J

      The Green Party doesn’t have pet issues. It has pet grudges.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Reflects how the Green Party doesn’t even have a coherent platform anymore. It’s more like, something something two party system is broken something. There’s nothing to cohere around.

      I live abroad, but sometimes when people find out my USA voting residence is in a very, very, very blue place, they ask if I’ll cast a vote for the Greens. And my answer is always the same: FUCK NO. Leaving the spoiler issue 100% aside (which, in real life, you can’t ever do), the Greens do not deserve votes.

    • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

      One-third of Greens would have voted for Donald Trump? WTF?

      Nope.

      “It’s very clear from exit polls that there were very few Greens, 61 percent, that would have come out to vote if they didn’t have a Green candidate to vote for,” she said. “Of the remainder of those, over one-third would have voted for Donald Trump.

      So one third of the remaining 39%, or about 13%.
      Not as bad as 33%, and it also shows just how ridiculous Paul’s counterfactual is. Exit polls show that, without Stein, Clinton gets about 26% of her vote, and Trump gets about 13%, for a net gain to Clinton of 13%. The “suppressed vote” that is going to magically motivate to vote Clinton in this scenario is going to have to be pretty significant in this scenario.

  • wengler

    How about we do something constructive and call for the end of the Electoral College? There’s a small chance of that happening now but any sustained chance of reform of this government is going to require some across-the-board laws to ensure that people in this country are allowed to vote. The Republicans as white nationalist party is still getting demographically smaller hence they will continue to look for ways to stop non-white people from voting.

  • malraux

    (I’m giving Stein, Nader, et. al., the benefit of the doubt here by assuming that ultimately they really didn’t prefer Bush to Gore and Kerry, or Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton.

    Didn’t stein say she preferred the pacifist trump to the nuclear warmonger clinton? Didn’t Nader say he wanted a bush win to heighten the contradictions and drive a wave to the Green Party/Nader in the next election?

    • The Great God Pan

      Stein’s Facebook page also posted a letter from her (I think) social media director about how Clinton is “D A N G E R O U S” and it would be better to elect Trump and have to “fight ignorants [sic?] in the streets” than to elect D A N G E R O U S Hillary.

      Which brought to mind an image of Pajama Boys (and Girls) engaging in a Sharks vs Jets choreographed street fight with a bunch of roided-out neo-Nazi MMA afficionados and white “working class” meth addicts. In my imagination, Stein’s social media director is not an accomplished street fighter.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        I heard this from some Stein voters — that Clinton was equally dangerous as Trump, and that we were voting for a war with Russia if we voted for Clinton. It was…odd how much Russia was a talking point for the Greens.

        • The one I still hear is about the Syria no-fly zone. In this fantasy, upon being elected she immediately and unilaterally establishes a no-fly zone, which immediately results in a hot war with Russia.

      • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

        Which brought to mind an image of Pajama Boys (and Girls) engaging in a Sharks vs Jets choreographed street fight with a bunch of roided-out neo-Nazi MMA afficionados and white “working class” meth addicts.

        Bravo.

  • Crusty

    An important upshot of the closeness of the election is that dems should not go crazy examining what went wrong and how they must change. What went wrong? Not enough votes. Russian finger on the scale, FBI finger on the scale, flawed polling that made some complacent, too clever by half ground operations, uncharismatic candidate, novelty opposition candidate, democrat fatigue, Clinton fatigue, lots of things. Some of these will be present in 2020, some won’t and some new factors will be there. With some more enthusiasm and non-complacency, a few lucky bounces, and/or the absence of unlucky bounces, it will go a different way.

    Conventional republican wisdom was that republicans were on the verge of permanently alienating the growing non-white demographic and they had to “broaden their outreach,” run a candidate who supported comprehensive immigration reform, maybe habla’d a little espanol like W, otherwise they’d go the way of the whigs. Instead they ran an authoritarian white supremacist and won. So don’t go too crazy figuring out what needs to be done. I’m just hoping that Carls Jr. as official white house caterer runs its course on arteries.

    • StellaB

      The choices are an unknown who gets labeled “inexperienced”, a known with an extensive history who will be labeled as “flawed”, or a known who hasn’t done anything beyond getting re-elected periodically who will be labeled “empty suit”. The Rs aren’t going to run a policy oriented, smearless campaign because voters don’t like their policies. I guarantee that the 2020 D candidate will have done something perfectly innocuous that will get turned into a big scandal. Furthermore, during the campaign, the candidate will certainly say something that offends and alienates the “Reagan Democrats”/far left.

  • BartletForGallifrey

    Hopefully some new Dante will stick her in the ninth circle, with St. Ralph and an Intercept journalist or three, where Karl Rove can gnaw on their collective left feet for eternity and a day.

    May it be filled with wifi.

    • Woodrowfan

      May it be filled with wifi.

      and all that mercury they think are in vaccines. Fuck Stein and Saint Ralph with a rusty pitchfork covered in GMO’d veggies.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Don’t give her the password, though. Otherwise we’d be subjected to Facebook posts from Stein about how heaven is equally torturous.

  • Mark Field

    In those 24 elections, the winning candidate who received the smallest percentage of the popular vote was Donald Trump. Put differently, Trump received the smallest share of the popular vote of any winning candidate in US presidential election history, excluding elections which featured a significant third-party vote.

    I believe your next paragraph shows that McCain got a lower percentage than Trump.

    • Ithaqua

      McCain lost. This was about share of the popular vote by the winner.

      • Mark Field

        Oops. My bad.

  • CP Norris

    Hopefully some new Dante will stick her in the ninth circle, with St. Ralph and an Intercept journalist or three, where Karl Rove can gnaw on their collective left feet for eternity and a day.

    Don’t forget the leftier-than-thou brogressive who wrote Hillary Clinton’s self-satisfied privilege: Her Goldman Sachs problem helps explain the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

    • Paul Campos

      In retrospect it’s even more obvious what a massive mistake it was on Clinton’s part to take millions of dollars in speaking fees from bankers on the eve of her presidential campaign. It was stupid and greedy (she and her husband were already extremely rich even by the standards of the new gilded age) and, in an election where every little thing ended up counting, this ended up not being a little thing at all.

      • muddy

        Bill Clinton going on to AG Lynch’s plane to forcibly schmooze her was also unhelpful, made her have to recuse herself. So pointless. Thanks, Bill.

        • randy khan

          She’d already said she wasn’t going to get involved. Maybe not a formal recusal, but effectively the same thing. And in practice she wasn’t going to tell Comey anything about how to run the investigation, so she wouldn’t have stopped the October surprise.

          That said, Bill’s decision to go onto her plane wasn’t that smart.

      • StellaB

        Prior to her campaign, running successful charities, giving paid speeches (and often donating the pay to charity), and using private email servers were not considered problems. Prior to Obama’s campaign writing books, purchasing houses, and attending church were not considered problems. Prior to Kerry’s campaign, receiving purple hearts, speaking French, and windsurfing were not considered problems. Prior to Gore’s campaign, earth tone suits, mumble, mumble China, were not considered problems. How are candidates supposed to know in advance which activities to endorse and which will become pseudo-scandals?

        • StellaB

          Had she done nothing between SoS and the campaign, she would have been criticized.

    • JMP

      Well good thing they’ve certainly kept Goldman Sachs from having any influence in the Executive branch now!

  • rea

    9th Circle? Deeper than Trump, who only rates Circle 8–maybe Bolgia 5 (corrupt politicians) Wave to Donald down in the boiling pitch as you descend, guys.

    The people you name go in Circle 9, Round 2–the Betrayors of their Country

  • AMK

    People have beaten the PA/WI/MI situation to death, but it’s just as important to know what happened in Florida. I’ve heard that all the retirees just broke hard for Trump–but were there so many more of them in 2016 than 2012?

    • Crusty

      They’ll be dead by 2020.

    • JMP

      Baby Boomers started hitting 65 in 2011, and there have been a lot of them retiring every year – my parents for instance both retired in 2010. And a lot have been moving to Florida after retirement; so yeah, there should be a lot more Florida retirees now because there are just so very many people who have hit retirement age in recent years.

  • Yankee

    It is remarkable how several of the recent presidential elections have been microscopically close, and also other competitive down-ballot elections. Seem it would be useful to understand the structural imperatives driving. Likely bundling all possible issues into one polarity is part of it, along with modern polling and advertising … the campaigns can say, position/statement “X” will attract N votes and alienate M votes for a net gain of .001%, so let’s go! Like the end game of a go match where black and white are competing for very small gains and (adequately played) the score is always close.

  • numbers

    Trump received votes from 27.2% of the voting eligible population. This is roughly the average for all candidates since 1976. It’s about the same as Romney in 2012, a little less than Reagan in 1980, and substantially more than Bill Clinton both times.

  • Dilan Esper

    34 US presidential elections have featured a recorded popular vote. In 24 of those elections the two leading candidates received a combined total of at least 90% of the vote. In those 24 elections, the winning candidate who received the smallest percentage of the popular vote was Donald Trump.

    Nice arbitrary way of excluding Bill Clinton’s 43 percent in 1992.

    • Paul Campos

      What exactly is the point of this sort of comment? Do you think Bill Clinton’s popular vote performance in 1992, when he got 15% more votes than the runner-up, is comparable to Trump, who got 4.5% fewer votes than Clinton?

      There’s nothing arbitrary about pointing out that somebody who beats his main opponent by 43% to 37.4% when a third party candidate got nearly a fifth of the vote has had a more impressive electoral performance that somebody who lost the popular election by nearly three million votes.

    • Colin Day

      There’s also this:

      Put differently, Trump received the smallest share of the popular vote of any winning candidate in US presidential election history, excluding elections which featured a significant third-party vote.

      Also excludes 1824 (JQA got 30%) and 1860 (Abrahem Lincoln got 39.6%.

  • BartletForGallifrey

    These post-mortems–I refer here to Politico more than Campos–are driving me batty. We’re all acting like she was destroyed. She got nearly 3 million more votes. Even the Terrible Horrible losses in the three Rust Belt states are in fact pretty damn teeny–0.05% of the total vote!

    Actually, this is probably a good place to ask for suggestions. I’ve started a list of things bigger than her loss in MI/PA/WI. This is what’s on it so far:
    -The average NFL stadium, not including standing room.
    -The average NYS Assembly District.
    -Hopeful buyers of Hamilton tickets in San Francisco.
    -An online statement of support for Jeremy Corbyn.
    -A petition to cast an Asian Mulan.
    -The waiting list for Lilly Pulitzer clothes at Target.
    -Obamacare signups the day after the election.
    -A protest in Taiwan in September.
    -New York Fashion Week.

    Anyone got any further illustrations of just how incredibly small that number is?

    • Crusty

      All J.C. Penny employees.

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