Neither Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson nor the Green Party’s Jill Stein managed to make a dent in the Electoral College, but they did post a significant enough showing in several states arguably to help elect Donald Trump.
Trump won 290 Electoral College votes to 232 for Hillary Clinton, as of Wednesday evening, with Clinton topping him in the popular vote. But had the Democrats managed to capture the bulk of third-party voters in some of the closest contests — Wisconsin (10), Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16) and Florida (29) — Clinton would have defeated Trump by earning 307 Electoral College votes, enough to secure the presidency.The entire scenario conjures up memories of Ralph Nader’s Green Party run in 2000. Nader’s share of the vote in that year’s razor-thin Florida contest was 1.63%, according to the final totals from the Federal Election Commission. Bush won the state by just .05%, which tipped the Electoral College in his favor. (Nader has for years denied his candidacy played a role in Bush’s 2000 victory.)It’s impossible to know how an election could have gone under hypothetical scenarios, but the Johnson campaign regularly said they thought they were pulling support equally from would-be Trump supporters and would-be Clinton voters. Stein’s campaign, meanwhile, made a constant, explicit appeal to disenchanted Democrats and former supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.