Saturday, May 28, 2016

Those chads didn't hang themSELVES, you know!

Hi, Campers!

Steve 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 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 The Rectification of Names.


Tom Hilton said...

in the first place because the Nader effect occurred in only one state

Two states, actually--Nader's total was considerably larger than Bush's margin in New Hampshire as well.

Otherwise, I'm inclined to agree with your broader points.

Philo Vaihinger said...
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Philo Vaihinger said...


More of the disappointed Sandersistas will vote for Trump than Stein - though some will indeed go Green.

Making it a double whammy for Hillary and a double win for The Donald.

Look at the polling.

Unknown said...

If Sanders wholeheartedly endorses Clinton that could bring a lot of his voters along.

Ten Bears said...

Do you have evidence, philo, to substantiate your claim, or did you just pull it out of your Republican Lite ass?

Speaking as one of those, good analysis Yas, I agree with but one exception: Sanders are far the more likely to vote, than not. Thank you for being so level-headed about it.

Victor said...

The results of polling in mid-to-late May, is like trying to figure out if you're going to get laid when you and your date peruse the menu on the internet, at the high-class restaurant you might want to go to!


sdhays said...

As much as I would disagree with the choice, voting for Jill Stein is not a "fancy way of not voting". Only not voting is not voting. If you show up and can't bring yourself to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican, if you vote for Jill Stein you're at least sending the message that you're an actual voter and neither party could convince you to vote for their nominee. That can be frustrating for Democrats or Republicans, but it is the most fundamental way in our democracy to send a message to our governing elites: with your votes.

When you simply don't vote, you're nothing. Everything you believe is absolutely meaningless, and you are actively a part of the problem. You don't care enough to register an opinion, even if that opinion is "none of the above". Spoiling your ballot is better than not voting - at least the politicians can see that actual voters actively chose "NOT THEM".

You can argue that voting for Jill Stein in any swingish state in November is stupid and reckless, and I would agree with you, but anyone who actually votes for her instead of just staying home at least gives enough of a damn to show up.

Yastreblyansky said...

@Ten Bears: Glad to see you in such a mellow mood! Thank you back.

@sdhays: Sorry, you're quite right, that was a glib phrase that sounded cute and didn't have a lot of meaning.

Unknown said...

Steve published my comment the other day but I will amplify here. Absolutely no one knows who Jill Stein is and will not vote for her. Nader had great reputation going back to "Unsafe At Any Speed" and very high name recognition. If Jill Stein is REALLY lucky .02%.

Swellsman said...

Every single goddam time someone mentions the 2000 election, I feel compelled to tell my terrible little story. I had only just begun to pay attention to politics, I thought Bush seemed like a not-too-bright guy, and in the arrogance of my youth I thought, "My vote wouldn't make a difference anyway."

So I didn't vote. In Florida. In 2000.

Never, never, never have I ever sat out an election since. Nor never will I again.

And, yeah . . . technically, my one vote wouldn't have outweighed the 500 or so that supposedly decided it for W. But at least I would have made the effort, at least I would have tried.

It was the very beginning of my political awareness and I screwed the pooch. Haven't so much as missed a vote for city council since.

The New York Crank said...

Gentlemen Gentlemen! (and come to think of it, where are the ladies?),

Methinks most of you are reading pigeon entrails here. That technique worked sufficiently well for various ancient Oracles, but that was before computers and polling.

Personally, I don't have a clue as to what the hell is going to happen in the forthcoming election. What I do know is, this election has proved that you can pull — here come the pigeons again! — live pigeons out of your hat all day, every day. First Bush couldn't lose the Republican nomination. Then he lost it. Then Trump couldn't possibly get it. Then he got it. Then Sanders couldn't possibly pull more than a few percent of the Democratic votes.Now he's scaring the living Shinola out of various Democrats who occupy a spectrum that ranges from Steve to (I'm betting) Hillary.

And no, I'm not saying Bernie is going to win anything. The next president might be Hillary. Or it vaguely, possibly, due to unforeseen circumstances might be Bernie. It it could be (Oh my God!) Trump. Or for all I know it could turn out to be Michael Bloomberg's right foot. The only sure thing is that it's going to continue to be one hell of a show.

I don't know about you, but the future I envision suggests that we ought to invest in popcorn futures. Now somebody take that pigeon carcass and roast it.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Sweet Sue said...

Well, I don't know if ladies always feel welcome here.

Yastreblyansky said...

@Sue, as post author I think I can speak for Steve in expressing the hope that women and ladies will feel wholly welcome and respected at the site and that anybody who doesn't would feel safe offering ideas on how to make it better.

Yastreblyansky said...
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Ten Bears said...

There are a number of ladies who frequent, and contribute to, these hallowed halls. They just write well enough (unsurprisingly) that it takes a while to figure them out. 'Course, you have to be interested enough in the mechanics of the Murikan language to notice gender neutral writing, and quite frankly smart enough to recognize it for what it is.

The MS is for Mad Scientist.

Yastreblyansky said...

There's that too.

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

The problem with comparisons to Nader is that this time around a large fraction of Sanders supporters have *never* voted -- because they are 22 or younger. Among this group Sanders leads Clinton overwhelmingly -- male and female -- by 50% or more.
So you may choose "not to notice" if they stay home, but the question for the rest of us is does Hillary want their vote enough to win it. To do that she'll need to stop labeling them all "disaffected Bernie Bros" and speak to their issues.
We'll see.

Never Ben Better said...

Actually, Chai, I haven't seen Clinton herself do any labelling of Sanders supporters, and she has spoken supportively to a number of their issues -- but a vocal segment of the Bernie or Bust crowd reject everything she says as just more lies from Evil Hillary, stick their fingers in their ears and wait for the reviled superdelegates to throw aside her popular vote totals and pledged delegate lead, and install their champion as the nominee just because he's so gosh-darn wonderful.

Oh, and some of us commenters of the female persuasion happen to participate under noms de Internet that cloak, if not confound utterly, easy categorizing of gender.

BillWAF said...

Let's remember something. Bill Clinton was President when Jeb Bush and company stripped all those eligible Florida voters from the voting rolls. Clinton's Attorney General was even from Florida and his administration still missed it. Why doesn't he get any blame?

Yastreblyansky said...

@Never Ben I remember being amazed to learn that Digby was a woman, not because of her style but because of the Peter-Finch-in-Network gravatar she still uses. I'll remember henceforth that you're literally "never Ben".

@BillWAF I think I've got an answer on that, which is that nobody complained about the purge until it was too late: starting on Election Day Department of Justice began hearing from voters right away--
The Voting Section also reviewed complaints from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (“NAACP”) National Voter Fund, which we began to receive on Election Day. Most, however, did not involve claims of discrimination, but rather claims of irregularities in the voting and recount that are not covered by the federal voting rights laws. Where there appeared to be substantive information alleging possible violations of federal voting rights laws, follow-up calls were made. The Voting Section also sought information from the Florida Attorney General's Office about complaints it had received following the election, and followed up with that office several times in the subsequent three to four months. During these inquiries, we received information from that office that out of the nearly 2600 complaints it received, a small handful raised issues of racial discrimination.
--but not before. DOJ isn't allowed to interfere with state processes in things like election management without a substantiated request.