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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Third-Party Spoilers


Daniel Marans at HuffPost:
Until Tuesday night, Drew Gray Miller, the Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, was treated like an afterthought by Democrats, Republicans and most news outlets.

...
Then the election results came in. Miller had received 0.6 percent of the vote ― accounting for far more than the 0.2 percentage point lead Democrat Conor Lamb ended up holding over Republican Rick Saccone at the end of the night. (Lamb has declared victory, but Saccone is challenging the results.)

Suddenly Miller was the man of the hour, as pundits discovered that Miller’s candidacy might have cost Saccone the race.

When CNN finally flashed Miller’s photo on screen, his 20-person election watch party at Fat Head’s Saloon erupted in cheers. They high-fived one another and took selfies in front of the TV as the party took a rowdier turn. 
At the Independent Record in Helena, Holly K. Michaels reports:
As the clock was running out for candidates to get their name on the ballot for what’s expected to be a hotly contested U.S. Senate race, Tim Adams — a man previously paid by the state Republican Party and who donated to Republican candidates as recently as 2016 — filed to run as a member of the Green Party.

The Green Party was only approved to appear on Montana ballots Monday morning, just hours before the 5 p.m. filing deadline. Six people filed under the party's banner for state legislative and federal races, including Adams, the former Republican operative.

But some question whether Adams, who is running for the U.S. Senate, is really a Green Party member or got into the race to siphon votes away from Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat seeking re-election to a third term.

“Tim Adams is no Green Party candidate,” David Parker, an associate professor of political science at Montana State University, said Tuesday. “He has a long history of conservative activism. It’s curious that he has announced a candidacy and it’s curious that it happened on the last day.”
In 2012, an outside group, Montana Hunters and Anglers, backed Libertarian Senate candidate Dan Cox, apparently with the intent of siphoning votes from Republican Denny Rehberg. The trick worked: Cox's vote exceeded Tester's margin.

It is not all fun and games.  In 2016, the Russians helped Green Party candidate Jill Stein in hopes f bringing down Clinton.  Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti at NYT:
The scope of the operation was sweeping. The Russians assumed their fake identities to communicate with campaign volunteers for Mr. Trump and grass-roots groups supporting his candidacy. They bought pro-Trump and anti-Clinton political advertisements on Facebook and other social media. They used an Instagram account to try to suppress turnout of minority voters and campaign for Ms. Stein, the Green Party candidate.
...
Weeks before the election, the Russians ratcheted up social media activity aimed at dampening support for Mrs. Clinton.
In mid-October, Woke Blacks, an Instagram account run by the Internet Research Agency, carried the message “hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”
Then, just days before Americans went to the polls, another Instagram account controlled by the Russians — called Blacktivist — urged its followers to “choose peace” and vote for Ms. Stein, who was expected to siphon support from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
“Trust me,” the message read, “it’s not a wasted vote.”