Did “Never Trumpers” have an effect on the election?

As the election counting, and soon to be recounting, rages on, there are plenty of people that tell me they just “couldn’t vote for Trump,” even though in theory they are conservatives. Personally, I vote based on what a candidate says they support, or has demonstrated they support, for policies that I care about, ranging from foreign policy and gun control to right to life and taxes, and then on a scale of how much I care about each. For example, I care more about foreign policy and abortion than taxes because I’m directly affected by foreign policy and I’ve seen first hand how pervasive abortion theory is in hospitals, but I’m not making enough money to care if the tax rate jumps significantly.

I also know that while I’m a policy voter, many people have an emotional connection to voting, and they have to “like” the candidate they are voting for. We can discuss whether that makes sense in another article, but we should recognize that candidate likeability does matter to many people. It’s likely what got Bill Clinton elected. But is likeability enough that it mattered to Trump’s election?

Although the data isn’t complete yet, I pulled Reuters election data and used Wikipedia for 2016 election data to try and answer the question: Did people not vote for Trump that would have voted for another Republican Presidential candidate that was more likeable? I sampled data by looking at states that had Senate races. My theory was that if someone was a “Never Trumper,” they would likely still vote for the Senate Republican in their state. I also looked at Libertarian votes to see if they made a difference. The states I ended up picking were Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico, Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota and Colorado, in what I think is a pretty decent spread.

First, was their a surge in Libertarian votes? Not at all.

Just looking at raw numbers, Libertarian votes went down, in many cases drastically. 2016 was a banner year for Libertarian and Green Party vote, but this year they just did not have the turnout, despite running Jo Jorgenson, a very likeable candidate.

Second, was there a noticeable Never Trump vote? I calculated the difference between Presidential votes and Senate votes between parties and then compared them. The numbers aren’t 100% aligned. I calculated a scaling factor to multiply the Senate votes by to balance numbers. Then I took the difference from Senate Republicans vs Trump votes to see if there were “Never Trumper” votes. If there were, I then calculated if the difference mattered.

The results are interesting. In Arizona and Alabama, the number was negative, meaning Trump had more votes than the Senate Republican. In the 6 states where there was Never Trump votes, only one, Georgia, would have mattered.

While not 100% scientific, we can reach a few conclusions:

  1. The Never Trump vote is real, but not everywhere.
  2. Where there is a Never Trump vote, it mostly doesn’t always matter, even in swing states.
  3. Libertarian vote didn’t appreciably go up this year.

For Republicans, this is good and bad news. It means that the Never Trump faction isn’t nearly as big as the media might make it out to be. Better still, when people had a choice between a more likeable candidate (Jo Jorgensen), they actively chose not to vote for her, far more than the 2016 election would have indicated.

The bad news is that Biden wins in key states can’t be attributed to candidate hatred. Democrats ran a relatively weak, bland candidate, and he is either coming out on top or close to it. That means that overall people are looking favorably on Democrat candidates. Whether its the biased news media, demographics, vote rigging or policies, Republicans are not in a good spot, because short of major changes, they don’t have a chance at capturing the Presidency in the future.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

The Simple Test for Democrats / Media on Election 2020

There is a lot of Rhetoric going on concerning the late election, particularly on social media but no matter how much talk you spit out everything really comes down to one statement that should be asked of everybody:

After every legal and legitimate ballot is counted and every illegal an illegitimate ballot is eliminated the candidate, no matter if it is Trump or Biden, who has won enough states to acquire 270 or more electoral college votes should be sworn in as President of the United States on Jan 20th 2021?

Any person who can’t or won’t answer: “Yes” to this question should be ignored.

A dim glow in the dark

Despite a presidential contest with results ever grimmer, Election Day 2020 in most others ways gives conservatives hope. The Senate looks to be held, though Georgia’s January double runoff apparently will decide the matter. Lindsey Graham’s $100 million defeat of Jaime Harrison in South Carolina will look cheap by February.

Republicans gained seats in the House, too, when they were supposedly facing a “blue wave,” though it’s still Pelosi’s House. If the Democrats do tie the Republicans in the Senate 50-50, look for West Virginia’s Joe Manchin (D) to suddenly be the most popular man in the Capitol’s north wing. I’ll take McConnell over Schumer to win most of those battles.

But California, of all places, might be one of the happier surprise for Republicans. While Democrats still dominate California’s House delegation, two of conservative stalwart Orange County’s seats that voted Democrat in 2018 have Republicans now in the lead, though by paper-thin margins. And Mike Garcia in northern L.A. County leads Christy Smith – again, margins to make Gordon Gekko sweat – in the district he won after Democrat Katie Hill resigned after your choice of scandals.

But best of all, California voters defeated several progressive wishlist propositions, proving that in California, there beats a heart where conservative ideas still flow. Prop 15, raising commercial property taxes and undermining 1978’s tax-revolt Prop 13, is currently going down to defeat, 52%-48%. Prop 16, which would allow again for race-based affirmative action in hiring, education, and other arenas, got thrashed, 56%-43%. Prop 18, which would have allowed 17-year-olds to vote in the primaries of elections by which they will have turned 18, also crashed and burned, 55%-45%. An expansion of rent control lost big, 60%-40%. And, with Prop 22 passing, workers can now work as independent contractors again – escaping from the bonds of the disastrous AB5 – so long as you work for Uber or Lyft, or similar gig-type drivers. People love their food deliveries, thank God.

All of this proves California still offers fertile ground for Republicans. They just need the right messengers.

New Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, in the 38th District, might be worth keeping an eye on. The daughter of a mechanic, who can change her own carburetor, a one-time staffer to Republican Congressman Buck McKeon, mother of a three-year-old daughter and executive director of a nonprofit, Valladares speaks with ease about both her family’s struggles as well as her family’s tamales, and has a telegenic appeal that guarantees camera time. The Assembly for her seems like but a start.

Nevertheless, California is still California – L.A. voted in a Soros-funded District Attorney, as a little amuse-bouche for you – but for once in a seeming eternity, a candle glows in the darkness.