This was first posted on our Facebook page on November 10th, two days after the election.
Putting the blame solely at the feet of third party candidates would be inaccurate.
Neither Johnson nor Stein were particularly good candidates. Johnson argued ideologically that the free market can somehow fix climate change, and seemed to argue that the Sun’s inevitable expansion meant dealing with the issue pointless. While not as overtly bad, Stein’s campaign misused basic terminology like ‘free trade’, and failed to work out a fixed policy on Brexit.
Although votes are still being counted, it appears that Trump will pick up fewer votes than Romney in 22 states; Clinton will pick up fewer votes than Obama 2012 in 46 states. Obama 2012 in turn picked up more than 3.5 million votes fewer than Obama 2008 – perhaps voters were disillusioned with a candidate and party whose message relied on ‘hope’ and ‘change’?
For all the criticism that should be made of Trump, there was a positive (if vague) message mixed in among the negativity – he claims that he will ‘make America great again’. Other than the opportunity to elect the first female president (which doesn’t seem to have been a high factor for most voters), what was Clinton’s equivalent? It’s easy to be critical of Trump’s substance, but his message was a somewhat positive one. Positive messages enthuse people. That’s probably how Obama 2008 and Trump were able to motivate relatively high turnouts, whereas Clinton (and Obama 2012) could not.