In this election, every single vote for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was so incredibly important to the outcome. In some states where Trump only defeated Clinton by a few thousand votes, this election proved that every single vote mattered and should not have been "wasted" on a third party candidate. In a twist that surprised no one, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson's response to Trump's election victory was completely tone deaf and misguided.
Johnson and his party can celebrate later — not when millions of people living in the United States are mourning a potential loss of their rights and basic human needs. Doubling down on the sheer incredulity of the situation, when another candidate does get elected president, their opponents generally concede to them. A concession speech, given by the person stepping down should be done gracefully, allowing the American people to know that they fully accept the vote made by the people. Instead, Johnson took the opportunity to both aim the spotlight at himself and dismiss the very real fears of millions of Americans who did not vote third party or Republican.
In this election, with so many people disliking both candidates, a third party option, like Green Party candidate Jill Stein or Johnson, may have initially seemed like the best option for some people. In the end, however, third party votes appeared to tilt the election in Trump's favor in a number of regions — so the fact that Johnson felt the need to respond to Trump's victory speech with his own revelry felt out of touch.
"We have a lot to celebrate, a lot to celebrate," Johnson told his supporters Tuesday night. "This is a celebration. There is going to be a third voice in this country."
Johnson's response also failed to address that, in this moment, there is not much at all to celebrate, especially for minority or marginalized groups. Not until the initial pain that this election has caused subsides. Right now, millions of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton and did not expect her to lose can't even fathom celebrating anything. Instead, they are mourning the potential loss of their health insurance, their right to a safe and legal abortion, or even the right to marry the person they love, regardless of gender. The only people who will be celebrating over the next few days are those who voted to make America great again and get Trump into the Oval Office. That's it.
Sure, the Libertarian Party had a pretty impressive showing in this election. The third party candidates this year took a sizable amount of voters away from Hillary Clinton — which ultimately gave Trump the lead in some key swing states. According to NBC News, the third party's showing in this election was more than a "strong performance."
But this was not the election to gamble the future of a third party stronghold on. With so many rights on the line and so many people scared for their lives, this was not the election in which to experiment and see what would happen.
Over the next few days, for many Americans, there will be no reason to celebrate. The results from this election stumped statisticians and election experts and many minorities and those in the LGBTQ community are frightened and ready to pick up and leave out of fear for their collective wellbeing. Unfortunately, if seems Gary Johnson missed that memo.