A friend of mine posted on Facebook after the election: "I just don't understand how the strategy of nominating the least liked Democrat in history could have failed." To which I replied: "You're exaggerating. I think Charles Manson was a Democrat."
I've heard and read a lot of bullshit about how Johnson and Stein cost Clinton the Presidency. I get that you're sad about the impending destruction of the United States and probably Western democracy, but no. Just no. Johnson did not take enough votes from Clinton to matter. Stein got so few votes as to be insignificant. Nor would their votes have all gone to Clinton, which this red herring of an argument seems to assume.
We all know that polls did not exactly give us a crystal-ball view of the future in this election, but pretty much the only data we have on how third party candidates’s supporters would have voted had their candidates not run comes from CBS's exit polling, which shows that for both Johnson and Stein, their vote shares had minimal effect:
The exit polling asked voters they would have cast ballots for if there were only two candidates (Clinton and Trump). A quarter of Johnson voters said Clinton, 15 percent said Trump, and 55 percent said they would not have voted. Numbers were similar for Stein voters, with about a quarter saying they would have chosen Clinton, 14 percent saying Trump, and 61 percent saying they would not have voted.
To interpret: if we believe this poll, Clinton would have gotten an additional 20,000 net votes in Florida (25% of Johnson’s votes less 15% going to Trump), 14,000 in Pennsylvania, 12,000 in North Carolina, and 10,000 in Wisconsin. In none of those states would those votes have changed the outcome.
(As an aside, I’m only surprised by how many of Johnson’s voters would have gone for Clinton. Had Johnson not been in the race, how many Libertarians would have voted for big-government Clinton, would you think? Go to their website and check it out. I’d have guessed—and still believe in my gut, despite that poll—that they’d have gone for Trump or stayed home. And Stein's people? Probably wouldn't have voted at all, preferring to express their disdain for the political duopoly with a night at home spent crocheting bong doilies.)
So...NO. It was not the third-party candidates. Hillary lost this all on her own. She was a HORRIBLE candidate. I am saddened to admit that I went along--yeah, even enthusiastically--with her candidacy because really, who else was there for a lefty like me? Jill Stein? If I wanted to waste my vote, I’d have written in Buffy Summers; she would slay at the polls.
Sure, we at one point had a guy I could have (and did) support enthusiastically and who might have even won (if head-to-head polls against Trump were to be believed), but Our Best Political Minds (like Debbie Wasserman Schulz) deemed him not electable. Unlike, you know, Hillary. (Is there a font or an emoji or something I can use for irony? Because that was kind of ironic and I’d like for you not to miss it.) A socialist could never become President. Unlike, you know, Hillary.
If you want to know who lost this election and this country and very likely Western civilization, it was the woman whose status-quo candidacy just didn't mesh with an electorate almost in revolt. She lost to a racist, misogynist reality-show star with a bad wig. She lost to a guy whom the KKK supported. If you defend her after this campaign, you're part of what's wrong with the country. You're why we will NEVER climb out of this yawning pit of shit-smeared punji sticks. You don't understand this election and you don't understand your time.
If you want to lose the next election (assuming Drumpfolini doesn’t name himself President For Life), cast your lot with another status-quo technocrat whom the Party elite have decided to give a turn, like Clinton or Tim Kaine. Pass right over Cory Booker or Elizabeth Warren or even Bernie again.
You don’t win elections with policy papers. You win elections by reaching into people’s lizard brains and twisting—yes, as Trump did. Right or wrong, people want a candidate who excites them. No one gets excited about voting for Granny who used to work at the DMV.
Take responsibility for your loss, Clintonites. Clinton lost to a badly toupeed douchebag racist sexual predator with a fourth-grade vocabulary. That loss? Her fault, not Gary Johnson's, not Jill Stein's, not anyone but Her Royal Clintonness's. Grow up, face facts and stop flailing about looking for a fall guy. The responsible party, in all her pants-suited glory, is right there for everyone to see.
Oh, and psssstttt...it wasn't Bernie's fault either.