Did Third Party Candidates Help Donald Trump Win the Election?



Donald Trump’s surprising victory over Hillary Clinton has many people wondering what impact third party candidates had on the outcome of the election. Those claiming Trump’s victory was caused by third party candidates may want to reconsider.

While there are key swing states where the candidates had more votes than Trump’s margin of victory, it does not necessarily mean their presence led to a different result than if Trump and Clinton had matched up head-to-head.

FiveThirtyEight’s Carl Bialik explained why this is faulty logic.

“Not all of them would have voted for Clinton had they been forced to choose only between her and Trump. And some might not have voted at all. Far more Democrats in Florida in 2000 voted for George W. Bush than voted for Ralph Nader,” Bialik wrote on FiveThirtyEight.

Trump defeated Clinton in Florida by 128,630 votes. Gary Johnson had 204,760 while Jill Stein had 63,648. It is possible many of those voters would have voted for Clinton, but there are no guarantees some of these voters would not have sided with Trump.

It is difficult to project who these voters would have voted for if Stein and Johnson were not on the ballot. In the Florida example, it is conceivable to think the majority of these voters would have voted for Clinton but this does not necessarily mean it is a probable scenario.

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  1. And you support your point by quoting FiveThirtyEight?! Get out of here. Third party voters did this. FiveThirtyEight is full of crap.

      • By focusing on Florida, this article is ignoring the states that are much more compelling evidence to the contrary.

        If just 1/4 of the people that voted for Gary Johnson in Wisconsin, 1/10 of those in Michigan, and 1/2 of those in Pennsylvania (~110,000 people total across all 3 states) had voted for Clinton instead, she would now be President – and that’s without even adding in the votes for Stein.

        For good or bad, this election, more than any other in recent history, clearly had it’s outcome altered by third party candidates.

        • If 1/4, 1/10, and 1/2 of those people from their respective states had to have voted Clinton, but a much much smaller percentage of them would have had to vote Trump to counter this claimed inevitability.

        • 1/4, 1/10, and 1/2 of those people from their respective states would have had to have voted Clinton, but a much much smaller percentage of them would have had to vote Trump to counter this claimed inevitability.

    • We can’t know that. Sanders would have been painted a Communist (I saw this happening during the primaries, by the few right-wingers I know), plus he would have been the target of even more vicious anti-Semitic attacks than we saw.

    • I know plenty of Democrats who ignore the economic policy of LIbertarians but like their social policy and thus vote for them, however irrational that seems.

  2. I gotta believe the Marijuana thing played a role… Johnson was known for his marijuana support. I think that marijuana voters lean democrat. Therefore all being equal I think Johnson did take more votes from Hillary than donald

  3. I did vote for Johnson, and I did vote for a republican in the primary although I am an independent. Trump is little more than a liberal pandering to the Fox News crowd so he can win, simple business strategy.

  4. Extract of Prognostic, October 21, 2016.
    Media! Media! Media! How wrong are you able to enforce against an innocent? Here is a wise advice: For us who belong to Donald Trump Team, may we be the cheerleader like this man running alongside his favorite rider, shouting him encouragement that will carry him to the finish line? For you who believe in Donald Trump competence, please, can you read this history? It teaches us greatly: “Aimé Jacquet, former coach of the France Soccer Team, was largely victim of wrong critics from the media while he was training the French Team Soccer in 1998. They didn’t trust in him at any time. So they were publishing much nonsense against him. July 12, 1998, France won the Soccer World Cup. Since, Aimé Jacquet triumphed forever. At last the authors of the wrong attacks were ashamed and Aimé Jacquet refused to forgive them. Nowadays, Aimé Jacquet is the French favorite personality in 2016; six years according to the polls. And yet, once more this Thursday afternoon, October 20, 2016 the false news of his death on Twitter has provoked unprecedented media frenzy. No panic, to 74 years Aimé Jacquet is still alive and well.”
    As for each race, the sprint at the finish line is the best moment, please don’t miss Donald Trump’s sprint this November 8, 2016.
    Yes, Together we will Make America Great Again!
    Charles Wilson T.Tumi dia Ntende. NY/USA , October, 21 2016.

  5. All those I know who voted for third party candidates are Republicans who hated Hillary, but also didn’t like Trump.

  6. Um, unsure why the argument against simple math but regardless of whether or not they would have voted at all, one vote for Trump and no vote for Hillary still has the same outcome. Trump wins one to zero. Argument for not voting at all would have a different outcome is invalid. I understand that we want to think that “love always prevails in the end,” and, “the best man will always win,” but being a dreamer doesn’t work in a situation like this one. For all third party voters: what outcome were you looking for and how realistic an outcome was it? Elections aren’t decided on “hopeful outcomes.”