Detroit - Most of the talk about what might happen in this year’s presidential election has revolved around those swing voters who supported Barack Obama, then switched to Donald Trump.
They are certainly important — but most commentators are overlooking another category that also could be decisive: The millions of voters who decided they couldn’t stomach either Hillary Clinton or Mr. Trump and chose third-party candidates.
The third, or minor party vote soared four years ago. Back in 2012, all minor parties combined drew only 2.2 million votes. But four years ago, that number soared to 7,922,634.
That vote made the difference in the three key states that changed parties and decided the election — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and most of all Michigan, where the president’s margin was tiniest — 10,704 votes out of nearly 5 million cast.
In Michigan, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson got 172,136 votes in 2016, while Jill Stein, nominee of the Green Party, took 51,463. Both totals were far more than the normal showing.