Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election 2012 - Did Third Party Candidates Give the Election to Obama?

Over ten years ago, I woke up from anesthesia after having what was supposed to be a minor surgical procedure. I woke up to Cancer.

For the first few months after the shock, there was a deep, impending sense of uncertainty that hung about the air. Difficult to describe. But in contrast to those times where the future looks fairly bright, and one feels optimistic, this was basically the opposite sort of feeling. Partly due to the stigma of the word "Cancer", and partly due to the major lifestyle changes and acclimation to lower energy levels, I was in a unfit state of mind. Everyone who has had Cancer in any form can immediately relate to this.

This morning, November 7, 2012, I awoke to a similar feeling. President Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term. I have to remind myself that God is ultimately in control of our authority figures, not man, and certainly not the votes of men (Romans 13:1-7).

In listening to commentary all day, I have heard every excuse under the sun as why Romney lost. Lack of media attention. Too many voters on government assistance. Voters didn't know what they were voting for (This is actually believable, since I saw an Obama supporter complain when her state of Tennessee went to Romney, and then ask what that meant. Litmus test for voting privileges anyone?)

But there is one theory that I want to try to debunk right away. There has been a lot of lashing out at those who voted third party. Some have even used the word "treasonous". I think that, in the minds of many Republicans, third parties robbed them of this election.

I would like to start by saying I have no intention of divulging whom I voted for. I may have voted third party, I may have not. I may have written in, I may have not. Do not glean anything from this that suggests I voted one way or another.

My Republican friends tried and tried to convince me that this election wasn't about principles, but about the numbers game. About garnishing votes for a candidate we didn't like.

So, since the Republicans want to play games with numbers, and apparently have the time to do so, since they've been doing it for the past six months, here's a little numbers game for them.

In determining whether third party votes swung the election, one must ask if just looking at the popular vote numbers will determine this. The answer is no. Take a blue state (a state that Obama won the Electoral college votes in) and look at a blue county within that state. One must look at the third party votes within that county and determine if it would have swung the county to a red county if the quantity of third party votes had been given to Romney instead. And then, you must go through this exercise with every blue county within that state to determine if enough counties would have turned red to render the state a red state.

And then, you must repeat the whole process for every blue state.

And if this tedious exercise wasn't enough, even this data will only be accurate if one is able to safely assume that third party voters would have voted Republican otherwise. Is that the case? The answer is no. Admittedly, one of Romney's major problems was that he was a R. I. N. O. candidate (Republican In Name Only), with a rather liberal record in politics, which lost him a good many potential voters to more conservative third-party alternatives, like the Libertarian Party or the Constitution Party. But there were plenty of disgruntled Democrats out there too, who do not feel Obama to be little more than a moderate liberal who could have done more in his first four years. Undoubtedly, many of these Democrats also swung their vote to third parties like the Green Party or Justice Party, or to a lesser degree, The Libertarian Party.

So you cannot just take a county's lump sum of third party voters and add it to Romney's vote count to see if he'd taken the county from blue to red. You have to segregate those who would have voted Republican from those who would have voted Democrat, before you can give the vote count to Romney.

And furthermore, the odds of it changing the outcome in states where Obama won by a large margin are minuscule. The change would only take place in states with close elections, which are generally more rural, low electoral count states, anyway.

So, if it were possible, and practical, to crunch the numbers, county by county in the blue states, to determine if enough would-be Republican voters voted third party, weeding out the potential Democratic supporters who also voted third party, to turn enough blue counties, in blue states, into red counties, changing the state to red as a whole, would it have made a difference in the electoral vote count?

I don't see how it could.

But rest assured, when you see someone throwing a hissy fit and slinging popular vote counts at you, blaming Romney's loss on the third party voters, you may not convince them of their error, but you know the truth. And if you are a third party voter, I imagine that, as a principle, you are a student of political philosophy beyond the likes of Mark Levin or Alan Colmes, and certainly, you hold the Truth in higher esteem to overzealous political junkies prone to react viscerally to those who would withstand their politics on principle.

At any rate, if someone wants to undertake this project, maybe just in one state for an experiment, I would be interested in the results. I have no idea how one determines if a third party vote would have went to the Democratic or Republican candidate, had the voter voted mainstream. But I am sure you political geniuses out there can conjure up some algorithmic or mean average to determine it. Just because the answer eludes me doesn't mean it need elude you. My meager 80 IQ has its limitations. After all, if my Republican friends are correct, I am a unintelligent, unpatriotic, treasonous, idealist who thinks 9-11 was American's fault (how the militaristic idea of "blowback" equates to this, only God and Rudy Guilliani knows, but I digress), and wants us to build a mile high wall around our nation's borders.

All I really want is for America to retain its sovereignty, which doesn't look too promising at the moment.

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