Why Hillary Lost

Many Americans were surprised and shocked when Donald Trump was elected President last November, not least of them the candidates: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, principally. Trump seemed to take the victory as his due, while Hillary has tried to explain her unexpected loss by blaming everyone else–the Russians, James Comey, Bernie Sanders. 

But the problem with this is, in my opinion, that all the blame she casts on Comey, for example, rests on one statement he made a week before the vote regarding her emails. I think the election should never have been so close that one statement could shift the vote enough to cost her the election. The reason the election was close was because Hillary, in my opinion, was the worst candidate the Democrats could have nominated. 

Two charts from 538 demonstrate that “Trump and Clinton were the No. 1 and No. 2 least-popular nominees on record, and it wasn’t particularly close. It seems very likely that if Clinton had been as well-liked as John Kerry, Al Gore, or Michael Dukakis that she would be president today, and that if Trump had been as well-liked as Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Bob Dole he’d have won the popular vote.” The quote is from Vox

Most supporters of either candidate will need no education about why the opponent is so unpopular. Trump is a lying egomaniac with the attention span of a hummingbird. He never keeps his promises, doesn’t pay his bills, and thinks the Presidency is his personal cash register. Clinton cheated to get the nomination, destroyed 30,000 emails that she says were personal, ran an inept campaign highlighted by a series of blunders, and gave fawning speeches to Goldman Sachs for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Is it any wonder these two are the least popular candidates we know about?

During the campaign, Trump promised a lot of popular things. But he was lying, and he hasn’t done much to get them done since he was elected. But Clinton based her campaign on continuing what Obama had done. But Obama disappointed a lot of people. He ran on a platform of “the change you can believe in.” Remember?

He said he would fight for universal health care. As someone said, “I don’t mind that Obama couldn’t get single-payer health care. I mind that he didn’t try.” That was my own issue, and why I didn’t vote for Obama’s re-election, although I did the first time. He also bailed out the big banks, but no homeowners who were duped into loans they could not pay. He did not prosecute any of the bankers, who should all be in jail for lengthy terms. 

Obama did issue some usefully progressive executive orders, but he made no effort to cultivate any Republican legislators, as far as I can tell. He gave none of them rides on Air Force One, a popular perk for congressmen in the past; didn’t invite them to join him in a round of golf; rarely invited Republicans to White House dinners. And he did nothing to build the Democratic Party, which resulted in more than 1,000 legislative seats being lost to Republicans. You could, I think, say that Obama brought about Trump’s election.

For my money, Clinton’s pledge to continue Obama’s policies probably doomed her with Sanders supporters. In addition, Clinton took pains to stress that she would only promise what she could accomplish. Politicians traditionally try to present their ideas of what America should be. That’s what other presidential candidates have done. She complained that she and Sanders had similar progressive views, but Sanders supporters vociferously disagreed. Sanders offered a picture of his ideal programs, not what he felt he could achieve. That made Clinton’s ideas look incrementally small, which they were. 

A far better guide to what happened in the 2016 election is not Clinton’s self-serving memoir, but Shattered, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.

Posted under General

This post was written by admin on September 20, 2017

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