Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Independent Analysis

My man did not win. But the republic will survive.

We’re going to hear a lot of horror stories now that Donald Trump is president-elect. They started right after the results came in last night, including a stock market freakout that was going to be worse than, well, ANYTHING.

That has not happened. Nor have the death camps, deportations, etc. All the silly hyperbolic things that the Left fears would happen. But won’t. Probably.

Kinda sounds like all the silly hyperbolic things the Right said would happen with Barack Obama at the helm. But didn’t. Unless I missed something.

So, Idaho breakdown:

My man, Evan McMullin, got 46,538 votes, or 6.8 % of those cast. Altogether, independent candidates got 90,359 votes in Idaho, or about 13.2 % of the vote.

Now the Impossible Math®: If – and this is such a big if it can be seen from space – every single independent voter had voted for, say, Hillary Clinton, it would not have made a difference in Idaho, electorally or on the popular vote.

Hillary Clinton won 189,677 votes, or 27.6 % of those cast, compared to Donald Trump’s 407,219 votes, or 59.2 %. Even adding all of the independent votes to her tally only brings her to 40.8 % of the vote, nearly 20 points behind Trump.

Independent candidacies – and independent voters – did not hurt Trump in Idaho. They would not have helped Clinton. You have to go to a swing state for that kind of shenanigans to actually be shenanigans. (And it’s quite possible independent voters DID hurt Clinton in places like Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. More on that later.)

As for down-ballot races, only one is inspiring. Rep. Mike Simpson retained his House seat (no real surprise, as the contest here is always in the Republican primaries, not the general election) . I like Mr. Simpson. He’s a compromiser. Often, he’s called a RINO. So be it. He gets things done, and not always in the way that his conservative supporters might like.

As far as my home county of Bonneville goes, my man did a little better. McMullin got 6,022 votes, or about 13.6 % of those cast. Again, the Impossible Math ® shows independents would not have swung the election Clinton’s way had they all voted for her. Independents got 8,583 votes, or 19.4 % of the votes cast, not enough to hurt Trump or make a difference for Clinton, who earned only 8,930 votes, or 20.2 % of the votes cast. Combining her votes with all independents would have given her 39.8 % of the vote, compared to Trump’s 60.4 %. (And remember when my numbers don’t add up to 100 %, there are rounding errors here.)

All my numbers, BTW, are coming from the Idaho Secretary of State.

There are, as to be expected, lots of reactions. From the left, this might be the most comical, or the most sad (though not the most unexpected).

The mainstream media narrative since Trump won the nomination was that the Republican Party was fractured to the point it would not unite behind its candidate. They seem to have forgotten a corollary most residents of deeply Republican states are familiar with: Republicans are far better at holding their noses and voting for the party line than are the Democrats. Always have been. This is the defining characteristic that makes me a non-Republican, or a RINO at best. I won’t hold my nose. Which is why, historically, I’ve voted more for independent or Democratic candidates than anyone else. Here’s the breakdown, since I was old enough to vote:

1992: Perot
1996: Clinton
2000: Bush
2004: Nader
2008: Obama
2012: Romney
2016: McMullin

So, how about independent voters in swing states?

Yes, the Impossible Math ® shows if – and remember the size of that if – all independent voters had voted for Clinton in, say, Florida, she would have won the state. Here’s the math:

Flipping those votes would mean a Clinton victory in Florida, with 50.6 % of the vote, compared to Trump’s 49.1 %.

Ohio: Not enough of a difference.
Pennsylvania: Enough of a difference.
North Carolina: Not enough of a difference.
Wisconsin: Enough of a difference.
Michigan: Enough of a difference.

Two states – Minnesota (!) and  New Hampshire are apparently still too close to call, though if history bears out, they’ll end up in the Democratic column. Independent votes in both states could send the electoral college either way.

The math shows if Clinton had won Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, she’d have 264 electoral votes to Trump’s 243. The 14 Electoral votes left hanging by Minnesota and New Hampshire could have pushed Clinton over the top with 278 Electoral votes or put Trump at 257 votes to Clinton’s 264.

Throw Florida into the mix and Clinton wins easily, with 29 Electoral votes, catapulting Clinton to 293 votes to Trump’s 214.

(All of these numbers are from CNN, which has called Arizona and its 10 electoral votes for Trump.)
So the rule is: Independent voters can swing an election. Depending on where they live. And it’s not necessarily in swing states – Minnesota and New Hampshire typically don’t fall into that category.

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