The title pretty well sums up what appears to be the proximate cause of Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat by Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election—albeit the media has not yet done a definitive analysis (though one comes close) of the reason for the emerging consensus conclusion for her loss. The one that has addressed the why of the why she lost is an admittedly snarky satire by
There was of course not a single factor for the low turnout. One comment on an article critical of the political insiders’ failure to recognize the direction the election was turning struck me as astute: “HRC was a boring speaker running a boring, timid campaign. The 42-point laundry list “plan” she kept trotting out resonates with no one. People need a short list of high profile things you’re going to do, delivered with conviction. Trump did that.”
My reply was in agreement, and I added my “greatest complaint is how she addressed the charge of a “war on coal,” something that resonates “hugely” in PA, OH, WV, and KY—PA and OH being the most critical. Her response was to declare that she would “take care of the coal miners.” The fact is that the “war on coal” mantra is a siren song, used by dishonest politicians who know it’s not the EPA, but the inability of coal to compete in the market—and the people in coal mining areas better realize that and look toward the future to rebuild their economic base.”
While inspiration is important, this last point—the failure to adequately address the economic concerns of an entire region—ignored James Carville’s 1992 observation that “it’s the economy, stupid.” Doing so undoubtedly cost Clinton votes in those battleground states that Trump won. None of it truly explains the low Democratic voter turnout.
The most likely answer to explain why Clinton experienced so low a turnout can likely be found in the question of why did her overall approval rating fall from 49% in May 2015 to 39% by early June 2016. Most strikingly of all is that her approval had fallen to between 32% and 24% among male voters by mid October. Yes, FBI Director James Comey’s “October Surprise” may have had some effect, but the media reported a rebound when Comey announced nothing new had been found.
Emailgate was after all a primarily Republican issue—but we know how badly the media and polls botched their analyses, so no firm conclusion can be made there, albeit the electorate was already predisposed to react to negativity. Something else was at play though.
That something else is Bernie Sanders and his supporters. Oh, they deny culpability, saying instead that Clinton’s supporters are to blame for not nominating Bernie. The fact is that Bernie lost due to his failure to realize that the electorate to which he was appealing was not competent to meet his “call to arms.”
The worst failing of his supporters was not that they failed to nominate Bernie—whose radical extremism would all but certainly have ended in his defeat in November—it was the degree to which they created uncertainty about her credibility among Democrats and independent voters. Clinton mentioned it herself in the first debate, objecting to Bernie’s use of disinformation and innuendo to attack her.
But it was not just the Berniebros commenting on social media and the comments sections of medial outlets. The media outlets themselves seemed to have it in for Clinton.
This is not the first time that the cynical left threw the election into the lap of the Republican Party. The real tragedy is not so much that the “revolution” has once again been postponed. It’s that the cynical left lacks the capacity to own up to the reality that they are their own worst enemies. They cannot shake the belief that they are noble warriors who reject the choice between the lesser of two evils, and come to the realization that their choices are always a matter of the greatest possible good!