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Hillary Clinton Has A Theory To Explain Why White Married Women Didn’t Vote For Her

Hillary-Clinton-What-Happened

Last week, as part of the book tour for her new book, Hillary Clinton made one somewhat astonishing claim in her interview with Vox‘s Ezra Klein about why a majority of white married suburban women ended up voting for Donald Trump instead of her: (Emphasis Mine)

[Clinton] believes James Comey’s October announcement that the FBI would further investigate the handling of her emails while she was secretary of state especially hurt her with women, she told Vox’s Ezra Klein in an interview Tuesday morning. After Comey’s announcement, men could turn to their wives or girlfriends and say, “I told you, she’s going to be in jail. You don’t wanna waste your vote.” And women voters who might have been on the fence decided not to vote for Clinton. “Instead of saying, ‘I’m taking a chance, I’m going to vote,’ it didn’t work,” Clinton said.

“I believe absent Comey, I might’ve picked up 1 or 2 points among white women,” she said. She carried the women’s vote overall, she noted. But white women, she said, tend to base their politics on their understanding of their own security — maybe the idea of voting for a candidate who was about to be “locked up” (in Donald Trump’s words) made some white women voters feel insecure about her.

(…)

She also cited something Sheryl Sandberg told her before the campaign: When a woman advocates for others, she tends to be well-liked. The moment she starts advocating for herself, people tend to turn against her. (She said something similar in an interview with Klein last year, arguing that “when I have a job, I have really high approval ratings,” but when she starts angling for a new job, that goodwill evaporates. She chalked it up to a negative media environment, but others have seen sexism at work in the peaks and valleys of her popularity.)

Clinton made similar comments in an interview with NPR as reported on Twitter:

NPR’s Emma Vigeland criticized Clinton for these remarks:

And Newsweek’s Lineley Sanders:

It’s an inherently sexist idea—that women are incapable of thinking independently from their husbands and partners—particularly when research indicates that men and women both cast their votes based on major issues, such as the economy, terrorism and jobs.

In the interview, Clinton suggested that women heeded pressure from men not to vote for her, citing a conversation with Sheryl Sandberg, a Facebook executive and women’s rights activist.

“Many women, and let’s talk about white women since that’s the group I lost, are really quite politically dependent on their view of their own security and own position in society and what works for them,” she said.

Clinton received 43 percent of the white women’s vote in 2016, while Trump took 53 percent, according to exit polls. But Clinton did win a majority of white female college graduates, while Trump won non-college-educated white women.

Clinton admits that she hoped gender would play a role in getting her more votes than a traditional Democratic nominee. Clinton felt the female demographic would share her goal of becoming the first female president of the United States.

“But gender is not the motivating factor that race was for President Obama,” she said.

I have criticized Clinton on a few occasions (see here and here) for blaming other people for her loss rather than looking in the mirror and realizing that her own flaws and mistakes, and the mistakes her campaign made during the General Election likely played a much larger role in the outcome of the election than any other single factor. That being said, it’s not unfair at all for her to say that Comey’s decision to release that letter in late October was one of the many events that occurred in 2016 and well before that played a role in shaping public opinion about Clinton as a person and that these opinions helped shape their opinions as to how to vote. At some point, we’re likely to see a detailed analysis of Exit Polling and other data that looks at these various factors and tries to determine what the major factors in deciding the election might have been. Even before then, though, it would be foolish to deny that any number of factors might have played a role on the level of the individual voter and that these individual votes may have even had some impact on the outcome of the vote in some states. In a nation where more than 136 million people cast ballots, though, it’s difficult if not impossible to say that any single factor played enough of a role to make a difference in the outcome of the election. As a result, this is a subject that is likely to be hotly debated for some time to come, or at least until the next election rolls around and we have something else to talk about.

Putting that part of Clinton’s statements to the side, what caught my eye was what Clinton said in an effort to explain why she lost the vote of married white women in suburban communities, a voting block that has been increasingly leaning Democratic in elections across the country for years now, especially in swing states.

To put it bluntly, and this is based on my interpretation of what she said, what Clinton seems to be plainly arguing here is that some percentage of these voters voted the way they did because their husbands, boyfriends, or other male family members told them to vote a certain way and that they did so notwithstanding the fact that voting is an inherently private act, meaning that nobody will ever know how you voted. It strikes me that this is a view of women, particularly educated suburban women, many of whom are in the working world while juggling a marriage, a household, and living their own lives, that sees them as being so weak-minded that they can be intimidated into deciding who to vote for by the men in their lives be it a husband, boyfriend, father, brother, or close friend. Is it possible that this is true in some cases? Certainly, anything is possible, but it seems hard to believe that a sizeable number of these women who voted for Trump did so for this reason, and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to support this contention. Indeed, as Sanders notes above, post-election polling by Gallup shows that men and women both based their vote on the same basic reasons that voters have been doing for countless years, the economy, terrorism, and jobs. If a man were stating this, they would undoubtedly be called misogynistic for asserting that women are so simple-minded and pliable that they can be influenced into deciding who to vote for by other people, especially when the women in question are, as I said, generally educated and many of them work outside the home.

I bring this up for two reasons.

First of all, this is yet another example of Clinton attempting to find someone else to blame for her loss other than herself and her campaign. Since her book was released, she’s blaming everyone from James Comey and the Russians to the media and the way the debates were handled. As I said above, it is no doubt the case that some or a group of these factors may have had an impact on the outcome of the race on an individual level, and that these individual voters could have had some impact on the outcome of the election. It’s far too early to say that these individual factors, or any group of them, had a decisive impact on the race, of course, and we may never know for sure. However, it’s not illegitimate for a losing a candidate but it’s not entirely illegitimate for a losing campaign to point to these factors as at least a partial explanation for what happened.

The second reason I bring this up is that of a line of argument I’ve seen from Clinton supporters in conversations online in social media world and elsewhere. Basically, for these people, anyone who seems to be a suggestion that Clinton lost because of some of her own personal flaws and mistakes or the mistakes of her campaign is automatically labelled a misogynist, especially if the person making the comment happens to be male. Is it possible that some of the people who say stuff like this actually is a misogynist? I suppose so, but the fact of the matter is that these types of questions get asked about every candidate who loses an election. Indeed, similar questions were asked back in 2008 when Clinton what seemed at first like it was going to be an easy victory for the Democratic Party’s nomination to a guy named Barack Obama. There is nothing wrong with asking these questions, and asking them does not make one a “misogynist.”

However, after reading the comments Clinton made in her interviews with Ezra Klein and NPR, if criticizing Clinton can be misogynist, what does that mean for a woman who is essentially arguing that (1) she was entitled to the votes of women simply because she was a woman and (2) that many women didn’t vote for her because the men in their lives told them not to?

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Let me get this straight: Clinton thinks that educated white women–you know, doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors, scientists, business executives–didn’t vote for her because their husbands or boyfriends told…them…not…to.

    Sweet effing…seriously? Seriously? That sh!t got past an editor? This is what Clinton really thinks?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 8

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    There’s a class aspect to this as well. Chuck Schumer put it bluntly when he said in 2016, “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

    The Clinton wing cannot accept their strategy was a failure. They are convinced the future belongs to affluent professionals and their party is the natural home of this group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  3. Stephen Karlson says:

    How many of those women might have been turned off by you know who calling a husband, a son, a brother, or a boyfriend “deplorable?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

  4. SKI says:

    First, again we have people who didn’t actually read her book pontificating on what she said – out of context.

    Second, this wasn’t from her book but from an interview with Ezra Klein.

    Third, it is actually demonstrated repeatedly over the past 70 years that a percentage of women vote in accordance with their partners’ wishes. There is a ton of research in this area that confirms this. Whether you think it is ridiculous or not, and all anecdotes aside, it has been true in practice.

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  5. michael reynolds says:

    I think the underlying problem in understanding this is that the feminist political model was and is wrongly-conceived. Following the success of the Civil Rights movement it was natural for women to seize on that model, to picture themselves as an oppressed minority being ruthlessly exploited not by whites but by men.

    There are two big problems with that. First, women are not a minority. African-Americans are 13% of the population. There is no realistic possibility that 13% will ever be able to dominate politics. But women are 51% and can take complete control of American politics any day they choose to do so. The black vote is even less effective than it might be due to geographical factors. But women? Women are more than half the population in virtually every state, county and city. That’s not a difference of degree, it’s a difference in kind.

    The second problem is that women don’t buy the oppression model. Of course in reality women are widely underpaid, ignored and sidelined. Far less prevalent but still sickeningly common, women are beaten, abused, raped. But despite the best efforts of feminists, women simply do not buy into the ‘men bad’ world view. The truth is most women seem to like men. They may hate the bad guys, they may find men obnoxious and overbearing, but women still basically, for the most part, kind of like men. God knows why, but they do.

    A model that treats women as analogous to African-Americans does not work for the simple reason that 51% in a democracy is massive political power, power black people have no chance of equaling. And a model based on hostility to men as an oppressor class runs up against the real world experience of women, most of whom have boyfriends or husbands or fathers who they simply cannot recognize from feminist analyses.

    Compounding this basic error is the unfortunate fact that the defining issue came to be not equal pay but abortion. All by itself that issue peels off a large number of women, and their opposition is not some male-created phenomenon, it comes from religious conviction.

    There is never going to be a 51% voting bloc any more than there’ll be a 49% voting bloc. Male and Female are categories that cover far too much ground for any notion of gender solidarity to hold. And if anyone were going to inspire the 51% to something like unity it would not be a candidate who, though eminently qualified and capable, is seen to have risen to prominence on the back of a husband like Bill Clinton.

    Political women need to stop focusing on ‘women’ and look at issues, issues which may well be about redressing inequities, and where they will find many male allies. The us against them mentality that persists in feminism is a political loser. This is not middle school. We’re not playing boys against girls, and insisting on seeing the world in those terms divides woman from the men who share their beliefs. It’s not boys against girls, it’s women and men against aszholes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2

  6. gVOR08 says:

    I have criticized Clinton on a few occasions

    Doug Mataconis, Master of Understatement, strikes again.

    Hillary Clinton has found another group to blame for her loss, educated white married women in suburbia.

    FFS give it a rest.

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  7. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Bravo, Michael. Very well said. I can only add that women probably vote the way the men in their lives do because they already share the same world view. Could you share bed and board with an ardent female Trumpkin? Would you want to be in the same zip code?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  8. Facebones says:

    Male politician looks at the reasons he lost: Conducting a post mortem, soul searching, campaign autopsy, or any of the dozen other phrases I heard in the wake of the 2012 republican loss to Obama.

    Hillary Clinton looks at the reasons she lost: STOP BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT, YOU SHREW!!!! PUT ON THIS HAIRSHIRT AND WHIP YOURSELF!!!

    Hillary has referenced Comey’s unprecedented letter to congress, Russian ratfvcking, bitter Bernie Bros, and a media that hyped up her email server while using Donald Trump to get ratings and clicks as factors contributing to her loss. Are any of those reasons inaccurate? Are any of those lies? It would be stupid to pretend that they were non-factors.

    No, but rather than do any kind of look at whether they might have treated Hillary Clinton unfairly, the political media demands she do a Walk of Shame so they can pelt her with garbage.

    (Oh, and double fvck the NY Times for perpetuating 25 years of the Clinton Rules and then begging for subscriptions after Trump’s win because they’re needed “now, more than ever.”)

    I honestly can’t wait for Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris to run for president, so everyone who’s been claiming how their coverage or Hillary had nothing at all to do with sexism and will gladly support any other woman so they can prove just how much of a hypocrite they are.

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  9. Franklin says:

    @CSK: I think we need to separate this out a bit. The general post is about white married women, and doesn’t explicitly say educated or not.

    And if one does separate it by education, Clinton does win. From the Newsweek blurb: “But Clinton did win a majority of white female college graduates, while Trump won non-college-educated white women.”

    Frankly I accept the fact that many women still take direction from their husbands. My mother appeared to outsiders as a typical white suburban conservative Christian woman, often deferring to my father when political discussions came up. Those who knew her best, however, discovered a keen mind with nuanced positions (or sometimes even startling admissions like a pro-choice sympathy), even if she offered her takes with the modest, “but who cares what little-old-me thinks?” That said, she still voted straight-ticket Republican.

    Finally, I don’t feel that this opinion is sexist in itself, but rather an acknowledgement of the effects of sexism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  10. drj says:

    @Doug

    Since her book was released, she’s blaming everyone from James Comey and the Russians to the media and the way the debates were handled.

    Obviously, Clinton made mistakes (something she repeatedly acknowledged herself), but that doesn’t mean that were no outside factors that put her a couple of scores behind through no fault of her own.

    Comey, the media, and the Russians feature prominently on a list of such factors. Clinton is absolutely right in pointing that out.

    Moreover, she’s is telling us that she lost, partly because there was no level playing field.

    Maybe she is even doing us all a favor by pointing out some of the institutional barriers that held her back, so that perhaps some of those responsible might think just a little bit harder, might be just a little bit more honest the next time? That would be a very good thing, indeed.

    what Clinton seems to be plainly arguing here is that some percentage of these voters voted the way they did because their husbands, boyfriends, or other male family members told them to vote a certain way and that they did so notwithstanding the fact that voting is an inherently private act.

    It took me two seconds to find this. Does this mean Clinton is right? Maybe not, but she’s clearly holding a position that is not unreasonable.

    All in all, I think you are being rather unfair toward Clinton. Not for the first time either, if I may say so.

    And I’m no Clinton fan.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  11. CSK says:

    @Franklin:

    Well, married suburban white women do tend to be fairly well-educated. But I take your point.

    With respect to your mother: Were her private political opinions radically different from those of your father?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. SKI says:

    Since her book was released, she’s blaming everyone from James Comey and the Russians to the media and the way the debates were handled.

    I got $50 to the charity of your choice, Doug, that you haven’t actually read her book.

    Those I know who have read her book are pretty clear that while she discusses a myriad of factors that were involved, she takes responsibility repeatedly and clearly.

    Your biases are showing, Doug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  13. KM says:

    @Stephen Karlson:

    How many of those women might have been turned off by you know who calling a husband, a son, a brother, or a boyfriend “deplorable?”

    Probably the same amount that tell the police their son was a “good boy, he’d never do anything like that officer!” or pretend their husband’s aren’t cheating on them “he’s just working late.”

    Never understate the denial someone can go into to deny that they are associated with a complete asshat. People got mad for being *called* deplorable, not that they actually *are*. It’s the label and social stigma they are furious with but consider the behavior that got them that label to be just fine. See all the people suddenly supporting Nazis because they don’t like the “antifa” or “both sides do it” – but don’t you DARE call them a white supremacist!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  14. Gromitt Gunn says:

    There’s an entire body of social science that investigate the way that family units vote. It certainly can be a factor.

    And is one of the main science-based arguments against voting by mail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  15. Skookum says:

    You;re eagerness to once more dump on Hillary Clinton convinces me, Never Trump Doug Mataconis, that she will always be judged by a different bar than her male peers. You disappoint me.Why didn’t you also focus on things that she said in her book and interview that you did agree with? Why didn’t you at least make an attempt to be fair? And then to minimize the acceptance of Sean Spicer as a celebrity? As stated in another comment, FFS, shut up about HRC. Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  16. Franklin says:

    @CSK: No, not radically different, because I think they tempered each other. But on issues of social and economic equity, one would consider her much more caring. (Except on LGBQT issues, where it was my father who had the open mind.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. MarkedMan says:

    Looking at the context of the interview, she knew she lost married white men, big time. It is not unreasonable to assume that they tried to convince their wife or girlfriend to vote for Trump. Inasmuch that Comey violated clearly defined ethics standards in order to give them additional ammunition to work with, well, I think it is reasonable to assume it cost her a point or two. And that’s exactly what she said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  18. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    Not a fan of Mrs. Clinton. Find the whole passage quoted a little on the lame side as excuses go.

    Having given both of my disclaimers, I will now note that during my teaching career in the US I have
    1) seen too many examples of young women under performing in classes that they were taking with their obviously less talented boyfriends/significant others/husbands, 2) watched women subordinate their careers and personal goals for the sake of a relationship/marriage, and 3) watched young women change their educational and career directions for the goal of getting married.

    It is not for me to say whether any of the above are good or poor trades, examples of the rampant sexism that still pervades our society, or examples of aberrant behavior outside the norm. But they do make Mrs. Clinton’s actual statement of “…I might’ve picked up 1 or 2 points among white women” a reasonable conjecture. Those who wish to believe that she’s “simply blaming others for her own faults” are welcome to ride their hobby horses wherever those gallant steeds will take them. She and the Democrats need to look at all of the factors that contributed to the result–including the possibility that this was simply a GOP year and that even a vilest evah (!) GOP candidate did not undo that phenomenon. If one of the things that they learn is to not pick a candidate (male or female–but probably especially not female) who has been a lightning rod for criticism for 30 some years they will have learned something they didn’t in 2016.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. george says:

    Or maybe she lost married white women because some of them too like a change in government after a party has been charge for two terms.

    The rule which has held for all but one Presidential election in the last six decades. Its funny, the data now shows that the votes went just like it was predicted to in 2015 (before Trump was running, before Clinton had the D’s candidacy), a prediction simply based on most people always voting for who they always vote for, and a small percentage of truly independent voters continuing their preference for alternating the party in power every two terms.

    I’d argue that the outcome of the election had very little to do with either Clinton or Trump. Get away from forums like this, and talk to people. Most know almost nothing about Clinton or Trump (so little that 40% won’t bother to vote at all), and vote either for the party they always vote for, or vote to change things up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. Lounsbury says:

    @SKI: so the irrelevancy about where she said this- quite besides the point made by Doug – and btw she’s right is your response?

    Seems rather like the old hard Left Marxist canard of False Consciousness to explain why their ideas did not catch on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  21. SKI says:

    @Lounsbury: you aren’t very good at basic reading comprehension.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  22. Kylopod says:

    @george: While I agree with your general point, these things are not as set in stone as you are implying. Al Gore and Hillary Clinton failed to win a third term for their party, but they both won the popular vote, and Gore essentially won the election in every meaningful sense other than that he wasn’t the one in the White House at the end. Moroever, in 1960, 1968, and 1976, a party came within a hair’s breadth of winning a third consecutive term. I agree that the evidence suggests it’s harder for a party to win three consecutive terms than two, but none of that dictates that a candidate running for their party’s third consecutive term is destined to lose: with the exception of 1988, all these examples were extremely close elections and could easily have gone either way. Very little would have needed to change for any of these elections to have had a different outcome. That’s why when people talk about stuff like the Comey letter they aren’t necessarily
    “blame-shifting,” they are simply recognizing that in any close election, seemingly marginal events can make all the difference in the world.

    A few years ago, Nate Silver wrote a piece called “The White House is not a metronome,” which pushed back against the argument that the party controlling the White House has some ingrained tendency to flip back and forth every eight years. He examined the historical evidence, but unlike some other commentators, he focused less on the ultimate outcome of these elections than with the margins of victory in each case:

    [L]ooking at wins and losses in such a binary way is probably not the best way to evaluate the evidence. Many United States elections, as in 2000 and 1960, have essentially been ties, where the most minor variations in the flow of the campaign might have changed the winner of the Electoral College or popular vote. With this in mind, it is better to examine margins of victory.

    Incidentally, this is close to a universal principle of statistical analysis. It’s almost always more robust to evaluate the margin by which a given outcome occurs than to look at the variable as black or white, win or loss, hit or miss, on or off.

    Silver concludes, after looking at the evidence, that it’s not so much that running for a third term is unusually hard as that parties running for a second term have an ingrained advantage (as I mentioned to you in the other thread, the period of 1977-1981 was the only time in over 100 years that a party has held onto the White House for no longer than a single term), and that advantage disappears when seeking a third term, so that it falls back to 50-50.

    The reason the poli-sci models tended to predict a Republican victory in 2016 wasn’t just that Dems had held the White House for two consecutive terms–it was that combined with a slowdown in economic growth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  23. MarkedMan says:

    I haven’t read her book yet, although it is on my birthday list and my wife did just make a sudden trip to Barnes and Noble. But from everything I’ve read she analyzes in great detail all the things that she feels influenced the election, including her own decisions and gaffes. But to people like Doug and some of the other commenters here, they don’t need to listen to her, or read her book, or look at their own biases. The only thing they want to hear is that she admits she is a dislikeable person who got above herself thinking someone like her could ever be qualified to be President.

    As for not picking someone that the Republicans have criticized for 30 years, I’ll just repeat what I’ve said before. If it wasn’t Clinton, it would be someone else. The Republicans are spectacularly good at taking an opponents strengths and making people dislike them because of it. Al Gore championed moving the Internet from a Defense research project to a commercial venture despite thousands of naysayers. But by the time the Repubs were through with him the mere mention of “Internet” and “Al Gore” together bought an instant visceral reaction of “clownish braggart”. John Kerry was a thrice decorated war hero but by the time the Repubs were done that was a “problem” and people were showing up at his rallies chanting “treason”. And the press were, and are, gullible idiots in this whole process.

    In fact, I suspect that was one of the mistakes the Repubs made against Obama. They felt his weaknesses were so overwhelming, both times, that they attacked him there, instead of on his strengths.

    In my opinion, what was Dem’s biggest mistake? They should have attacked Trump endlessly as being a businessman only on TV, of being a phony loser that had been reduced to selling his name to go on gaudy hotels other people built. That only suckers and phonies did business with him and they ended up as chumps when Trump’s goofy schemes didn’t work out. They should have pounded that home every hour of every day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  24. Andre Kenji says:

    Clinton lost because she was an extremely unpopular candidate. In some sense the Comey letter reinforced this negative perceptions

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/18/16305486/what-really-happened-in-2016

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. Todd says:

    It’s quite possible that practically everything people are saying about the (unfair) reasons Hillary Clinton lost are true.

    Was the media unfair to Hillary Clinton? The evidence seems to point towards quite likely.

    Were many people’s opinions about Hillary Clinton shaped by 3 decades of Republican smears? Again, I think a case can be made that it could be true.

    Was there misogyny on the campaign trail, and did it possibly cost Clinton some votes? Sure, let’s concede this one too.

    In fact, let’s concede practically every unfair disadvantage Hillary Clinton’s supporters complain about.

    Guess what? The real problem is, none of this should have been at all surprising. It was entirely predictable, yet Democrats decided (possibly as early as late 2008) that Hillary Clinton was going to be their 2016 nominee for President.

    Heck, even the complaints about Bernie Sanders, and how he attacked Clinton’s character and made it harder for her in the general elections are related to this preconceived narrative, that it always was supposed to be her nomination. Clinton’s allies had effectively cleared the field. The primaries were supposed to be a time for Clinton to raise money and hone her message, while Republicans fought amongst themselves. But then one of the “also rans”, who happened to be a septuagenarian independent socialist had the nerve to get popular with young people and totally ruin the plan.

    I am one of those people who says that I would wholeheartedly support a female candidate, and that’s true. I also believe that Hillary Clinton was very qualified to be President, she would have done a great job. My opposition to her was always about electability … because even if we totally ignore character flaws (which have nothing to do with gender), all of the outside forces and events that “happened” to Hillary Clinton during the campaign, and may have contributed to her loss, really shouldn’t have surprised anyone who’d been paying attention.

    When I express sentiments to the effect that I wish Hillary Clinton would just quietly fade into the background of history, it’s nothing at all personal (I don’t “hate” Hillary Clinton … in fact, believe it or not, I don’t even dislike her). The problem is, she is, and always will be a divisive figure whose continued presence on the national stage appears to be helpful mostly to Republicans … and I’m not a fan of Republicans in power. Simple as that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. Todd says:

    To be clear (lest I be accused of being a “Bernie bro”) my opposition to Clinton ended (literally) as soon as it was obvious that she would be the nominee. I supported her during the general campaign and voted for her in the election. In fact I lost a few “progressive” friends who did end up in the “Jill not Hill/Bernie or Bust” camps after June, because I argued that they were being short sighted idiots.

    Unfortunately, I just wasn’t as shocked as a lot of other people when Hillary Clinton lost and Donald Trump became President.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  27. teve tory says:
    I have criticized Clinton on a few occasions

    Doug Mataconis, Master of Understatement, strikes again.

    He may also, once or twice, have been negative about monthly job numbers. ;-P

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. Tyrell says:

    These are the next sub-groups that are on Hillary’s election blame list:
    School bus monitors
    Assistant dog catchers
    Disco dancers
    VCR repairmen
    Senior theater popcorn technicians
    Alan Keyes supporters

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

  29. SKI says:

    @Todd:

    Democrats decided (possibly as early as late 2008) that Hillary Clinton was going to be their 2016 nominee for President

    There were these little things called primaries and caucuses, you may have heard of them. They happened in 2016.

    HRC was the front-runner in 2016, just as she was in 2008. She had the name recognition and the contacts and the supporters. No individual or cabal “decided” that she would be ordained. There was no smoke-filled room. People actually got out and voted for her – the same way they had done for every other nominee in decades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  30. Sleeping Dog says:

    Hillary lost because she couldn’t answer 2 salient questions. Why should she have been elected President. i.e. what would she do for the average voter and Why could she, despite being the consummate insider, be the more effective agent for change in Washington. To the first question her responses were often too cute by half and couldn’t be related to by the average voter and she never seemed to have a concise, coherent answer to the second.

    At the end of the day Hil lost because she couldn’t excite core Democratic voters. She badly trailed Obama among black voters and liberal activists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  31. Todd says:

    @MarkedMan:

    If it wasn’t Clinton, it would be someone else. The Republicans are spectacularly good at taking an opponents strengths and making people dislike them because of it.

    I know it feels like this is an accurate description of 3 of our last 5 elections, but I’m not sure it really is. I do agree that Democrats seem to have a built in disadvantage when it comes to how the press will pick up and amplify the Republican’s messaging … which they are very good at. But I propose that it only works against a certain type of candidate. It did not work against Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. But Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore were very similar candidates, in that they all had excellent resumes, but none of them would ever be accused of being charismatic, or talented campaigners who easily connected with people.

    If there’s a lesson Democrats should take going into 2020 (based on looking at all the elections from 1992 on) it’s that political talent should probably garner more (possibly much more) importance than resume when deciding who their nominee will be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. Todd says:

    @SKI: No other top tier Democrat entered the primary race. We can believe that was just coincidence, or we can believe that some groundwork went into making it (at least likely to) happen. As it worked out, as late as the summer/fall of 2015 nobody, including Bernie Sanders himself expected that Clinton’s eventual nomination would ever be in any real doubt. (and one could make a case that it never really was in doubt even after Sander’s rise).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  33. Todd says:

    @SKI: No other top tier Democrat entered the primary race. We can believe that was just coincidence, or we can believe that some groundwork went into making it (at least likely to) happen. As it worked out, as late as the summer/fall of 2015 nobody, including Bernie Sanders himself expected that Clinton’s eventual nomination would ever be in any real doubt. (and one could make a case that it never really was in doubt even after Sanders’ rise).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Kylopod says:

    @Todd:

    The real problem is, none of this should have been at all surprising. It was entirely predictable, yet Democrats decided (possibly as early as late 2008) that Hillary Clinton was going to be their 2016 nominee for President.

    You already know I’m in agreement with you that the party erred in trying to clear the field by making sure other potentially strong candidates stayed out of the race, so that the entire primary field ended up consisting of her, Sanders, an obscure Maryland governor, and two mavericky ex-Republicans.

    But for all Hillary’s flaws, I don’t think there was any way to foresee that her favorability ratings would sink as unprecedentedly low as they did in 2016. They never had before, in her decades-long career–not after Whitewater, not after Lewinsky, not after Benghazi. They were at 66% favorable in 2012. Even the last time she ran for president, they were around 55%.

    I just have this feeling like we’ve hit Peak Partisan, and anyone who happens to win their party’s nomination will become the anti-Christ to close to half of all American voters. Clearly some candidates are better at resisting this than others, and yes, there are Democrats who could have beaten Donald Trump in 2016. But it was never going to be Goldwater-Johnson. As soon as Trump won the GOP nomination, the Dems could have been running anyone–Bernie, Biden, Obama, Zombie FDR–and Trump would still have been guaranteed a floor of roughly 45% of the vote. That’s just the way modern politics works.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. OldSouth says:

    …’what does that mean for a woman who is essentially arguing that (1) she was entitled to the votes of women simply because she was a woman and (2) that many women didn’t vote for her because the men in their lives told them not to?’

    Perhaps it was number (1), that sense of entitlement, more than number (2). She seemed to project an attitude of ‘My election is inevitable, stand aside’, which perhaps was off-putting to many.

    And, unspoken here, but I suspect contemplated in private amongst women who witnessed the 1990’s–Did they really feel comfortable voting for Bill’s wife, who defended his sorry wayward behavior toward women with a pitbull sort of ferocity? What would the country do with Bill, back in a sensitive role in public life?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. MarkedMan says:

    Many of you are absolutely convinced Clinton had no chance of winning. On the contrary, I suspect she might have beaten a Mitt Romney or a Jeb Bush. And it’s not just because 18 Republicans failed to beat Trump, but because of her first Senate campaign (and to a lesser extent, her second). I lived in New York at the time and the conventional wisdom was she was:
    1) An awkward campaigner
    2) A carpet bagger to the nth degree
    3) People were just sick of the whole Hillary and Bill thing
    4) She felt she was owed it
    So she didn’t have a shot of winning.

    And she did her usual thing of getting in there and working the details. More importantly her opposition had lived inside the self reinforcing Limbaugh/Hannity/Fox News bubble for so long that the Republican campaign consisted of “But she’s HILLARY!” as if that was enough. She hunkered down, learned the local issues, cultivated alliances, made deals and ended up winning. And she was an effective and well liked Senator.

    Trump is a Black Swan. Everyone feels confident they know how Hillary or someone else could have beaten him, but, well, 18 Republicans couldn’t figure it out either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  37. Kylopod says:

    @OldSouth:

    Did they really feel comfortable voting for Bill’s wife, who defended his sorry wayward behavior toward women with a pitbull sort of ferocity?

    When did she ever defend Bill’s wayward behavior?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Many of you are absolutely convinced Clinton had no chance of winning.

    Not at all; anyone who loses by fewer than 80,000 votes by definition had a chance of winning.

    On the contrary, I suspect she might have beaten a Mitt Romney or a Jeb Bush.

    If she couldn’t beat a pussy-grabber who made most of the country gag, who had an absolutely minimal campaign operation, and whom Republican power-brokers were attempting to axe from the ticket as late as October, the default assumption should be that a Romney or Bush (or Rubio or Kasich) would have steamrolled her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  39. An Interested Party says:

    Or maybe she lost married white women because some of them too like a change in government after a party has been charge for two terms.

    If this is true, I wonder how many of those women like the change they got in the government…

    If there’s a lesson Democrats should take going into 2020 (based on looking at all the elections from 1992 on) it’s that political talent should probably garner more (possibly much more) importance than resume when deciding who their nominee will be.

    So who might that favor among possible Democratic candidates…hmm…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. george says:

    @Kylopod:

    Thanks for the links, I’ll give them a read, though its hard not to like the metronome model. A lot of things (most of thermodynamics) work on the basis of large numbers of small forces (or potential energies) to give a predictable macroscopic result even if the underlying mechanisms are diverse, so I’m biased towards that model. But its good to have biases challenged.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. george says:

    @An Interested Party:

    If this is true, I wonder how many of those women like the change they got in the government…

    Quite seriously, probably most of them don’t care, because they don’t like any party. The way its been explained to me is that “they’re all crooks, so you want to change them before they get burrowed in too deep.”

    For all the horrible things Trump is doing and saying, for a lot of people (probably almost all of the ones who voted for him) it makes no day to day difference in their lives. If he starts a war with North Korea (entirely possible, he’s that nuts) that’ll affect their day to day existence, but otherwise what he says is irrelevant to them (most don’t spend a minute a day listening to politics), and what he does has long term rather than short term consequences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. Andy says:

    I showed this to my wife (white, engineering PhD, very successful) and we both laughed. I told her that for the next election, I would withhold sex from her if she didn’t vote the way I wanted – she got a kick out of that.

    Clinton’s various post-election statements and excuses just confirmed to the both of us that third party was the best option in 2016. This being OTB, I know the downvotes are inbound for the heresy of voting third party, but we do not regret our choices one bit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  43. An Interested Party says:

    For all the horrible things Trump is doing and saying, for a lot of people (probably almost all of the ones who voted for him) it makes no day to day difference in their lives.

    Considering choices like Neil Gorsuch, those people would be mistaken to believe that there will be no difference in their day to day lives…

    …for the heresy of voting third party…

    Not so much heresy as it is futility, as no third party presidential candidate has any possibility of winning an election…but hey, at least you can feel pure and unsoiled…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  44. Kylopod says:

    @Andy:

    This being OTB, I know the downvotes are inbound for the heresy of voting third party, but we do not regret our choices one bit.

    Well if you live in New York or Tennessee or some other state where your vote wasn’t likely to matter, then I don’t mind so much. However, if you live in Wisconsin or Michigan or Pennsylvania….

    BRING THE PITCHFORKS!!!!!

    (j/k)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. Andy says:

    @Kylopod:

    Close, Florida!

    @An Interested Party:

    It has nothing to do with purity and potential for winning the election is irrelevant (to me at least).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  46. Andre Kenji says:

    @Kylopod:

    But for all Hillary’s flaws, I don’t think there was any way to foresee that her favorability ratings would sink as unprecedentedly low as they did in 2016.

    I argued here on OTB that people were confusing “name recognition” with “popularity”, but even I was surprised with her level of unpopularity. I think that she had her best poll numbers during the Democratic Convention because Bill Clinton managed to paint her as a human being during his long speech, and she forget to do that in the campaign.

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  47. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    You’re as foolish as a Trump voter though perhaps less morally contemptible. You cast a vote that is quite likely to result in great harm to your own country, to your fellow Americans. And you’re proud of that? Screw you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  48. MBunge says:

    @Kylopod: I don’t think there was any way to foresee that her favorability ratings would sink as unprecedentedly low as they did in 2016.

    According to Gallup, Hilary’s unfavorable rating went higher than her favorable rating (46-45) in their July 22 to August 4, 2015 survey and stayed higher for the rest of the campaign. Her unfavorable rating in Gallup was 10 points higher than her favorable (51-41) by the August 19 to September 1, 2015 survey. By January 30 to February 13, Hilary’s unfavorable rating was 12 points higher than her favorable (53-41) and a double digit gap that frequently grew even larger was shown in virtually every single Gallup poll for the rest of the campaign.

    Hilary’s unpopularity was blindingly obvious SIX MONTHS before Democrats cast a single ballot to pick their 2016 Presidential nominee. At the time the first ballots were cast in Iowa and New Hampshire, a resounding majority of the public was telling Democrats they didn’t want to vote for Hilary and that message continued to be loud, clear, and unmistakable AT EVERY SINGLE POINT OF THE 2016 CAMPAIGN.

    This is not debatable. This is not arguable. These simple facts were there for anyone to see. Hilary was hugely unpopular, for a Presidential candidate, long before anyone even dreamed her opponent would be the even more unpopular Donald Trump.

    Before you can understand how Hilary lost, you have to understand how people like Kylopod could be and still are so crushingly ignorant.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  49. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You’re not in charge, Reynolds. Andy doesn’t have to answer to you or anyone else for his vote. He did his duty. You and yours are the ones who failed and any harm done to the country is your responsibility.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  50. Kylopod says:

    @MBunge:

    According to Gallup, Hilary’s unfavorable rating went higher than her favorable rating (46-45) in their July 22 to August 4, 2015 survey

    Bill Clinton’s ratings were comparably bad in early 1992. One poll had his favorability at 37/46, another 34/47. By the summer they’d improved dramatically–59/34–and he went on to win the election handily. In fact most candidates see their ratings rise after they emerge from the primaries, due to the party faithful rallying around their nominee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Screw you huh? And you had such a good comment near the start of this thread…

    When your party (or the GoP for that matter) decides to nominate someone who isn’t a dishonest, over-privileged warmonger I will seriously consider voting for them.

    As I believe I’ve mentioned to you before, I vote mainly based on foreign policy and this last year I could not, in good conscious, vote for either candidate (and neither could my wife). Trump – well what more can be said there? Clinton, on the other hand, has been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy decision in her career.

    I always vote for the person, regardless of affiliation, who I think is the best candidate or at least the least bad. Given how terrible both major party candidates were this year, third party was an easy “less bad” choice. The common psychological necessity to vote for someone “who has a chance” never made sense to me but I don’t begrudge anyone’s calculus for exercising their right to vote.

    So you can say “screw you” as much as you like but it won’t change my calculus. Hostility is certainly a strange way to try to get people to agree with you, but whatever. It’s not my fault your party and the GoP can’t get their shit together. They both would go the way of the whigs if they weren’t so completely entrenched like bulbous ticks in America’s body politic. How about you clean your own house before lecturing others? Just a thought….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  52. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    You cast a stupid, destructive, reckless vote. You can rationalize all day long but it won’t change that fact. We are called upon as voters to act for the larger interests of the country and of our fellow Americans. We are called upon to look beyond our own narcissism. You failed.

    Not every choice is between a turd and a berry pie. Most choices are between bad and worse. If you are incapable of making those sorts of choices then you have failed as a voter. So when 20 million people lose health coverage, or we end up in a war in Korea, that’s on you. Hiking your skirts and insisting that you’re above it all is egotism, not patriotism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  53. drj says:

    @Andy:

    The question when it comes to voting is: do I want to express myself, or do I want to make a positive impact on society as a whole?

    You went with “I want to express myself,” which, I guess, is fine if both candidates in a two-party system are equally bad.

    But since we’re, in fact, not talking about two equally bad candidates (far from it, actually), you picked the irresponsible and selfish option.

    To you, your feelings were more important than preventing a Trump presidency.

    Deal with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  54. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:
    Oh, good, it’s Mike. Hey, remember just yesterday taunting me with the Russia investigation?

    Trump’s campaign manager will be indicted. FBI told him so. In fact the FBI had Trump’s campaign manager under surveillance for years under a FISA warrant, and when they finally went in to seize evidence you know how they did it? With a lock-picking warrant. Manafort didn’t wake up when the feebs rang his bell, he woke up when they banged on his bedroom door.

    Trump’s first national security advisor will also be indicted. Flynn is going to prison. Flynn, who Trump insisted on keeping on despite a multitude of warnings.

    And Fredo. . . er, Don Jr. . . . suddenly doesn’t want his Secret Service detail.

    Hmmm. Some might call that worrying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  55. Andre Kenji says:

    The Democrats are not entitled to Andy’s vote. If they want Andy to vote for them they should think about people like him when they are pushing for a candidate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  56. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Andy:

    I vote mainly based on foreign policy

    And Stein or Gary Johnson made more sense than Clinton or Trump? REALLY? No, I call BS on that one!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  57. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @drj: I don’t see Andy as having any problems at all rationalizing accepting the consequences of his choice. More importantly, he demonstrates the phenomenon that george was talking about up thread. Whatever Trump will do probably won’t affect him very much, so Trump being totally inept and dangerous is not a concern for him.

    To some degree, I see his point. He’s middle class (probably upper middle), economically and socially comfortable, (I assume) secure in his employment, and confident of his status in society. What’s 4 or 8 or even 12 years of inept, socially destructive, geopolitically reckless Republican governance going to do to him?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  58. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    If they want Andy to vote for them they should think about people like him when they are pushing for a candidate.

    I see your point, but from what I have seen from Andy here, I’d rather they didn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  59. michael reynolds says:

    @Andre Kenji:
    No, that’s wrong. Voters are not consumers. A presidential candidate is not the next Ben and Jerry’s flavor, it’s a person in control of thousands of nuclear weapons among other things.

    This narcissistic, me me me, all me, attitude is absolutely inappropriate when voting is involved. It is immoral. It is childish.

    There were two candidates who might become POTUS, one highly qualified and the other the least fit candidate in the history of American presidential politics. I don’t give a god damn whether Andy wanted mint chocolate chip, or whether his ego had been sufficiently stroked, he had a choice to make, and what he chose was, “Waaah, I want another flavor!”

    I hate to use an old-fashioned word, but voters have a duty. A duty. Andy failed at performing that duty.

    I am all about forgiving people’s stupid mistakes – I’ve made some astoundingly stupid mistakes myself. But there is no forgiveness without contrition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  60. Andre Kenji says:

    @michael reynolds:

    A presidential candidate is not the next Ben and Jerry’s flavor, it’s a person in control of thousands of nuclear weapons among other things.

    We are not talking about ice cream.

    But Hillary Clinton voted for the AUMF against Iraq(To me, this vote can only be explained by either cowardice or incompetence, everyone that I knew at the time knew that the Weapons of Mass Destruction were a bad joke) and in a bipartisan democracy “not voting” is an important power that voters have over the election. Candidates should not take voters for granted just because you are running against a Orange Cheeto, that’s bad for democracy.

    I know that since I live in a country that has mandatory voting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  61. Monala says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I think she did answer the first question, again and again, but it was too often ignored by the media. You’re right about the second question, however.

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  62. Stephen Karlson says:

    @KM: That’s real encouraging: some unspecified proportion, or perhaps some large number, that “amount” being ambiguous, of women voters are enablers in the same way that moms of juvenile delinquents are, or wives with cheating husbands are. And some unspecified proportion of all Trump voters hold attitudes that, what, should disqualify them from voting?

    Last time I checked, the franchise was not restricted to people who understand the vocabulary Herbert Croly and Sinclair Lewis provided for showing their Moral Superiority to everyone else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  63. Todd says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Many of you are absolutely convinced Clinton had no chance of winning.

    Who said that? I know I never did.

    I always thought that Clinton was the favorite to win. I just thought that the smaller probability that she could lose was a bigger risk than Democrats should have been willing to take with so much on the line. No matter what else Trump does, or how long his Presidency lasts, the makeup of the Supreme Court is already significantly different than it could/should have been … and it has the potential to get much much worse (from a left leaning perspective).

    Donald Trump is only in the White House because Democrats nominated someone who, while obviously much better qualified, was nonetheless nearly as unpopular … albeit for entirely different, and perhaps even “unfair” reasons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  64. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m not disagreeing with you on what they should be doing.

    But in fact they’re not consumers, but fans of a team. And just like many, and probably most, fans will support their team even when they don’t like the current players, or when that team is doing poorly, so most people will vote for their team even if they don’t like their players or how they’re doing.

    It shouldn’t be that way, but that’s how it is.

    Even more to the point, most aren’t even informed fans. I’ve been in a city during a Stanley Cup run, and people who never followed the NHL were still on-board to support the local team, though they hadn’t watched a minute of hockey and couldn’t name a single player on the team. They figured it was their duty to cheer the team (without actually watching or listening to games, or anything boring like that), so they’d voice a few encouraging words around the water cooler and move on, happy to have done their duty as fans.

    Same is true for most voters. They couldn’t tell you anything more about Trump than “He said ‘you’re fired’ at some point or another”, and nothing more about Clinton than she’d been some President’s wife. Being a consumer would actually be a step up, since people tend to get at least a it of info about the products (at the minimum, does it taste good if its ice-cream).

    There are several million people who are passionately interested in politics, some GOP, some Democratic. That’s a lot of people. But there are 200 million potential voters, and most don’t give a flying-F about politics, presidential or otherwise, and resent even having to spend a minute reading up on it. Half will vote because they’ve been taught they’re supposed to do so, but that doesn’t mean reading up on anything; you simply vote for whatever team you always vote for, thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner even as you’re doing that voting chore thing.

    I know I’m a broken record on this, but the key to winning in 2018 and 2020 is realizing winning elections isn’t about getting to the few million passionate people, but in getting some (minimal) reaction to the hundred plus million who are as likely to read up on politics as they are likely to crack open an issue of “Nature” magazine to read about the latest scientific research.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  65. george says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Some people base their vote just on what’s the funniest options. Write-in votes of course (I wonder how Mickey Mouse did this year), but one friend of mine voted for Johnson because she said it was the only chance she had of ever getting three Presidential votes in one election.

    Her reasoning was as follows:
    1) Her Democratic friends told her a vote for Johnson was a vote for Trump.
    2) Her Republican friends told her a vote for Johnson was a vote for Clinton.
    3) And of course, a vote for Johnson was automatically a vote for Johnson.

    So by voting for Johnson she got three votes with a single ballot, a bargain too rare to pass up.

    Now I’ve no idea if she actually voted for Johnson (I kind of suspect he voted for Clinton, given that she’d volunteered for Obama in the past), but I think she was honestly pissed off at people telling her she was obliged to vote for their candidate, enough so that she didn’t volunteer for anyone. Moreover, I think the whole “those who are not with us are against us” thing is a huge mistake. It was a mistake when George Bush was taking that line around Iraq, it was a mistake during the cold war, and its a mistake in elections.

    Besides, if a vote for Johnson really is a vote for Trump, then Trump got more votes than Clinton (adding Johnson’s 4.5 million to Trump’s total beats Clinton), and that gives away the important point that Clinton got more votes than Trump).

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  66. MarkedMan says:

    The choices at the beginning of the Democratic Primary were O’Malley, Sanders and Clinton. Personally, I’m pretty sure Clinton would have beaten anyone but Trump. And I’m also pretty sure that Trump would have beaten both O’Malley and Sanders.

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  67. Todd says:

    @MarkedMan: The choices the Democrats had at the beginning of the primary season were narrowed down long before 2015. I’m not pushing any kind of conspiracy theory or anything, but other top-tier Democrats made the decision (for whatever reasons) not to enter the race … that had consequences.

    Litigating alternate history is a fool’s errand … nobody has any motivation to change their mind. I will say though, that I find the contention that Hillary Clinton would have beaten a different candidate a bit harder to buy off on after the fact (although I did hold that belief prior to the general election campaign). I don’t see any evidence that any of Clinton’s negatives would have been lessened by competing against a different opponent.

    As for Sanders, I just don’t know. But again, I do find the contention from many mainstream Democrats during the primaries that Republicans were going to be able to magically cause Bernie Sanders to become “just as” (and many here used that exact wording) unpopular as Hillary Clinton had he gotten the nomination to have little to no factual supporting evidence.

    Again, I’m just speculating, but I believe that Joe Biden, with President Obama’s full blown support would have overwhelmingly beaten Donald Trump. As such, May 30th 2015 (the day Beau Biden passed away) could end up being one of the most consequential days in our recent political history.

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  68. wr says:

    @Todd: “No other top tier Democrat entered the primary race. We can believe that was just coincidence, or we can believe that some groundwork went into making it (at least likely to) happen.”

    And no other studio releases a major tentpole film on the same day as a new Star Wars movie. You can choose to believe that everyone is colluding, or come to the conclusion that it seems more prudent to wait for another date.

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  69. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Wow Michael, that is really weak. Your argument boils down to name calling and a bunch of BS pseudo-psychoanalysis of me. All ad hominem.

    Further, you’ve set the criteria where only a vote for Clinton counts and anyone who doesn’t conform to your truth is set upon as not only dumb, but also reckless, dangerous, egotistical and shirking a duty to America. You also don’t seem to get the irony in your attacks.

    And it’s pretty funny for you to lecture me about duty. You know I spent 24 years in public service in the military and as a federal civil servant. My wife just retired after 23 years on active duty. Most of our friends are either military or close ties to the service. They are why I vote on foreign policy above other considerations is because the lives of my friends (and previously myself and my family) quite literally depend on such matters. Questions of war and peace and America’s role in world affairs have always been very high on the priority list. Friends have died fighting in America’s stupid cabinet wars, so for me this is very personal.

    The problem with Clinton for both me and my wife is that she is a warmonger who is perhaps only eclipsed by McCain in recent years. If Clinton’s record and policies were less hawkish I would have voted for her, but I cannot, in good conscious, vote for a candidate who openly advocated for war with Syria as part of her platform and never passed up an opportunity to support putting warheads on foreheads.

    I realize other people have different priorities or were so chicken-shit scared of Trump that they voted for Clinton anyway. I don’t begrudge your support for Clinton or your reasons for voting for her (and that goes for everyone, including Trump supporters,, not just you).

    What you need to understand is that no one has the right to dictate to others what their policy priorities are, how individuals interpret those priorities, and what criteria voters choose to make their choice. And frankly, that is exactly what you are doing – trying to dictate YOUR terms to everyone else and then castigating them when they don’t submit. Well fuck that Michael, I’m not playing your game.

    @Andre Kenji:

    Thank you! I am happy to vote for a Democrat but I will never be in the tank for them absent some serious reform. The last Democrat I voted for was Obama in 2008.

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    And Stein or Gary Johnson made more sense than Clinton or Trump? REALLY? No, I call BS on that one!

    If a more non-interventionist foreign policy is your goal, then Johnson and Stein were the only two candidates who fit that bill. It’s not rocket science.

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    I don’t see Andy as having any problems at all rationalizing accepting the consequences of his choice. More importantly, he demonstrates the phenomenon that george was talking about up thread. Whatever Trump will do probably won’t affect him very much, so Trump being totally inept and dangerous is not a concern for him….[etc. etc. etc.].

    Here’s an internet pro-tip for you: If you want to know more about someone, ask them. Pouring your own biases into a false caricature based on a few bits of information and sprinkling it with assumptions is a waste of everyone’s time and doesn’t reflect favorably on your intellect. Also, read my comment to Michael above – who gets to be President affects me, my family and my friends more than most Americans so your assumption that it won’t affect me very much is 100% wrong. Thanks.

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  70. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Wow Michael, that is really weak. Your argument boils down to name calling and a bunch of BS pseudo-psychoanalysis of me. All ad hominem.

    Further, you’ve set the criteria where only a vote for Clinton counts and anyone who doesn’t conform to your truth is set upon as not only dumb, but also reckless, dangerous, egotistical and shirking a duty to America. You also don’t seem to get the irony in your attacks.

    And it’s pretty funny for you to lecture me about duty. You know I spent 24 years in public service in the military and as a federal civil servant. My wife just retired after 23 years on active duty. Most of our friends are either military or close ties to the service. They are why I vote on foreign policy above other considerations is because the lives of my friends (and previously myself and my family) quite literally depend on such matters. Questions of war and peace and America’s role in world affairs have always been very high on the priority list. Friends have died fighting in America’s stupid cabinet wars, so for me this is very personal.

    The problem with Clinton for both me and my wife is that she is a warmonger who is perhaps only eclipsed by McCain in recent years. If Clinton’s record and policies were less hawkish I would have voted for her, but I cannot, in good conscious, vote for a candidate who openly advocated for war with Syria as part of her platform and never passed up an opportunity to support putting warheads on foreheads.

    I realize other people have different priorities or were so chicken-shlt scared of Trump that they voted for Clinton anyway. I don’t begrudge your support for Clinton or your reasons for voting for her (and that goes for everyone, including Trump supporters,, not just you).

    What you need to understand is that no one has the right to dictate to others what their policy priorities are, how individuals interpret those priorities, and what criteria voters choose to make their choice. And frankly, that is exactly what you are doing – trying to dictate YOUR terms to everyone else and then castigating them when they don’t submit. Well fvck that Michael, I’m not playing your game.

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  71. Andy says:

    Got a comment in the spam filter – would appreciate it if a mod could approve. Thanks!

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  72. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Wow Michael, that is really weak, all ad hominem. You’ve set the criteria where only a vote for Clinton counts and anyone who doesn’t conform to your truth is set upon as not only dumb, but also reckless, dangerous, egotistical and shirking a duty to America.

    And it’s pretty funny for you to lecture me about duty. You probably know I spent 24 years in public service in the military and as a federal civil servant. My wife just retired after 23 years on active duty. Most of our friends are either military or close ties to the service. They are why I vote on foreign policy above other considerations. The lives of my friends (and previously myself and my family) quite literally depend on such matters.

    The problem with Clinton for both me and my wife is that she is a warmonger who is perhaps only eclipsed in that in recent years by John McCain. If Clinton’s record and policies were less hawkish I would have voted for her, but I cannot, in good conscious, vote for a candidate who openly advocated for war with Syria and never passed up an opportunity to support putting warheads on foreheads.

    I realize other people have different priorities and I don’t begrudge your support for Clinton or your reasons for voting for her (and that goes for everyone, including Trump supporters, not just you).

    What you need to understand is that no one has the right to dictate to others what their policy priorities are, how individuals interpret those priorities, and what criteria voters choose to make their choice. And frankly, that is exactly what you are doing – trying to dictate YOUR terms to everyone else and then castigating them with personal insults when they don’t submit. Well f*ck that Michael, I’m not playing your game.

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  73. Kylopod says:

    @wr: The point isn’t that there was some vast centrist conspiracy to keep other Democrats from entering the 2016 race. Nobody’s suggesting that Liz Warren or Andrew Cuomo or whomever were receiving phone calls from the DNC telling them to stay out or else.

    The point is that she was being pushed for years–decades in fact–as the party’s standard-bearer, out of a combination of the effects of dynasty politics and the hard work she did to reach that position. I’m not blaming her for that; far from it. But one way or another, she became a significantly overrated politician. She was consistently treated with a great deal of reverence by others in her party, in a way that never matched her actual talents or achievements. She bore some of the same flaws as her husband but without his political skills. As I wrote here in mid-2014:

    Still, I feel the situation is repeating itself in at least one respect: the way people consistently overrate Hillary’s political skills, which in turn makes her vulnerable because the expectations for her are so damn high…. And when you consider some of the howling mistakes Hillary has made in the past, and the fact that she’s not all that charismatic, you have to be a fool to think she’s automatically a shoo-in for the next election.

    Over the years I’ve read several books presenting an inside account of the 2008 race, and one thing that always strikes out at me is how much she perceived that it was her “turn.” She saw Obama as an arrogant young upstart who wasn’t waiting in line, so to speak. She felt like she was entitled to the nomination, which goes a long way in explaining the rabbit hole her campaign went down in its final days, as well as the lack of a coherent organizing message both times she ran for president.

    Despite what you may think I am not a Hillary hater. I’m perfectly aware she was the target of a decades-long smear campaign. But guess what? So is every top Democrat in the modern era. And while I’m not denying the role that sexism has played in the attacks on her–in fact I’ve written at length about it here–the fact is that Obama was attacked in a heavily racist way (including by the Clintons, I should add). My conclusion from this isn’t that sexism is necessarily a greater barrier than racism today, but that Obama is simply a better skilled politician than she is. Sexism and racism are real factors in today’s politics (including the rise of Trump, of course), but they are not all-purpose explanations for the success or failure of individual politicians, as some liberals treat them.

    So why, for instance, did a politician like Elizabeth Warren, who was quite critical of Hillary in the past, decide to sit out 2016 and even lavish praise on the eventual nominee? Warren is no spring chicken herself; by 2020 she’ll be even older than Hillary was in 2016. If she has any presidential ambitions, she has to have had a powerful reason for waiting. Perhaps she had doubts the Democrats could win a third straight term in the White House, but the likelier explanation is that she didn’t want to cross the Clintons.

    And that’s probably the main reason why all these Democrats declined to enter the race as soon as they realized Hillary would. It’s not a conspiracy, but it is a failure of the party.

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  74. wr says:

    @Kylopod: “the likelier explanation is that she didn’t want to cross the Clintons.”

    Or that, you know, she didn’t want to run for president.

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  75. Kylopod says:

    @wr:

    Or that, you know, she didn’t want to run for president.

    Maybe! Just like Andrew Cuomo didn’t want to run. Or Kirsten Gillibrand. Or Tim Kaine. Or Evan Bayh. Or Deval Patrick. Or Cory Booker. Or Sherrod Brown.

    Doesn’t it strike you as just a tad coincidental that they all “didn’t want to run” that year?

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  76. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Andy: Gee, I’m sorry that I stepped on your toes by speculating about you. Actually I’m not but one is supposed to say things like that in these cases.

    I’ll pass on the pro tips, though. Don’t want to give up my amateur status.

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  77. wr says:

    @Kylopod: Doesn’t it strike you as just a tad coincidental that they all “didn’t want to run” that year?”

    Maybe we could compile a list of about 350,000 Democrats who chose not to run for president, and then we’d have a real conspiracy!

    Running for president is not the default position for most people. The fact that you can name a dozen you think might have run but didn’t hardly suggests any kind of collusion. Yes, the presence of an 800 pound gorilla in the race probably influence some decision-making, but that’s hardly anything new. Why do you insist on making this into something sinister?

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  78. Matt says:

    @Kylopod: Well the time period where they had to decide if they wanted to run or not occurred well before the Trump was considered a threat at all. I wouldn’t of run simply because the odds of a Democrat winning after two terms of Obama weren’t good. When was the last time a political party held the office of President for three terms? You know other than that huge exception of FDR.

    We have the advantage of hindsight.

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