In 2016, Gary Johnson was on the libertarian ballot along with the tepid Evan McMullin on the National Review/Bill Cristol ticket. This year do you even know anyone besides Kanye West on a ballot?
The reason this might be important is because as James Swofford writes in Americanthinker, “It is well known that in November 2016, a little over 136.5 million Americans voted in the presidential election. What is less well known is that according to the election results at Wikipedia, a slight plurality more Americans voted for conservative candidates — Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, and Evan McMullin — than voted for candidates of the left — Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein…
“The discussion that follows implicitly takes the view that President Trump will be better able to attract the conservative voters in 2020, as a known quantity, running for re-election than he was able to in 2016 as a political unknown.”
That, according to Swofford, puts more states in play for Trump.
Swofford “looks at the conservative minus liberal vote in 2016 on a state-by-state basis, the biggest surprise is that there were four states where more voters voted for conservative presidential candidates than liberal candidates, yet President Trump did not win their electoral votes. Those states are Maine, with two electoral votes decided by the statewide vote; Minnesota, with ten electoral votes; Nevada, with six electoral votes; and New Hampshire, with four electoral votes. That totals 22 electoral votes that President Trump did not win despite more voters in those states voting for right-leaning candidates than left-leaning candidates. Interestingly, in Nevada in 2016, as is true in 2020, the Libertarian candidate was on the ballot, while the Green Party candidate was not on the ballot. Certainly, no matter what the polls say right now, one would think those states are in play in 2020.
“Additionally, there are a total of 11 states including the 4 mentioned above where the conservative minus liberal vote totals were within 5% points no matter which candidate won. Those 7 additional states are Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. A table with these 11 states and their difference in the conservative minus liberal vote and the conservative minus liberal percentage vote in 2016 is below:
2016 Close State Vote and Percentage Differences
State Conservative-Liberal Votes/Conservative-Liberal Percentage
Maine (at large) 1,712/0.2%
New Hampshire 21,545/-2.9%
New Mexico -905/-0.1%
“Notice that President Trump won 4 of these 11 states while losing the other 7, including the 4 states where more voters voted for candidates of the right. The closest state, surprisingly, was New Mexico, where voters voted for candidates of the left by one tenth of a percentage.”
Swofford continues, “So far, I have claimed to you that states like Colorado, Maine (at large), Nevada, and Virginia are toss-up states despite the media acting as though these were forever Democrat states. You may be asking yourself, what about other states the media tell me are toss-ups? What about Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and maybe some others? Well, in the table below are those states with their 2016 Trump less Clinton percentage vote difference along with the conservative minus liberal vote percentage difference.
Other Key State 2016 Trump-Clinton Percentage and Conservative-Liberal
State Trump – Clinton Percentage/Conservative – Liberal Percentage
North Carolina 3.7%/6.1%
“As you can see, these states were mostly outside the 5% threshold for the Trump less Clinton measure and well beyond it for the conservative minus liberal measure. Of course, the media will tell you they are toss-ups, but Colorado and Virginia are solid Democrat states.
“So even if, again this year, the media delay calling Georgia until 11:33, I will be looking most closely at Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin on Election Night 2020.”