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November 9, 2016
Marijuana, Merrick and millenials: why cautious insider Dems lost another outsider/change election
In my effort to make sense of the various Election 2016 realities, these early stories and data points caught my attention:
1. Popular vote realities in 2012 and 2016
Popular vote totals in 2012: Obama 65,915,795; Romeny 60,933,504; Johnson + Green 1,745,579 (total vote = 128.6 million)
Popular vote in 2016 (as of now): Trump 59,007,205; Clinton 59,132,664; Johnson + Green 5,195,998 (total vote = 123.3 million)
In other words, as of this writing, there were roughly 5 million fewer voters total in 2016 compared to 2012 and also roughly 3.5 million more of those who did vote in 2016 voted for one of the third party candidates.
2. Younger voters in 2016
As Nate Silver flagged here: "While the third-party vote wasn’t all that high tonight overall, an exception came among younger voters. According to the national exit poll, 9 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 went for third parties, as did 8 percent of voters ages 30 to 44." And until I see data to the contrary, I would guess that younger voters (especially younger minority voters) comprise a large portion of the roughly 5 million "missing" voters in 2016.
As the title of this post is meant to reveal, I already have my own (self-serving?) theories for why so many fewer folks showed up to vote in 2016 and for why so many younger progressive voters were much more eager to vote for third-party candidates. Put simply, the tendency this cycle for Democrats (a) to nominate cautious insiders — like HRC for Prez and Ted Strickland for Senate in Ohio — and (b) to make cautious insider moves on a number of major high-salience law and policy issues — like Prez Obama nominating Merrick Garland for SCOTUS and HRC not taking up the populist cause of marijuana reform — led to a whole lot of folks not being excited enough to show up to vote and led to a whole lot of those folks showing up not being excited enough by Democrats to vote for their candidates.
In some prior posts in this space, I have highlighted some reasons why I considered the Merrick Garland nomination to be a big political mistake for Democrats:
- New SCOTUS short-list name to excite sentencing fans: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
- After a month, Prez Obama makes ("consensus"?) pick of DC Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland for SCOTUS opening
- Does anyone want to speculate about SCOTUS politics if Prez Obama had nominated, say, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson?
And over at my Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform, here were my posts from last night detailing the remarkably large number of folks in a large number of states who rejected suggestions by all sorts of cautious insiders (of both parties) to slow down the rapidly-moving marijuana reform movement:
- Florida voters seem poised to legalize medical marijuana via state constitutional amendment
- North Dakota appears poised to pass medical marijuana initiative
- Early Arkansas and Montana results suggesting more winning medical marijuana reforms
- Massachusetts votes to legalize recreational marijuana and Maine might have too
- California and Nevada on path to legalize recreational marijuana, but Arizona not that into it
November 9, 2016 at 08:51 AM | Permalink
Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote. She should be the President. Something is rotten with the electoral college system. Professor, what am I missing?
Posted by: anon20 | Nov 9, 2016 9:02:09 AM
You are missing that our Constitution makes the winner of the popular vote irrelevant to who wins the Presidency.
Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 9, 2016 9:05:28 AM
I gather on some level California "should" have more senators than Alaska too?
What the Constitution does allow for is instant run-off voting or something which in a close election like this might have changed the result in one or more states.
Posted by: Joe | Nov 9, 2016 10:51:43 AM