Saturday, May 28, 2016

Those chads didn't hang themSELVES, you know!

Doctor Steins with Tardis. Via wibbilywobblytimeywimey.
Steve M is being a worrywort again, this time on the possibility that Dr. Stein, the Green candidate, could do to Secretary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic candidate, what Nader did to Gore 16 years ago, in the election that Changed Everything (including giving birth to the anguished political blog: Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo made its first appearance a week after the ballot, specifically to track developments in the elections theft, on November 12 2000, though the earliest post I can find is from November 13).

Because if the cool-kid Sanders supporters can't vote for Sanders in the general election they will be voting for Stein rather than voting for Clinton, judging from the popular press (BuzzFeed and The Atlantic), and this could take the election away from Clinton the way the Nader vote took the election away from Gore in 2000. Really?

I'd like to make at least one objection, namely that you can't really bring up the 2000 election without noting that it was an extremely peculiar case, in the first place because the Nader effect occurred in only the Nader effect occurred in only one state, but it two states, Florida and New Hampshire [Thanks for the correction, Tom], of which one just happened to be the crucial state where the election would be decided, and there were a large number of different factors involved, including the terrible Palm Beach ballot design which led a large number of voters to cast votes for the vile Patrick Buchanan, the improper exclusion of whole classes of voters, the famous chad situation, and the control of the local government by the presidential candidate's brother, in such a way that it's hard to see how it could ever be replicated.

The Stein vote could only make a decisive difference in states where there's a tight contest between Clinton and Trump to begin with, the way there was a tight contest between Bush and Gore in Florida, and those states are not likely to be big Stein territory. Stein will likely do relatively well in some (not all) states that are overwhelmingly Democratic, like the three Pacific Coast states, New York, and Vermont; and in some states where the Democratic nominee is more or less certain to lose, like West Virginia and Idaho and Kentucky.

But she's not going to do at all well in any of the swing states where it could make a real difference the way it did in Florida in 2000—Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, unless it's Florida again, and I'm sure it won't be in Florida either, where everything is conspiring to make the Republican situation really bleak, from the Hispanic dislike for Trump to the destruction of the old Republican machine by the mutual hatred of the Bush and Rubio contingents.

Not that there's nothing to worry about in November from the disaffected Berners, but I think the danger is more in the likelihood that they might not vote at all—a vote for Dr. Stein is really just a fancy method of not voting. And how dangerous it is depends on how many of them there are.

I tend to think of Sanders's support overall as relatively less than the way his results make it look (based on the way Sanders tends to win in caucuses rather than primaries—anybody notice that Clinton won two primaries in the last three weeks without getting any delegates, in Nebraska and Washington, because Sanders had won the states' caucuses in March?—and rural rather than urban districts), and I tend to think that a lot of his support comes from people who don't actually vote very often (like all the bros in the New York primary who had no idea they had to be registered Democrats and thought the system, which has existed for many decades, had been rigged just to frustrate them). I hope they prove me wrong!

Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.

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