By Doctor Comrade
Despite the Democratic National Convention's rocky start, it appears as though Hillary Clinton has not only regained the lead in the presidential election polls, but has actually increased her previous lead, according to FiveThirtyEight. With the election seemingly in hand, and considering Donald Trump's recent implosion, what remains to be seen is how mainstream Democrats treat those who still choose not to support Clinton. Where their common refrain--"Every vote that isn't for Hillary is a vote for Trump"--is no longer accurate, will the condescension and hand-wringing stop?
Probably not, but it may decrease in intensity. For the week that liberals thought Donald Trump could actually win, the scorn of mainstream Democrats and other left-leaning intellectuals was turned most forcefully on Sanders protesters at the DNC and other intransigent Leftists. The convention speakers, the mainstream media, and the internet turned on the anti-Hillary left, and even former Sanders supporters became self-righteously indignant once Clinton became the presumptive nominee.
But the situation has changed. Now that liberals have less reason to panic, it may allow them focus their attention on converting undecided voters (who make up around 7% of the electorate) rather than shaming Sanders people and true leftists for not supporting Clinton.
Consider also the potential for "wasted votes." According to an analysis by Stephen Weese, the wider the potential margin for victory, the more wasted votes that will be cast. In the first-past-the-post system, a candidate needs to win in a plurality by only one vote to secure all of the electoral college votes for a state. For example, in a two-way race between Clinton and Trump, she only needs to win 50% plus one vote in order to win an entire state (or in a three-way race, like what could be shaping up in Utah, she could win against Trump and Johnson with as little as 33.4% of the vote). This means that any vote beyond 50%+1 is a wasted vote, a vote which does not actually help her win the election. Moreover, every person who voted for Trump will have also "wasted" their vote in that state. In heavily Democratic or heavily Republican states, many people complain about their votes being wasted because the presidential election is a foregone conclusion in their state, like Republicans in New York and California, or Democrats in Alabama and Idaho, for instance.
Because only a small number of states will be decided by a relatively small number of votes, and these states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, probably) control the outcome of the entire presidential election, many votes will be wasted in other states.
In a scenario where Trump had a legitimate chance of winning--the doomsday scenario that seemed to be playing out the week before the DNC--many liberals believed that some state races would be tighter than previously imagined, meaning more votes would be needed to elect Clinton. However, now that Clinton has sizable leads in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida (as of August 5), there should be much less concern that every vote counts. And the adage that "every vote that isn't for Clinton is a vote for Trump" will be less true and less believable.
With less pressure on Clintonites and mainstream Democrats to marshal their forces against Trump, we may see an easing of the attacks on people to the left of Clinton. Party unity is less important in a world in which Donald Trump commits daily gaffes and is busy crippling the GOP.