So the last blog post was focused more on the theoretical, giving people information they need to answer (often harsh) accusations they are encountering online on a regular basis. (You can read that here: http://beccajones.blogspot.com/2016/10/evan-mcmullin-and-elections-part-1-is.html)
This post, in contrast, is for people (and there are many of you--you keep talking to me about this) who want to vote for Evan McMullin but absolutely cannot do it if it means that Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton will win the presidency. Let's cover them one at a time. I'm going to focus on the reality here in Colorado because everyone who has expressed this concern to me is in Colorado. The analysis of this varies based on what state you are in.
Will voting for Evan McMullin accidentally make it so Donald Trump wins? Because you don't want Donald Trump to win above all else....
The Fear:You like what Evan McMullin stands for, and you like the idea of a viable third party having a foot in the race in the future, and you want to send a message to the party bosses that McMullin is more in keeping with what you are looking for in a candidate. But you are only a #NeverTrump person, not necessarily a #NeverHillary person, and you are afraid to vote for Evan because you don't think Evan can win outright (reasonably), and you fear your protest vote might mean Hillary won't get enough electoral college votes nationwide, and Trump will win.
I've done a lot of research on this over the last few days, trying to determine if there is a chance that Trump could possibly win the election if Colorado goes to Trump instead of Hillary.
I combined the information from this article: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/longshot-path-donald-trump-win-270-electoral-votes/story?id=42971946 with the information at these two polling/prediction sites: http://www.270towin.com/2016-polls-clinton-trump/ and http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/. I chose that article because it is reasonable and balanced and focused on how Trump could win, not all the reasons he is losing. And I chose those two sites for polling information because they are widely accepted and respected, and they pull their information from carefully vetted, widely-respected sources. 270toWin.com uses polling averages from the last 5 polls, minimizing the chances that I was just getting an anomaly or a bump or dip day. FiveThirtyEight, run by Nate Silver, is one of the most well-respected statistical analyses of elections there is. He has something like a 99% accuracy in his predictions, and he's open on his methodology and mistakes.
In the article, it mentions Trump has to do 4 things in order to win (whereas Clinton has dozens of paths to win): 1. Take every single state that Romney won in 2012; 2. Win Ohio. 3. Win Florida. 4. Win 17 other random electoral college votes from states in play or states that could be wildcards (PA; or IA+NV+NH+1/2ME; or WI+1/2ME+NV or IA; or VA+NV or IA or NH; or CO+IA+ NV or NH). Without doing all four of these, Trump can't reach 270 electoral college votes.
So what's the breakdown?
1. UT has been called by Nate Silver for Evan McMullin, so Trump cannot take all the states Romney won in 2012. But even if he wins UT....
2. Ohio is all over the place. Clinton and Trump are neck-and-neck there. It could go either way. Let's call it for Trump, just for the sake of our analysis here.
3. Florida is projected to go to Clinton. Five of the six most recent polls in FL show Clinton winning even with third party candidates included in the race. And the sixth had Trump ahead by only 2 percentage points--and then only if the third party candidates act as spoilers.
4. Even including potential 3rd party spoilers, Clinton is ahead by 6% in PA; In IA, Trump is ahead, but for this option to work he'd also have to take NV, NH, and half of ME, and he's losing in all three of those states, although NV is close; Clinton has a strong lead in VA, so that option won't work even if Trump wins IA; and even if Trump were to take CO (he's polling to lose here) and IA, without NV or NH (where he's losing), he still can't get these.
In other words, 1 is unlikely, 2 is possible but not a given, 3 is unlikely, and 4 is highly unlikely.
Here is a map illustrating this:
Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com
You can see that even if Trump collects 18 from Ohio and 15 from UT and CO (33 all together), he still cannot reach 270 electoral college votes.
Even if Colorado goes to Trump because Evan McMullin gets all the undecided plus enough of Clinton votes to pull her down that much, Trump still cannot win the national vote.
So you can safely vote for McMullin in Colorado and know that Trump won't win anyway.
So what are the numbers in Colorado? Will McMullin make a difference here?
We don't actually know. There hasn't been a poll done in Colorado that includes Evan McMullin's name. Apparently one is being done here tomorrow (Monday, Oct 24) that includes McMullin, but we don't know what it will say. Recent polls show Clinton winning Trump by 5-10% in Colorado. What is most interesting is the polls also show over 18% of the voters choosing a third party candidate or undecided. This is dramatic, and enough to make Trump win if those voters moved to him, but given that they are supporting Johnson and Stein primarily (and "other"), who are more liberal than Trump, it doesn't seem likely they would go to Trump should they decide to vote major party instead of protest.
But, like I said, even if they did tip the scales and Trump won here in Colorado, it wouldn't make a difference nationwide.
And what if Evan McMullin takes the three states he's most likely to take? (ID, UT, and AZ):
Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com
Will voting for Evan McMullin accidentally make it so Hillary Clinton wins? Because you don't want Hillary Clinton to win above all else....
The Fear:You like what Evan McMullin stands for, and you like the idea of a viable third party having a foot in the race in the future, and you want to send a message to the party bosses that McMullin is more in keeping with what you are looking for in a candidate. But you are only a #NeverHillary person, not necessarily a #NeverTrump person, and you are afraid to vote for Evan because you don't think Evan can win outright (reasonably), and you fear your protest vote might mean Trump won't get enough electoral college votes nationwide, and Hillary will win.
The Reality:At this point, Trump's numbers are rapidly sinking. He is not projected to win enough electoral college votes to even approach 270 votes. Consequently, even if Colorado goes to Trump, that's not enough electoral college votes to stop Hillary nationwide. Either way (Trump or Evan), you're voting for a losing candidate, so why not send a message that you like with your vote?
Or, better yet, bank on the implausible-but-not-impossible idea that if all the people who are abandoning Trump because he can't win anyway band together and join another candidate, they can still stop Hillary. Join Evan McMullin and encourage your friends to do the same. If your goal is not to support Trump, but merely to stop Hillary, then jump to the candidate who is most likely to do that and campaign your guts out! At the very least, wait until the 8th to vote instead of voting early so you know more clearly what's going to happen.
So why not campaign your guts out for Trump and hope for a rebound--can't he recover and beat Hillary that way?
I don't think he can. Why? Because he keeps opening his mouth. The more he talks, the less appealing he is to many voters. He cannot regain the trust of the hispanics, women, muslims, Mormons, or many black voters. Without any of those blocs voting for him, he can't win. And he's offended them all too deeply to say or do anything to change their minds. In short, the only thing keeping him from sinking into nothingness is everyone's fear of a Hillary presidency--and it's looking like we're going to have that anyway. Since the establishment candidate can't stop Hillary, it might be time for the Hail Mary pass.