Elections and Voting
There is a strange kind of logic going around reflected by the question: Did those who voted for third parties cost Clinton the election? That this is strange logic can be seen by asking instead: How or why did Clinton cost the Democratic Party the election?
The second question, which is from a party standpoint the appropriate one, is underlined by the fact that many, in fact, very many Democratic voters chose to stay home, chose not to vote for Clinton. And this represents many more voters than those who chose to vote for third parties. Clinton, quite obviously, did not appeal to a great number of Democratic voters, and especially did not appeal to Democratic voters in states where the election was close and Trump won by a relatively slim margin, e.g., Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
The onus, given these numbers on non-voters, does or should fall on Clinton and the Democrats to understand why they failed and why they lost the election. To say that it was those who chose to vote for third party candidates is to imply that they bear the burden of Clinton’s and Democratic Party’s loss, which is, to put it bluntly, absurd. Clinton and the Democratic Party lost the election and, hence, they should bear the burden of their loss, not those who either chose to vote for third party candidates or chose not to vote at all.
It is all pretty simple. Political parties are, or allegedly are, in the business of winning elections. When they lose, when they don’t win elections, that failure, that loss is on the party, not on those who chose not to vote for its ticket. The Democratic ticket in 2016 ended up a losing ticket, plain and simple. It was the Democratic Party that created that ticket. Ergo, the Democratic Party and its ticket are responsible for losing the election. It really is that simple.