First: A sincere Mazel Tov to Bernie Sanders from this Michigan Hillary voter. Besides the fact that I’ve repeatedly stated that I’ll wholeheartedly support Bernie if he manages to pull off the nomination, I also have to admit that I take a bit of pride in seeing a fellow MOT* have a legitimate shot at becoming the Democratic nominee for POTUS. So, there’s that.
Next: Yesterday afternoon I posted the following on Facebook:
To any Michigan Hillary supporters who are crossing over to vote for Kasich as the anti-Trump because they assume she has it in the bag on the Dem side:
1. If enough of you do so, she *won't* have it in the bag.
2. Remember, MI is proportional, so even if she still wins, the margin of the win makes a difference as well.
3. Be careful what you wish for. Remember that Kasich would likely be much tougher in the general than Trump.
I'm not saying you shouldn't do it anyway, just keep all of that in mind if you do so.
Note also that I'm not saying this as a slam on Bernie; if he wins the state and/or the nomination, that's fine with me and I'll support him 100%; I just want people to make sure to think through the ramifications before doing the "vote strategically" thing.
Sure enough, it turns out I wasn’t the only one who noticed this:
Well, guess what happened?
As Nate Silver noted last night, 3% of the Democratic turnout was made of Republicans crossing over...but 7% of the Republican turnout was Democrats crossing over:
Forgetting about the 3% GOP crossovers, how many of those 7% were Hillary supporters who assumed she had it in the bag and crossed over to vote either for Trump (“He’ll be easier to beat!”) or against Trump (“He’s too dangerous, we need to stop him now!”)?
I don’t know how many did so state-wide, but anecdotally, I read/heard a lot of this from Hillary supporters on both Facebook and Twitter.
I can’t imagine that any Bernie supporters would’ve crossed over. Whatever else you can say about them, they’re heavily motivated; being down 20 points in the polls wouldn’t dissuade them (especially since delegates are proportional).
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that “overconfident Hillary supporters crossing over” was the only factor here, or even the biggest one. The gap between the polling average (around Hillary +20) to the actual results (Bernie +2) was about 22 points; the crossover factor might have accounted for perhaps 2 points of that...enough to squeak out a raw win for Hillary, but only by a hair.
Other factors like Hillary’s campaign taking the state for granted, having a worse ground game, the auto bailout attack backfiring, etc. probably made a larger difference, but that’s not my point.
We all like to think that we’re so clever at gaming out how to manipulate elections, but there are a lot of factors at play, most of which the vast majority of people have no clue about. The law of unintended consequences and all that.
For example: In the 2008 Michigan primary, neither Barack Obama (nor John Edwards) were on the ballot at all due to the stupid primary calendar brouhaha/punishment mess, so Hillary was guaranteed to win in a landslide.
Since neither of the other 2 were on the ballot, many Democrats crossed over to mess with the GOP primary by voting for Mitt Romney….and it worked: Romney snagged 40% to McCain’s 30%.
Now, it’s certainly possible that Romney would’ve won Michigan anyway, since he grew up here, etc etc. However, I presume the Dem crossover helped him quite a bit.
But let’s suppose that this had worked too well, and Romney had managed to nab the GOP nomination in 2008 instead of McCain? How might the 2008 general election have played out?
Well, for one thing, you would’ve had Mr. High Finance Guy as the GOP nominee at the same moment that the financial crisis hit. This might have hurt him if people blamed him for being part of the mess, of course. On the other hand, people were scared shitless at the time, and most people didn’t understand what the hell was going on; there’s a very good chance that they would have turned to Romney because “He’s a business guy who understands this stuff”, etc etc.
The larger difference, of course, is that Romney would never have been stupid enough to pick Sarah Palin as his running mate.
In other words, maybe Obama would have won anyway...but then again, who the hell knows?
My point is this: My philosophy is to never piss in someone else’s pool. Not my monkey, not my circus and all that.
Thus endeth my only attempt to be a political analyst.
*(MOT = Member of the Tribe, for those of the goyish persuasion :))
Comments are closed on this story.