So I’ve started to look at the data that’s available right now. Please note that we don’t have anything resembling all of the data that we will have in the coming weeks so I reserve the right to change my analysis as new information becomes available because that’s what I do. I change my opinions as more information becomes available to me. More people need to learn to be open to new information, and allow their thinking to evolve based on new facts as they materialize.
So what the fuck happened on Tuesday? Well, it was a confluence of events (some unforeseen and some planned) and bad judgment. Before I get into all of that, I want to say something. Yesterday, I had to endure a day of hateful finger pointing, absurdly unfounded gloating, vitriol and general douchebaggery. None of it was intended to be productive. It was all intended to make the person doing it feel superior by shitting on someone else because they didn’t agree with them every single step of the way to election day. Trump’s deplorables let their freak flags fly, and a lot of so-called liberals behaved deplorably. It was a generally appalling day.
Let me be clear: I will never be compelled to shit on someone who thought they were doing the best thing, but turned out to have bad judgment. I’m specifically referring largely to Hillary primary supporters, but also other groups of people (I will elaborate later). Shitting on people who are shell shocked and dismayed isn’t particularly liberal or inclusive in my opinion, and it isn’t going to “teach” anyone to have better judgment. Those of you who did that yesterday are deplorable, and you’re going down the same road that republicans embarked on over thirty years ago.
This post is not about finger pointing (well there will be a little of that, but I’m doing my best to limit my inclination to be small and petty). This post is about unpacking what happened in a productive and (hopefully) instructive way so that we can learn something and figure out how to move forward.
I’m going to walk through the events that all led up to this, and then I will get into the election data. The first event in the shit storm chain happened over three years ago, when the Supreme Court gutted part of the Voting Rights Act. Remember all of the fuckery that happened in the democratic primary with voter rolls being scrubbed, polling places being closed en masse and everything else that people attributed to Hillary rigging the primary? Well that wasn’t Hillary, it wasn’t the DNC, and it wasn’t done with the intention of rigging the primaries for any particular candidate. Trust me, the five right wing Supreme Court justices had no idea (nor did they care) who would be running in the democratic primary and neither did the republican election officials that made moves to suppress the vote. They were laser focused on the general elections, where they know that republicans only win when voter turnout is down. I looked into every situation where fuckery happened in the primary (Arizona, New York, and all the rest). In every instance, I figured out that the wheels to suppress the votes had been in motion before Bernie ever announced he was running.
Did these voter suppression tactics cost Bernie the primary? I don’t know, but do know that not every state was in exactly the same situation. The hard data simply isn’t there to inform me in a way that I feel comfortable making that call. I don’t believe that the results in New York (for example) were impacted in any significant way by the scrubbing of the voter rolls. Hillary won New York in the 2008 primary by a slightly larger margin than she won in 2016. Those who were scrubbed were very likely to vote in roughly the same proportions as those who got to vote. I’m speculating (so take that for what it’s worth) that Bernie may have lost a few points in states like Arizona, where 2/3 of the polling locations were gone. Why do I think that? Because Bernie’s base was largely made up of first time voters who aren’t used to the idea of spending four hours casting a vote. Yes, some people become more determined to vote when voting becomes harder, but many more people simply don’t have the luxury of that determination because they have work, kids, or a myriad of different things that are more immediately urgent in their lives than voting.
We had eleven states where democratic voter turnout set records. None of those states took the opportunity the Supreme Court gave them to suppress votes. I believe that we would have seen much higher turnout in several more states, had SCOTUS not fucked us. And I believe that increased turnout was because of Bernie’s candidacy. You will see why I believe that when I share the general election data. Does that mean that I believe that Bernie would have won the primary without the SCOTUS decision? I earnestly don’t know, and I’m not going to project my pro-Bernie emotions into my analysis. It’s possible (and in my opinion likely), but the evidence to make that proclamation isn’t there so I’m not going to make it.
And then there was the voter suppression in the general. 300,000 people in Wisconsin alone showed up to vote, but weren’t allowed to because of the voter ID laws that Wisconsin passed in order to prevent people from voting.
So the first factor was voter suppression. The second factor was that Hillary simply wasn’t a good candidate. Her untrustworthy numbers were very bad going into the primaries, and they just got worse. I kept hearing over and over again from Hillary supporters that it wasn’t her fault that people didn’t trust her, and that the distrust was a product of twenty years of republican propaganda. That’s definitely true, but it didn’t change the fact that people don’t trust her, and I never saw the value in handing her the nomination to make it all up to her. Trustworthiness numbers always go down for every candidate who is running for office, and they keep going down through the whole election cycle. That’s just a fact. Bernie’s trustworthiness numbers went down too, but he didn’t start with such a massive deficit to begin with. Assuming that his trustworthiness numbers were going to drop at the average percentage that every other presidential nominee’s numbers drop, he would have still been significantly higher than past presidents elect. Hillary’s were always going to be far below previous presidents elect because they started off so low. Her primary supporters dismissed a very significant fact because they were emotionally invested in her.
She also ran a terrible campaign more focused on “he’s the devil” than “here’s what I plan to do for you”. She was trying to appeal to moderate republicans, rather than Berniecrats. Well guess what? There aren’t any moderate republicans, because they all stuck with Trump. She thought that moderate republican women would vote for the. They didn’t.
That brings us to the unbelievable and terrifying events that are next in the shit storm chain.
Russia. That was real. Donald Trump was working directly with Vladimir Putin, and just because Hillary and the DNC focused on that fact in their messaging didn’t mean it wasn’t true. This is the problem with the lack of critical thinking that goes on in America. All of the die hard Bernie or busters suffered from a particularly virulent strain of broken logic that very much resembles what’s been going on with the far right. The DNC and Hillary worked together to tip the scales in her favor, therefore Russia isn’t working with Trump! What the fuck kind of backward thinking is that? Kurt Eichenwald had the smoking gun that proved that Trump was working with Russia. Trump repeated some very stupid reporting that only appeared in one of Putin’s propaganda outlets (and only for a couple of days before it was taken down) and one very small Turkish outlet. The evidence was incontrovertible and yet on my very Facebook page, I had some Stein supporters sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting “LALALALALALA”. These are people who dismissed a very significant fact because they were emotionally invested despising Hillary.
And then we had the FBI. This is something I promise I will be writing more about in the future, but here’s the short version. We learned that the New York bureau of the FBI was working to manipulate our elections in order to select Trump to be the next president of the United States. Basically, the New York bureau of the FBI did to America, what the CIA does to other countries to manipulate their elections. That should terrify every American, but almost no one noticed because of their emotional investment in the outcome of the election.
Now we come to election night. The bottom line is that Hillary got nearly six million fewer votes than Obama got in 2012 and nearly seven million fewer votes than Obama got in 2008. There wasn’t a massive surge of Trump voters on the republican side either. He got nearly a million fewer votes than Romney did in 2012, but slightly more votes than McCain got in 2008. This is where both Hillary and Trump’s untrustworthy numbers come into play. A lot of people on both sides stayed home. Again, I don’t have the hard data on what I’m about to say, but I’m pretty confident that I will within a few weeks. I believe that moderate republicans stayed home in 2008 because of Palin (Nichole Wallace couldn’t have been the only one), and more of them stayed home in 2016. But I believe that Trump had a tranche of first time or seldom-ever voters in his back pocket. These would be the KKK and the “alt right” types that don’t vote. They made up for the moderate republicans that didn’t show up or voted for Hillary. Hillary simply didn’t have such a tranche.
Now let’s look at the third party voters. This was a pretty small number of people who were so emotionally invested in not voting for a major party candidate, that they were happy to let the house burn down. In the end, most people came to their senses. Gary “what’s Aleppo” Johnson got 4,042,291 or 3.2% of the vote. Little Equally Clueless Jilly Stein (quantitate easing for everyone!) got 1,207,141 or .96% of the vote. Did that matter? Here’s where I have some hard data and some educated assumptions to present. We know that Hillary got more of the popular vote, so we have to look at some specific states.
In Pennsylvania, Trump got 68,236 more votes than Hillary did. Pennsylvania hasn’t voted for a republican for president since 1988 so right off the bat, this tells you how bad a candidate Hillary was. She absolutely cost democrats a senate seat in Pennsylvania. But let’s look at the third party votes. Gary Johnson got 142,653 votes. Jill Stein got 48,912 votes. I think it’s fair to say that all of Stein’s voters would have voted for Hillary, had they not let their emotions tell them that they had a third (totally fucking unviable, sorry) option. I have a handful (not enough to create a gospel) of data showing that Gary Johnson was getting more votes that would otherwise have gone to Hillary, than he was from Trump by either a 3-1 or 4-1 margin. Again, I saw this on my own Facebook pages with some very confused Bernie supporters shifting to Johnson. So let’s assume the lowest 3 -1 percentage, with half of them staying home (I’m trying my best to skew my assumptions in Trump’s favor here). That would be 23,775 more votes for Trump and 96,422 more votes for Hillary. Hillary would have won Pennsylvania by 4,411 votes.
Ohio wasn’t close enough for me to have to do the numbers. Hillary would have lost Ohio either way.
In Florida, Trump got 119,770 more votes than Hillary did. Stein got 64,019 votes. Johnson got 206,007 votes. Applying my formula from above, Hillary would have won by 12,919 votes.
I don’t need to do the numbers on any other states because Pennsylvania and Florida would have put her at 277 electoral votes. We wouldn’t be in this mess had people (just like in 2000) not decided that this was the right time to get cute with their votes, despite the fact that the polls clearly demonstrated that the dolt they were voting for, wasn’t even in the stratosphere of viability.
This election was so close that if any one of the factors I went through weren’t present, it would have gone the other way.
To be clear, I have concluded that the polls weren’t wrong. The data regarding who was actually going to show up to vote was. And that’s usually where most of the error in polling lies. It’s true. Do a little research of your own, if you don’t believe me.
In the end, Michael Moore was exactly right in his belief that Trump was going to win the election and he was exactly right in his reasoning. I was right too, until I was wrong. Voters in America on both sides of the aisle are angry and deeply resentful of the establishment. Back in March, I cautioned against running a corporatist against a populist and I believe now more than ever that I was right. I miscalculated when I thought that Trump was so awful, that Hillary’s corporatist history wasn’t going to cost her the election. I still don’t know if Bernie could have won the primary if it weren’t for SCOTUS, but I’m positive that he would have crushed Trump in the general. He’s far more trusted, and has nowhere near the misogynist, business failure, scummy grifter…. I could go on and on….. baggage that Trump has.
So that’s what I believe happened on Tuesday.