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Voters in 2008 would have seen he didn’t measure up then, had not millions been swept away with emotion and wish-fulfillment. (source)

This line reads odd even jarring to me with a weird inversion word order in the second clause. The common way of writing pluperfect (past perfect) subjunctive sentences is:

Voters in 2008 would have seen he didn’t measure up then, had millions not been swept away with emotion and wish-fulfillment.

Had it not been for her, I wouldn't have found it. (as opposed to *Had not it been for her, I wouldn't have found it.)

Is the inversion in sentence at issue valid as well? I thought it could be the result of the writer's stylistic choice, but it just sounds plain wrong to my ear. Archaic? Possible? Or just plain wrong?

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    Inverted auxiliaries like had shouldn't drag not along with them; better would be had millions not been swept away, with the negative in its original position. Better still would be not to indulge in archaic constructions unless writing an operetta. Apr 15 '20 at 22:02
  • @JohnLawler Yeah, that is why I wonder if the form in question is archaic and has historical attestations.
    – Eddie Kal
    Apr 15 '20 at 22:05
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    You can't contract it and still front it; at least I can't. *It would have been nice, hadn't millions been swept away with emotion and wish-fulfillment. Even worse with the whole clause fronted: *Hadn't millions been swept away with emotion and wish-fulfillment, it would have been nice. Apr 15 '20 at 22:07

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