Taegan Goddard, author of Political Wire and one of the best, most even-handed aggregators around, just sent out this disturbing alert: Disappointed voters for Bernie Sanders who refused to hold their noses and vote for Hillary Clinton and voted instead for Donald Trump made the difference in the 2017 election.
According to a 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, supported by the
National Science Foundation, those disaffected Sanders people changed the outcomes in the three states which gave Clinton her surprising defeat, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The numbers, as accurately reported by Taegan Goddard are as follows:
- In Wisconsin, roughly 51K Sanders voters backed Trump in a state he won by just 22K votes.
- In Michigan, roughly 47K Sanders voters backed Trump in a state he won by just 10K votes.
- In Pennsylvania, roughly 116K Sanders voters backed Trump in a state he won by just 44Kvotes.
The Cooperative Congressional Election Study has studied voting behavior since 2006 and is the work of 60 university-based research teams doing the most sophisticated survey analysis. The take-away from the facts and graphs, for me, is that, but for the pique of the 12 percent of Sanders voters who actually ended up voting for Donald Trump, we wouldn’t be going through our current national nightmare.
Trump and Sanders both represented an anti-establishment protest. And Hillary Clinton’s much vaunted “experience” did speak to her being the ultimate establishment figure. Both groups opposed the Trans Pacific Partnership, which Clinton, not entirely believably, came around to doing as well. But the similarities end there.
In some ways, it’s reminiscent of the impact of dispirited Robert Kennedy mourners or Gene McCarthy supporters in 1968 who either stayed home or voted for their grandmothers instead of party nominee Hubert Humphrey. The resulting .7 percent margin of victory for Richard Nixon would lead to Watergate, financial scandals, abuse of power, and ultimately the resignation of the President.
The bottom line is: our votes count. They are not token expressions or tools to send a message. They may dictate choosing between the lesser of evils, but the choice must be made. So, I ask the Sanders-turned-Trump voters out there: are you happy now?