Blame me. I voted for Gary Johnson.
That was not enough to cause my state of Nevada to go for Donald Trump in the presidential election. But it must be stated: In Florida, Hillary Clinton lost the state by a margin of 1.4 percent- when Libertarian Gary Johnson got 2.2 percent of the vote. Trump won Michigan by about 0.3 percent- and Johnson won 3.6 percent. Pennsylvania, crucial to Clinton and what’s left of the Democrats’ working-class base, went for Trump by 1.1 percent of the vote. Gary Johnson got 2.4 percent of the vote there.
In other words, you have the “Blame Nader” 2000 election scenario again, although this time based on facts. And a margin not nearly as close.
What’s amazing is that believe it or not, it’s not like the Libertarian Party wasn’t trying to HELP. Not only did Gary Johnson give non-answers to direct questions from the press, his running mate Bill Weld went on Rachel Maddow’s show to “vouch” for the character and record of Hillary Clinton, something the press gave a lot more attention to than Weld’s more frequent speeches vouching for his own candidate. Of course that in itself may have been telling.
Trump’s wins were not entirely due to racism (though that’s not the same as saying that they didn’t have A LOT to do with racism). What pisses me off about this election is not only that liberals were right about the third-party factor but that Michael Moore was right about anything.
A lot of people out there are downright PISSED at me and people like me. And you have a right to be pissed. I cannot speak for other Libertarians. But I have to answer the question: Why did I not vote for Hillary Clinton?
Policy issues weren’t that important. In theory, I ought to sympathize with Republicans more than Democrats. But since I’ve seen Republican government in practice, I have no respect for their theory. I care more about getting things done. I am not a “progressive.” But I would have voted for Bernie Sanders over Trump. Hell, I would have voted for President Obama if he were eligible, rather than Trump. Because Sanders and Obama, like Clinton, know things, and Trump doesn’t. But Sanders and Obama can also make people believe in them. And Trump, whatever you think of him, can do that too. Hillary Clinton cannot.
Why did I not vote for Hillary Clinton? Because I had to wonder why I should be confident about her if liberals weren’t. Because their arguments for her were scared and defensive. Because the only partisan defense on her mendacity was that every politician has to present a public position versus a private position, that they all have to glide on the truth- avoiding the repeated messages, even from the Left, that that is exactly what Americans are sick and tired of in politics. Because even throwing ethics out, she was a horrible campaigner and could not present herself as an effective politician on the level of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. Because she could not do the easiest thing in the world: Convince people that she (or anyone) would be a better president than Donald Trump. Because this election was simply the absurd resolution of the dynamic of “you HAVE to vote for the candidate you don’t like to stop the candidate you like less.” Because if that’s all liberals had, and they were asking me, as a non-supporter, to give Clinton more enthusiasm than they were willing to muster themselves, then this thing was already lost.
For those carping that Libertarians’ desire for “purity” cost their candidate the election, I point out again that Clinton won my home state despite my not voting for her. Would I have felt more “pure” if I’d discarded my preference, done the pragmatic thing, voted for Clinton, and lost the election anyway?
I knew damn well that my position meant taking a risk. Was I wrong to take the position I did? Was my observation of events incorrect?
People are frantically asking themselves, “Why is it so hard to convince people that Hillary Clinton would be a better president than a pathological liar and sex maniac??” And I thought, “Well, they thought her husband was okay.”
A while back, I said:
“The ultimate lesson here, if you’re a Democratic partisan, is that the Republicans are living in a glass house built next to a rock quarry. But Democrats need to keep in mind that all those Millennial voters (who for some reason they can’t understand, don’t trust Hillary Clinton) were not paying attention to this scandal factory right from the beginning. And if Bill Clinton is not as relevant to this election as Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton is a good deal more relevant than Ken Starr, Dennis Hastert or any other of the conservative meanies from the Whitewater period who either got in their own sex scandals or had to retire from public life while Clinton continued to become more important.
So if Democrats don’t understand that after all this time, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is undermined by the same defensive tactics that she used to defend her husband long ago, then they can’t understand why voters loathe both her in particular and this political system in general.”
Was I wrong?
I said on more than one occasion:
“In any case, objections to the Clintons from the Right are of decades’ vintage, and there has been plenty of time to go over them, and most people who aren’t conservative dittoheads have dismissed them. But these days the most strenuous objections to Hillary Clinton are from the Left. The last time she ran in 2008, most Democrats had no objection to Mr. And Mrs. Clinton; they thought Bill was a great President and Hillary was a great Senator. They just thought Senator Obama had more to offer as a presidential candidate. But this year people are not objecting to Benghazi, or Vince Foster. The attacks on Hillary Clinton are coming from leftists offering critique of the last eight years of economic policy in comparison to the Clinton’s Administration’s push of NAFTA and its results on the American and international economies. In short, they’re a good deal more relevant to the average person than what the National Enquirer or Sean Hannity thinks of Hillary Clinton or her husband. And again, Clinton’s sense of optics is flawed: She is no more willing to reveal what she said in her speeches to Goldman Sachs than Trump is willing to reveal his full tax returns.
… Hillary’s best selling points are that she is a more experienced candidate who represents the sensible establishment position. But the reason Trump ate the Republican Party and Sanders almost snuck up on Hillary is because after eight years of Obama, (however much better he is in comparison to McCain and Romney) there’s no more hope and people have no more change in their pockets. Obama won because people were sick of the old way of doing things, and now they’re that much sicker. Trump is running as the opposite of the establishment mentality and Clinton is running as the representative of it. And it’s going to be that much more of a problem because of who she is. Obama at least has some ability to think outside the box. Whereas Hillary Clinton not only doesn’t think outside the box, she practically is the box. ”
“Part of the issue is that when “first past the post” means that only two parties have a realistic chance of support, the issue of “can this candidate win?” takes almost exclusive precedence over what should be at least as important a question: “should this candidate win?” One of the problems with that mentality, as Hillary Clinton is discovering, is that not wanting Candidate B to win is not the same thing as wanting Candidate A to win. ”
Was I wrong?
When people asked, with good reason, why anyone on the Left would not vote for Clinton, I said:
“It’s pretty clear that just from the standpoint of not making things worse, a center-to-Left voter ought not to choose Trump, or even to abstain from voting Clinton if she is the most realistic way of stopping Trump. But on economic issues at least, a lot of voters are seeing “progress” only in drips and drops, often despite and not because of the Democratic Party. This is why a lot of them supported Bernie Sanders in the first place. And the way (the nomination) ended up is part of why they still don’t trust Clinton.”
Was I wrong?
And just on Election Eve I said:
“I say the same thing now I (said about the 2000 election): It isn’t the fault of third-party voters if your candidate sucks and nobody likes them. It ought to be that much more damn obvious when the stakes are that much more dire. If it’s a simple choice of Hillary Clinton versus Orange Julius Caesar, and you STILL have people hedging their bets, what the fuck does that TELL you??
It tells me that Democrats have pinned their hopes and this country’s future on Hillary Clinton, who symbolizes everything that Americans are sick of and do not want in American politics, a career politician who has all the appeal of soggy shredded wheat and would be that much less likely to end the war in Syria.”
Was I wrong?