Saturday, November 14, 2020

Would Joe Biden Be President Elect Without Jo Jorgensen?

Update: More recent data show that Biden won 50% of the vote in Pennsylvania. His margin of victory was slightly larger than the 80,000 votes Jorgensen received.

The Libertarian Party played what may have been a crucial role in helping elect Joe Biden to be president in 2020. Though Biden won Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, he won them with less than 50% of the vote. In each case, the difference was the 1% of votes won by the Libertarian Party candidate, Jo Jorgensen. In Wisconsin, for instance, where Biden won by 20,000 votes, Jo Jorgensen won nearly 40,000 votes. In Arizona, where Biden won by only 10,000 votes, Jorgensen received 50,000. Similarly, in Georgia, where Biden's margin of victory was 14,000 votes, Jorgensen received 60,000. In Pennsylvania, Biden's margin was somewhat larger--more than 60,000 votes--but even there Jorgensen won nearly 80,000.

If all or nearly all of those who voted for Jorgensen had instead voted Republican, the nation would be facing another four years of President Trump. If in the absence of the Libertarian Party candidate, Biden had still won Pennsylvania but lost the other three, his margin of victory would have been 270 to 269, a victory achieved only because Nebraska allocates its three electoral votes not as a whole but by district. The whole election would have turned on Omaha, the urban district in otherwise rural Nebraska that gave Biden that one electoral vote. 

A look at Jo Jorgensen's website shows that her candidacy was driven primarily by Trump's massive deficits, continued involvement in foreign wars and the war on drugs, tariffs, and subsidies for oil and coal. Her solution to climate change appears to be encouraging nuclear energy by eliminating government subsidies of fossil fuels.

Jorgensen's 1.8 million vote tally was far less than Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson's 4.5 million in 2016, but still shows how 3rd party candidates can influence elections in a deeply divided country. 

The Libertarian Party, believing that people should be able to do as they please as long as they don't harm others, needs to take responsibility for the harm each one of us does daily while trapped in an economy dependent on fossil fuels. A Libertarian Party truly devoted to its own principals would be doing everything it could to free us from this predicament, in which good people are unintentionally doing harm to others by collectively altering the atmosphere. No human could survive if CO2 increased by 50% in the bloodstream, and that is the radical change our collective activities have imposed on the atmosphere, oceans and nature we depend upon, with consequences that are slowly unfolding.

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