It won’t get Trump elected.
First things first: Jessica Williams is leaving the Daily Show. That’s a bummer because she’s been my favorite correspondent over the last few years, and her segments have reached a point where every single one is great and provocative and smart, and all the things we love about The Daily Show. BUT… she’s leaving because she got her own show on Comedy Central – a still untitled scripted comedy centered around, according to an official statement, “a politically-minded young woman who may be ‘woke’ but doesn’t know what she’s doing…who has all these social ideas but still, like, does not have it together…And she’s goofy and silly and funny!” I’m excited for her, and looking forward to seeing what one of my favorite comedians can do with her own vehicle. AND in the meantime, you should check out the podcast she makes with Phoebe Robinson on WNYC, TWO DOPE QUEENS.
I mention Williams because her final skit – yes, her mic drop – was focused on a niche of the Bernie or Bust movement wherein particular Bernie Sanders supporters say they’ll actually vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton – who was called “a leprechaun” and a “pile of trash” by Williams’ focus group. Watch the piece here:
Now for some numbers:
- 13 million: The total number of votes (being generous) that Bernie Sanders won over the course of the primary election.
- 8%: The percentage of Sanders supporters who prefer Trump over Clinton, according WAPO-ABC News, in their June 26 survey..
- 1 million: 8% of 13 million
So right now, with the election today, Trump gets 1 million votes from Sanders. I took a look at the history of the popular vote to see how many times 1 million votes would have swayed the popular vote – not that it means anything in terms of deciding the election – electoral college and all – but it seemed interesting, at least.
We’ve had 57 presidential elections in the United States. We didn’t start recording the popular vote until 1824 so that leaves out the first nine. Every election between 1824 and 1900 were decided by less than a million votes. That’s the first 17. Our population was also 4 times smaller in 1900 and 30 times smaller in 1824. So, even with the high voter turnout back then – those first 20 recorded elections garnered turnout of 70% on average compared to just 55% in our last 20 elections – there just isn’t a comparison. Looking at just the elections in the 20th and 21st centuries, we see that there were only five times that 1 million votes would have swayed the popular vote (1900, 1916, 1960, 1968, 2000).
So even if we didn’t have the electoral college and just decided things by popular vote, the Berners For Trump wouldn’t be a concern unless polls showed the election absolutely deadlocked. Right now, FiveThirtyEight is giving Clinton an 80% chance of winning and most top national polls have her +4. So if the election were today, that means Clinton would get about 127 million votes and Trump would get about 108 million for a margin of 19 million votes. So you see how little impact even a million votes has.
The Berumpers (yeah, I coined that term) will make a lot of noise, and probably get a lot of press because our media gets better ratings (more $$$$) when anything Trump related is covered – but in terms of political movements, it’s a fly not worth swatting at and certainly not worth worrying about.