Thomas Lucente: Dispelling Trump electoral math

By Thomas Lucente - [email protected]

For those of you who keep arguing that somehow not voting for Donald Trump, i.e., voting for Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, or not voting at all, is a vote for Hillary Clinton: Shut up.

I mean that in the nicest way possible. I say that because I care. I don’t think you realize how you sound. Such math does not even pass Common Core muster.

A vote for Johnson is, obviously, a vote for Johnson. In the more metaphysical sense, you could probably argue that a vote for Johnson is a vote for sanity, a vote for liberty, a vote to restore the Founders’ America. You might even say it is a vote for a return to constitutional government.

But in no intelligent and meaningful way can you make the dubious claim that a vote for Johnson (or Stein or any other candidate) is a vote for Clinton. Well, maybe in Chicago. But I am pretty sure those making the argument are not talking about voter fraud.

But they don’t stop there. After you tell them to either shut up or explain to them the error of their ways, depending on your mood, they will invariably invoke the Ross Perot myth. This is the demonstrably false premise that Ross Perot cost President George H.W. Bush the 1992 election. Somehow, in their addled minds, a vote for Perot was a vote for the eventual winner, President Bill Clinton.

Of course, every poll at the time showed this was not the case. Perot’s actual impact on the race was nominal. Exit polling of Perot voters showed their second choices were split evenly, 38 percent for Bush and 38 percent for Bill Clinton. To add the gravy to this factual meat, take a look at the polls throughout the campaign.

After the conventions, by which time Perot had mysteriously left the race, Bill Clinton was leading Bush handily. After Perot re-entered the race, Bush’s poll numbers remained about the same while Bill Clinton’s dropped, showing that Perot was largely hurting Bill Clinton. That is because Perot voters were largely people who hated Bush but had trouble stomaching Bill Clinton.

In the end, while Bill Clinton could not win a majority of the popular vote, he did beat Bush by almost 6 percent and he won 370 electoral votes, 100 more than he needed. That is probably a landslide in modern political history. Bush was a sitting president and could only win 18 states and 37.4 percent of the popular vote. That was not Perot’s fault.

The point here is that Ross Perot did not cost Bush the election. Indeed, the person who cost Bush the election was Bush. And an ill-timed recession. And a broken campaign promise.

This is similar to this year in that polls show Johnson is taking more from Hillary Clinton than he is from Trump.

This should have been a Republican landslide. It was the GOP’s election to lose, and what did the Stupid Party do? It found the one way to lose the presidential contest: Donald Trump. Of all the candidates who sought the GOP nomination, only Trump had no chance of beating Hillary Clinton. Even Ben Carson could have beat her. Or Lindsay Graham. Or Jim Gilmore. I suspect even Rick Santorum, the nuttiest of the candidates before Trump entered the race, would have handily beat Clinton.

What is really disappointing is the number of Republican politicians who are endorsing Trump, including U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan. These people should know better. They are putting party before country. They are letting their hatred of Hillary Clinton — a hatred that is well-deserved — cloud their judgment.

The funny thing is, many of these Republicans, especially the small-government conservatives, would find themselves more in line with Gary Johnson’s policies. He is a former Republican governor. He stands for small government, is fiscally conservative, and is opposed to taxation.

That is why I am voting for Gary Johnson. However, even if Johnson were not on the ballot, I would never cast my vote for Hillary Clinton or Trump. Ever. So my vote for Johnson is not a vote for Clinton because she would never get my vote anyway.

And when Trump loses, it won’t be because people voted for Johnson or did not vote at all. It will be because he was unable to convince those voters to vote for him. Period.

That, dear Trumpkins, is how elections work. Now if only someone would draw a picture so Trump can understand …

By Thomas Lucente

[email protected]

Thomas J. Lucente Jr. is an attorney with the Hearn Law Office in Wapakoneta (419-738-8171) and night editor of The Lima News. Reach him by telephone at 567-242-0398, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @ThomasLucente.

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