Explaining the Election: Dem Establishment Logic

The explanations from the Ready for Hillary crowd as to what happened vary a good bit. The BlueMeanie has focused on the voters who stayed home. Some blame the third-party voters. Some blame the millennials who didn’t support HRC in sufficient numbers. I even saw one piece where millennial men (Bernie Bros) were blamed because they intimidated millennial women from posting pro-HRC messages on social media during the campaign. And, of course, Trump voters all were either ignorant, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist, or racist, or some combination of those traits.

So, I wondered, is there a unifying logic that underlies all the arguments?

And I think it’s actually pretty simple:

  1. The Trump voters are inferior beings about whom there was little that could be done, and
  2. Everyone who voted for neither Clinton nor Trump, whether because they voted third-party or didn’t vote,
    1. Would have chosen Clinton over Trump if forced to vote for one or the other, and
    2. Failed to do so because of their own lack of good judgment, poor sense of priorities, or some other personal failing.

Doesn’t that pretty much cover it?

26 responses to “Explaining the Election: Dem Establishment Logic

  1. Sen. John Kavanagh

    And don’t forget to look at the other side of the coin. Trump, the non-politician, was a master campaigner who ran circles around both Republican pros in the primary and the Dem pros in the general.

  2. For Sure Not Tom

    Democrats lost because they ran Hillary Wall Street Kissinger. The end.

    • Yep.

      Bernie could have won. He would not have lost the blue rust belt states and he would have had a better campaign strategy.

    • And the Ready for Hillary folks will never admit how WRONG they were or how flawed their candidate was or that her campaign was ill-conceived and doomed to fail.

      That is why the old guard should be kicked to the curb and replaced so they can get to work on winning back the House and Senate in 2018. I’m a dreamer, I know, but that is what has to happen.

      • The Democratic Party, in its current incarnation, is electorally impotent and will either die off or change radically. Under Obama, they have been routed at the state legislative and gubernatorial level, will be playing defense in the Senate in 2018, and have substantial disadvantages in the House thanks to partisan gerrymandering.

        If they cannot revitalize the grassroots (perhaps by listening to the grassroots instead of commiserating in Wall St. echo chambers and fundraisers) and get a lot of strong, competent candidates to run for State Houses & State Senates, we are going to see another decade+ of GOP control.

        The question is whether the Schumers, Pelosis, and Clintons of the nation are going to voluntarily give up their clout and power (and Wall St. money) in order to effect that change. My money is on no, but that’s what they need to do if they don’t want to see their political party next to the Whigs in the dustpan of history.

  3. Clinton’s data-driven campaign relied heavily on an algorithm named Ada. What didn’t she see?
    By John Wagner November 9

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/11/09/clintons-data-driven-campaign-relied-heavily-on-an-algorithm-named-ada-what-didnt-she-see/

    • Seriously, Hillary’s campaign should be dissected and studied so that their many mistakes are not repeated. She was not a popular candidate but she could have won both the electoral college and the popular vote because she was running against Trump, a worse candidate.

      But if I had to choose their most colossal failure, it was the belief that they had the moral high ground and that would be enough. They assumed that enough voters would agree they had a moral responsibility to defeat Trump.

      Their second most colossal failure was the way they treated Bernie Sanders. And secondary to that was their collusion with the DNC.

      It took the perfect storm to elect Trump, but it happened and now we’re screwed.

      • I have a pretty long post addressing some of those concerns which is ‘awaiting moderation’, which means it might never be seen.

        I think calling Trump’s supporters ‘Deplorables’ was her 47% moment, if you will. Turns out calling people a racist only hardens opinions, rather than changing them, and probably turned a lot of people off her. And I don’t think most of his supporters are necessarily racist, though certainly there is an element which is. I do think, that when white voters in the Rust Belt hear from the Democrats “yeah, we get your pain, but Blacks and Latinos have it worse”, that really fuels racial resentment. It’s the same sort of idea as why ‘All Lives Matter’ is an insensitive response to ‘Black Lives Matter’.

        • Yeah, I agree that the “deplorables” comment was unfortunate. I don’t think a candidate has anything to gain by insulting voters. And the attacks on Trump for his low moral standards (especially with regard to women) didn’t seem to fire up any voters except the ones who already supported her.

          “Moral responsibility” was a loser for her. I think most of the problem was that she was not the ideal candidate to use it. Without getting into the history of the Clintons, that should have been obvious.

        • “I do think, that when white voters in the Rust Belt hear from the Democrats “yeah, we get your pain, but Blacks and Latinos have it worse”, that really fuels racial resentment.”

          I agree that breeds resentment, but I think this is unusual in that a traditional democrat reliable voting block – the Unions – at least partially turned their back on the democrat party. I think that if it represents a new trend, it spells serious trouble for democrats. The Unions have always been in thier back pocket, but maybe not so much any more.

          “It’s the same sort of idea as why ‘All Lives Matter’ is an insensitive response to ‘Black Lives Matter’.”

          I have never understood why this comparison is considered a false equivilency. It is true that “All Lives Matter”. Why is it that black lives are supposed to matter more?

          • Steve,

            You have it backwards. “Black Lives Matter” is an abbreviation for “Black Lives Matter Too” or “Black Lives Matter as much as White Lives.”

            Which is why “All Lives Matter” is such an insipid, tone deaf, moronic response. You’re too smart not to understand this.

          • When you explain it that way, Bob, it makes sense. I just have never heard it phrased that way. All I have heard was a simple declarative statement that “Black Lives Matter”, which is obviously true, but it makes it sounds as if black lives somehow matter more than others, which is not true.

            Anyway, thank you for making it clear to me what the issue is about. I have no problem with phrase now and I will accept it for what it is. And for the record, I wasn’t being deliberately obtuse on the matter…I genuinely was puzzled why this was such a hot button issue. On the surface the statement “Black Lives Matter” appeared to be a declaration of racial superiority which is not good regardless of which race is carrying on so. I now understand I was mistaken and I feel a little foolish I didn’t understand it before.

      • Hillary must have drive off other good Democrats who could have run in the
        Democratic Party primaries. The choices left were only Martin O’Malley (former Governor of Md.) and Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. The Republicans had 17 candidates running for President.

      • “It took the perfect storm to elect Trump, but it happened and now we’re screwed.”

        Liza, I think you are worrying too much about Trump’s election. He is a President, not a King. And he doesn’t play well with others. I think that all the worry people have about a Trump presidency will prove to be overblown.

        I also think your analysis of why Hillary lost is one of the best I have read. It makes the most sense and places the blame right where it should be. I personally don’t think she was the right candidate for the time in which we live. Bernie would have been a far better candidate for the democrats, despite his age. Of course if Bernie had won, I would be the one who would be inconsolable. ;o)

        • Well, Steve, so far the Fuhrer’s selection of ministers is more than a tad worrisome. I noticed on mainstream media news shows that even the gasbags have moved past “normalizing” Trump and are now talking more seriously about his choices.

          The one thing that might stop Trump is continuous public outrage and protests. I do have a sense that many people, mostly younger people, will not allow complacency to set in. And that is as it should be, it’s their country now. But how will the Trump administration deal with dissent?

          • “I do have a sense that many people, mostly younger people, will not allow complacency to set in. And that is as it should be, it’s their country now.”

            Liza, it isn’t even close to being “thier” country yet. The thing that stood out from the election is how few of the young bothered to vote. They found that less than half of the protesters arrested in Portland had bothered to vote. So far, the young seem to be motivated more by anarchism (which is sort of fun going out and destroying and burning things) than by party politics (which requires some effort and direction).

            On a slightly different note: You are an intelligent and articulate writer, Liza. Can you explain the phenomenon the left has of using Hitler as a comparison for Republicans so often? The comparison has been used with a diverse range of people over the years. And it is used so often that it seems to have almost lost any meaning, except to leftists who seem to find it very satisfying. It seems to me that not ALL the people called Hitler can be like Hitler, given the wide range of personality types and especially since none of them ever proved out to be like Hitler. I’m just curious what you might think the reason is.

          • Steve, I can’t honestly say that I am aware of Republicans always being compared to Hitler. I do agree that the analogy is overused but that is mostly because everyone knows about Hitler and his name has become synonymous with evil.

            Here’s a guy who no one talks about except history buffs:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirohito

          • Well. that is as good an explanation as I can come up with. I read the post about Hirohito. He is an often overlooked character from World War Two. I have always thought that – in terms of pure human suffering – Stalin gives Hitler a run for the money as the most evil personage of the 20th Century. But I understand the emotional impact that accompanies Hitler makes him stand out. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

      • “Black Lives Matter” is the name of the movement because “Stop allowing people to kill us with impunity” didn’t sound right. It does not say that other life does NOT matter.

        • Bob Lord gave a good explanation of what it means that made sense to me. I am comfortable now with the phrase…not that my comfort or the lack thereof amounted to a teacup of whoopy.

          “It does not say that other life does NOT matter.”

          Not explicitly, no. But as a simple declarative statement it can be interpreted to imply that black lives matter more. I think that is one of the reasons the phrase has caused such rancor among large groups of people in our Country. It is not clear what it means which means it is open to interpretation. For instance, your interpretation is different from Bob Lord’s interpretation.

  4. My experience has been that RFH voters, political pundits, and Establishment Dems have been flailing angrily, blaming some combination of:

    Jill Stein
    Gary Johnson
    Bernie Sanders
    Vladimir V. Putin
    James Comey
    Julian Assange
    Millennials
    Reddit & 4Chan
    Edward Snowden

    Never blamed are much more reasonable justifications:

    1) Hillary had a lot of baggage (paid speeches, foundation, hawkish military stances, multiple Super PAC’s in the primary). Compounding these legitimate concerns with a heaping scoop of somewhat less justifiable anger (Benghazi was largely honest mistakes & failures; most of the e-mails weren’t too bad apart from the ones involving Brazile leaking info from CNN to HFA) and you get a candidate who is heavily distrusted.

    2) Hillary’s campaign strategy was very flawed. Rather than concentrating in the Rust Belt, which is all she needed combined with safe Dem seats, she played for the blowout in Arizona, Georgia, and even talk of Texas being in play. This enabled a shrewder GOP apparatus to undercut states which should have been fairly easy Dem states with a better campaign strategy and more appearances by HRC and top-level surrogates (Sanders, Warren, Kaine, etc.)

    3) As Ms. Classen mentioned, HRC was seen as the quintessential insider in an election where the voters were demanding change.

    4) A large swath of the Rust Belt electorate was economically reeling, as their unionized manufacturing jobs are being shipped overseas as one of the predicted consequences of increasing globalization. Rather than speaking to their economic insecurity and fears about providing for their family (especially to white men over 35-40), Hillary’s campaign seemed incredibly focused on the message “Trump is sexist, Trump is racist, Trump is xenophobic, Trump lacks the temperament for the job.” She failed to connect with Rust Belt voters on the issues most important to them. As her husband’s campaign stated close to 25 years ago, “It’s the ECONOMY, stupid.”

    This last one is particularly pertinent; I think focusing so much on ‘Trump is racist and his supporters are deplorables’ was her 47% moment. Turns out, people who have underlying racist sentiments don’t take kindly to being called out on them, and may have backfired significantly. See this article which elaborates on what I am trying to state: http://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/15/13595508/racism-trump-research-study

    Unfortunately, I feel that the sureness of the Dem Establishment in their moral prerogative and the superiority of their candidate in their eyes will blind many RFH folks from doing the deep introspection into why she lost and how she failed to connect with voters, and such a failing will cost them in 2018 and 2020 if they do not learn the lessons of 2016.

    For those who are interested, I feel that the following two articles will be of some use:

    https://theintercept.com/2016/11/18/the-stark-contrast-between-the-gops-self-criticism-in-2012-and-the-democrats-blame-everyone-else-posture-now/

    https://hbr.org/2016/11/what-so-many-people-dont-get-about-the-u-s-working-class (soft paywall)

    • Edward, this comment was stuck in moderation because of its length. I approved it, but would prefer in the future if you limit the length.

    • I din’t know. It seems a bit hard to argue the Hillary campaign was THAT wrong when it brought in the majority of voters. I think just a little tweeking in where she campaigned might have made the difference. If all other factors remained the same, but she campaigned in certain states in the rust belt, it could have gotten those electors she needed so badly. And today it would be me feeling bad…

    • @Edward. Well said. It is astonishing how much money was available to the Clinton campaign and they could still lose to Trump:

      Clinton – 1.3 billion
      Trump – 795 million

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/campaign-finance/

  5. Carolyn Classen

    Some of the folks I’ve spoken to said it was all about insider vs. outsider, and that people wanted change, not another dynasty. Who knows? Maybe it was rural voters vs. urban voters too.

  6. As usual, Bob, I think it is very insightful. As best I can figure it, you hit the nail on the head.