Every four years, one of America’s major political parties loses an election and goes through a mourning period. In 2008 (and at various times over the next eight years), some on the Right insisted President Barack Obama was not a legitimate president because they believed he was actually born in Kenya. In 2012, Republicans reacted in a more sensible way by conducting an autopsy of the election.
Now in 2016, Democrats are mourning in their own way. First, there was disbelief. Then came the claims of vote-rigging and calls for a recount. Peppered throughout all of this were assertions that Hillary Clinton actually won the election because she won the popular vote. This absurd notion required the suspension of common sense, including the fact that neither Clinton nor Donald Trump campaigned for the national popular vote and also that Clinton’s lead in the popular vote came entirely from populous liberal states like California and New York‚ hardly representative of the country at-large.
Many on the Left, including Clinton, have gotten behind Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s efforts to raise money for recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; three traditionally blue states that voted for Trump by slim margins in 2016. It was always clear the recount wouldn’t turn over the election results and bestow the presidency upon Clinton, but the Left suddenly found their savior in Stein… Until last week, when some began bemoaning the fact that Stein got more votes in some swing states than Trump’s victory margin.
The Hill reporter Brooke Seipel wrote that in Michigan and Wisconsin, Trump defeated Clinton by fewer votes than Stein received. In Michigan, Stein got 51,463 votes, while Trump only beat Clinton by 10,704 votes. In Wisconsin, where vote totals have not been certified, Stein received 31,006 votes while Trump defeated Clinton by 22,177 votes.
Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report was the first to note the vote margins, and included Pennsylvania in his list, showing Stein received 49,678 votes in the Keystone State while Trump beat Clinton by 46,765 votes. Since his original tweets, more votes have been counted in the state, and Trump’s victory margin over Clinton was actually more than the number of votes Stein received.
Some critics are now blaming Stein for Clinton’s loss. This isn’t anything new. Many Republicans have also blamed Libertarian candidates for past losses.
While it is common for any losing party to grasp onto anything out of their control that can explain the loss, these fits are unproductive. The Left is looking for any explanation that doesn’t involve an honest internal look at what made people vote for Trump—or Stein—over Clinton.
Instead of understanding what Stein or Trump brought to the table that Clinton didn’t, the Left has decided that votes were stolen (probably by Russia) or that some 46 percent of the country are racist misogynists (including the minorities and women who voted for Trump).
To be fair, some on the Left get it. Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart has pointed out that Trump didn’t win because of racism. Bill Maher does as well. Former Obama advisor David Axelrod, surprisingly, seems to understand what led to Clinton’s loss, too.
“The fact is, when Donald Trump said to these folks, ‘the game is rigged against you,’ I think a lot of folks feel that way because the economy has changed in ways conspire against a lot of people in this country and we haven’t given them a good answer,” Axelrod said on an episode of Maher’s “Real Time” program after the election.
The media and too many on the Left want to believe Russia stole the election or that nearly half of America is racist (despite many counties that voted twice for Obama switching to Trump in 2016) and racist. This will continue to ensure the Democratic Party loses elections for years to come.
And blaming Stein for Clinton’s loss? First, that keeps the party from looking into why so many chose Stein over Clinton (some might have chosen Stein for her policies, some might have voted for her because they didn’t like Clinton).
Second, what do Democrats want? No third-party candidates (at least none who could be an alternate to their candidate)? That’s not the American way. Sure, our system, as it stands now, is essentially a choice between two parties, but it is set up so that other viewpoints can be heard.
It is not unfair that Stein received more votes in some states than Trump’s margin of victory. Those who voted for Stein made their voices heard and sent a clear message, which is something they were able to do because of the American system. The system worked exactly as it was designed too, but too many on the left are currently refusing to see that.
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.