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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. – John Lawler Apr 15 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 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. – John Lawler Apr 15 at 22:07

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