In the month and change since the election, much has been made of the white working class. These voters are deemed to be the reason Hillary Clinton lost the election. The detailed narrative has focused on counties that voted for Obama in 2012 but flipped to Donald Trump in 2016. Did Hillary Clinton lose because of the white working class? No. Hillary won the popular vote by nearly 2.3 million votes. She lost Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by about a combined 80,000 votes.
If Clinton could’ve closed this 80,000 vote gap, she would’ve won the election. In these three states, the number of Jill Stein voters was larger than Trump’s margin of victory. Young disaffected leftists – those who refused to vote for Clinton – ended up costing her the election. These young folks will vote in at least the next six elections. The white working class, however, is quickly disappearing demographic. Democrats need to spend the next four years bringing in these young leftists – not a dying white demographic. Democratic policy isn’t unpopular. Hillary won the popular vote by 2.3 million votes. Due to the electoral system, however, young leftists cost Hillary 80,000 votes, thereby losing her the election.
4,799,245 total votes were cast in Michigan in the 2016 Presidential election. Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by a razor thin margin – 10,704 votes. Jill Stein received 51,463 votes, thereby essentially playing spoiler to Clinton’s Michigan pursuits. Diving into the demographics of Stein voters, however, it becomes quite clear who lost Hillary Michigan – and who the Democrats need to target. Forty-two percent of the overall 2016 Michigan electorate are between ages 18-44. Two percent of this demographic voted for Stein – amassing to 20,156 votes for Jill Stein, thereby doubling Donald Trump’s margin of victory. Young leftists, it appears, cost Hillary Clinton the state of Michigan. As these young voters come of age and promise to vote more consistently, Democrats need to find a way to bring them into the fold.
Wisconsin exhibits nearly the identical margin. 2,975,313 people voted in Wisconsin, with Donald Trump winning the state by a mere 22,177 states. Jill Stein’s number of votes once again covered this margin, as she received 31,006 votes. Once again, when you delve deeper, it becomes clear who voted for the Green Party leftist. Those 18-39 make up 31 percent of Wisconsin’s 2016 electorate. Once again, nearly 2 percent of these young voters cast their ballots for Jill Stein. This is a significantly higher level than their older counterparts. Much like Michigan, the number of young Jill Stein voters (18,445) nearly makes up for Donald Trump’s margin of victory.
The final state I will look at is Pennsylvania. 6,118,839 folks cast a vote in Pennsylvania. This state is a bit different, as exit polling failed to differentiate between third party candidate, simply asking ‘other.’ The point remains the same, however. Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by 46,765 votes. 195,524 of all Pennsylvanians cast their ballot for a third party candidate. Once again, however, it was younger voters who are responsible for both Jill Stein and Gary Johnson’s performances. Those 18-39 made up 32 percent of the state’s total electorate, thereby casting about 1,958,028 votes. Nearly six percent of these voters cast their ballot for a third party candidate. That’s 117,479 third party votes from those under 39. That’s more than double Trump’s margin of victory. Even Jill Stein and Gary Johnson’s individual voter totals cover Trump’s margin of victory.
Although state exit polls fail to examine the intersectionality between age and race, it’s demonstrably clear, based upon national exit polls, who voted for third party candidates. As I once argued, a third party vote in this election was a reflection upon white privilege. Whites 18-44 — 28 percent of the electorate – voted for third party candidates with a higher propensity than any other demographic. As of right now, a total of 231,556,622 votes were cast in the 2016 Presidential election. Whites 18-44 cast 64,835,854 votes – 5,649,981 for third party candidates. That’s nearly nine percent. Let me restate that. Nearly nine percent of the young white people voted for third party candidates. If Democrats could’ve secured only one percent of this original total, especially in swing states, Hillary Clinton likely would’ve won the election.
It appears that young minority voters, even if they didn’t personally like Clinton, put aside their own individual feelings in fear of Donald Trump. White voters – in their privilege of not directly being affected by the normalization if bigotry – didn’t vote in the same fearful manner. The white working class didn’t lose Hillary Clinton the election, therefore, white third party voters did, especially those who lean left and voted for Jill Stein. The Democratic party, in order to win in 2020, must reach out to these young white liberals rather than their blue collar, working class, older counterparts. As you get older, you will vote at a higher rate. With nine percent of young white people voting for third party candidates, Democrats need to welcome them to the fold, as they will vote at a higher margin in the future.