Hillary Clinton Blames Her Loss On The Director Of The F.B.I.

In a call to supporters, Hillary Clinton blames her loss on F.B.I. Director James Comey

Hillary Bored

Hillary Clinton is blaming her election loss on the fact that F.B.I Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress informing Committee Chairmen that the bureau was investigating a new set of email that appeared to be connected to Clinton’s email server:

Hillary Clinton on Saturday cast blame for her surprise election loss on the announcement by the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, days before the election that he had revived the inquiry into her use of a private email server.

In her most extensive remarks since she conceded the race to Donald J. Trump early Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton told donors on a 30-minute conference call that Mr. Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress about the inquiry 11 days before Election Day had thrust the controversy back into the news and had prevented her from ending the campaign with an optimistic closing argument.

“There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a donor who relayed the remarks. But, she added, “our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.”

Mrs. Clinton said a second letter from Mr. Comey, clearing her once again, which came two days before Election Day, had been even more damaging. In that letter, Mr. Comey said an examination of a new trove of emails, which had been found on the computer of Anthony D. Weiner, the estranged husband of one of her top aides, had not caused him to change his earlier conclusion that Mrs. Clinton should face no charges over her handling of classified information.

Her campaign said the seemingly positive outcome had only hurt it with voters who did not trust Mrs. Clinton and were receptive to Mr. Trump’s claims of a “rigged system.” In particular, white suburban women who had been on the fence were reminded of the email imbroglio and broke decidedly in Mr. Trump’s favor, aides said.

After leading in polls in many battleground states, Mrs. Clinton told the donors on Saturday, “we dropped, and we had to keep really pushing to regain our advantage, which going into last weekend we had.”

“We were once again up in all but two of the battleground states, and we were up considerably in some that we ended up losing,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And we were feeling like we had to put it back together.”

Presidential candidates have a long history of blaming forces outside their control for their losses. In 2004, John Kerry linked his defeat to a videotape of Osama bin Laden that appeared days before the election, stoking fears about terrorism. In 2012, Mitt Romney told donors he had lost because President Obama had vowed to bestow “gifts” on Democratic special interests groups, namely African-Americans, Hispanics and young people.

Mrs. Clinton’s contention appears to be more rooted in reality — and hard data. An internal campaign memo with polling data said that “there is no question that a week from Election Day, Secretary Clinton was poised for a historic win,” but that, in the end, “late-breaking developments in the race proved one hurdle too many for us to overcome.”

Mrs. Clinton lost narrowly in several battleground states, and by the time all ballots are counted, she appears poised to win the popular vote by more than two million votes.

Still, Mrs. Clinton’s instinct to shun any personal responsibility angered some Democrats. Several donors on the call, while deeply bitter about Mr. Comey’s actions, said they believed that Mrs. Clinton and her campaign had suffered avoidable missteps that handed the election to an unacceptable opponent. They pointed to the campaign’s lack of a compelling message for white working-class voters and to decisions years ago by Mrs. Clinton to use a private email address at the State Department and to accept millions of dollars for speeches to Wall Street.

“There is a special place in hell for Clinton staff, allegedly including Cheryl Mills, that okayed the email server setup,” Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former senior aide to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, wrote on Sidewire, a social media site, referring to a longtime aide and lawyer to Mrs. Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign was so confident in her victory that her aides popped open Champagne on the campaign plane early Tuesday. But that conviction, aides would later learn, was based largely on erroneous data showing that young, black and Latino voters and suburban women who had been turned off by Mr. Trump’s comments but viewed Mrs. Clinton unfavorably would turn out for her in higher numbers than they ultimately did.

Exit polls conducted by Edison Research found that among people who said they had decided in the final week before Election Day, 47 percent voted for Mr. Trump and 42 percent for Mrs. Clinton.

As early as Wednesday morning, aides began to explain to Democrats shaken by the loss that the campaign’s sophisticated data modeling had not taken into account the bombshell F.B.I. announcement.

Mr. Comey’s letters to Congress went against the F.B.I.’s longstanding tradition of avoiding decisions that could affect elections, but he told aides that he felt he had no choice because he had already weighed in on the case so publicly. In July, he had taken the unusual step of publicly announcing that the F.B.I. would not charge Mrs. Clinton.

At the time, she believed she had finally put the issue to rest. And after the final debate on Oct. 19 in Las Vegas, she emerged in such a strong position that she began to focus on campaigning for down-ballot Democrats and planned a campaign stop in traditionally Republican Arizona.

“We felt so good about where we were,” Mrs. Clinton told donors. Before Mr. Comey’s first letter to Congress, she added, “we just had a real wind at our back.”

Mr. Trump seized on the letter, telling voters in Nevada the Saturday before Election Day that “the F.B.I. has reopened its criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton,” and that the matter “would grind government to a halt” should Mrs. Clinton win the White House. The F.B.I.’s examination of the new emails did not in fact reopen the investigation.

Democratic pollsters attributed Mr. Trump’s laser-thin victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — states that President Obama had won — largely to a drifting of college-educated suburban women to the Republican nominee at the last minute, because of the renewed focus on Mrs. Clinton’s email server.

“We lost with college-educated whites after leading with them all summer,” a Clinton spokesman, Brian Fallon, said on Wednesday. “Five more days of reminders about Comey, and they gravitated back to Trump.”

(…)

Democratic pollsters attributed Mr. Trump’s laser-thin victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — states that President Obama had won — largely to a drifting of college-educated suburban women to the Republican nominee at the last minute, because of the renewed focus on Mrs. Clinton’s email server.

“We lost with college-educated whites after leading with them all summer,” a Clinton spokesman, Brian Fallon, said on Wednesday. “Five more days of reminders about Comey, and they gravitated back to Trump.”

As I noted in my post last week prior to Election Day taking a final look at the polls, there was some evidence that the polling had tightened in the week after Director Comey released his initial letter to Congress, and that tightening also seemed to be occurring at the state level. However, we saw the same sort of tightening prior to Election Day four years ago when an issue like a letter from the F.B.I, Director to Congress was not even an issue. Based on the numbers, it was unclear whether the tightening we were seeing was due to Comey’s letter, or just part of the same natural tightening that we saw four years ago and in previous elections. Additionally, while it’s probable that the initial Comey letter likely played a role in some of the slippage in Clinton’s support, the reality is that she was already vulnerable in this area thanks to her own actions rather than the actions of the Director of the F.B.I. or any other party. Additionally, the fact that Comey followed his initial letter up with a second one informing Congress that there was nothing in the new email that warranted revisiting the initial conclusion that prosecution was not warranted argues against the idea that the F.B.I. was, as Clinton seems to argue, primarily responsible for her loss.

From the beginning, Clinton and her campaign mishandled their response to the whole email story in the apparently mistaken belief that it was a story that would largely only resonate with Republicans who wouldn’t vote for her in any case. While there is some truth to that belief, it’s also true that polling from the time the existence of the email server was first reported forward, it was an issue that the public as a whole indicated in polling that they cared about and which added to their doubts about Clinton’s trustworthiness and judgment. Instead of addressing these concerns, the Clinton campaign spent its time dismissing the email story and hanging its hat on the fact that, back in July, Comey had announced his conclusion that there was nothing in the Clinton emails that would justify prosecution even though the Bureau also found that Clinton had been ‘extremely careless’ in her handling of classified information. This conclusion, of course, didn’t address the fact that Clinton had given seemingly inconsistent explanations for why she set up the private server to begin with and that the perception that she did it because she had something to hide was not dissipated by the conclusion of the F.B.I.’s investigation. As I said at the time of that July announcement, the email story would continue to follow Clinton unless the campaign addressed it adequately. If the Comey letter of October 28th played any role in deciding the election, it was largely because it reinforced pre-existing perceptions about Clinton that were not addressed by the campaign, and if that’s anyone fault, it’s the fault of Clinton and her campaign, not James Comey.

Jacob Sullum makes much the same point at Reason:

Clinton surely is right that the fresh attention Comey’s statements brought to the email controversy did not help her, although it’s debatable whether his statements played as big a role as she implies. But assuming that late-deciding voters held the issue against her, she has no one to blame but herself. For six months after her email practices at the State Department were revealed by The New York Times in March 2015, she treated the story as much ado about nothing, an annoying pseudo-controversy that was not worth addressing on its merits. Even after conceding that she had made a “mistake,” she continued telling lie after lie in an attempt to minimize the gravity of her actions. That record of mendacity goes a long way toward explaining the amazing fact that voters in some surveys trusted her less than the notorious prevaricator she was running against.

Even in defeat, Clinton is still minimizing, saying concerns about her email practices have “proven to be…groundless.” The fact that Comey did not recommend criminal charges does not mean there was no legitimate reason to be troubled by her arrogant disregard of State Department rules, her “extremely careless” handling of “very sensitive, highly classified information” (as Comey described it last July), or her consistent dissembling on the subject. Even Comey’s conclusion that charges were not justified without evidence that Clinton knowingly broke the law is legally questionable, since people can be prosecuted for exposing classified information through “gross negligence.”

Jonathan Turley makes these observations about Clinton’s attempt to pin blame for her loss on the F.B.I.:

She did not acknowledge her long-standing polling issues with truthfulness or reputation as the ultimate establishment candidate in a counter-establishment election. Instead, she said it was all about Comey even though she was struggling to even gain a few percentage points over Trump who had rallied oppositional forces against himself. She even lost Wisconsin – a first since 1984 for a Democrat. That is not about Comey. The whole election was a disaster as we previously discussed on the blog. While this blog and others openly marveled at the decision of the Democratic establishment to pick an establishment candidate with such baggage, Democratic insiders and the media pushed the line that Clinton would necessarily win and that people would overcome their clear dislike for her. While Clinton appears to have won the popular vote, a Democratic nominee without the baggage and bad polling numbers might have produced a starkly different result, including the possible flipping of the Senate. particularly a perceived outside like Sanders.  While I have long been a critic of the electoral college and an advocate of a majority requirement for president, a run off would not have necessarily helped Clinton.  First, while she won the popular vote, she was well below 50 percent.  She was roughly 5 million below Obama’s total in the prior election against a much more polarizing opponent than Mitt Romney.  The final numbers are still uncertain but both REe likely to end up in the 47 percentile.  She won Colorado after Libertarian Ron Johnson took five percent.  The Clinton campaign sought to win on an anti-Trump vote as Trump sought an anti-Clinton victory.  That was not enough for a lot of young people and others who were simply not motivated by Clinton.  In the end, the pro-Trump and anti-Hillary voters were unstoppable.  Moreover, judging from the losses of the Senate races, the Democrats gave up on selecting a candidate with any “coattails.”  The Democrats lost a golden opportunity to take back the Senate and will now face the opposite situation in two years where more Democratic seats will be a risk.

Finally, from the initial article quoted above, this jumped out at me:

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign was so confident in her victory that her aides popped open Champagne on the campaign plane early Tuesday.

In other words, the campaign was so self-assured of victory that it failed to see its own mistakes. It’s no wonder they narrowly lost this election.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    Can I roll my eyes now? Hillary’s reaction is exactly why I voted in the primaries for Bernie. I was resigned to voting for Hillary in the general, but sheesh….

    Well, the DNC can have its navel-gazing dissection, but if this allows us to dump the collection of “just-skirt-up-to-the-line” borderline iffy activities identified with the Clintons and never see it, or the Clintons again in the Democratic Party, I’ll be happy.

  2. Mr. Bluster says:

    Trump was right all along! The election was rigged! Rigged in his favor by FBI director Comey!

    Evidence? We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence!

    Trump never gave any evidence when he claimed the election was rigged.

  3. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Mr. Bluster: Absolutely. Just because Hillary and the DNC rigged the Democratic primaries, attempted to ratf$ck the GOP primaries (to boost Trump), and rigged the debates (thank you, Donna Brazile), it would be RIDICULOUS to think they might try to rig the general election. Why, the mere thought is absurd.

    And even more absurd is the thought that the reason Hillary lost was because she’s Hillary.

  4. SKI says:

    Well, it certainly didn’t help…

    “There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a donor who relayed the remarks. But, she added, “our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.”

    If she noted that there were multiple reasons, how is a headline claiming that she “blamed” it as the reason fair or accurate?

  5. CSK says:

    @SKI:

    I think she was trying to cite it as the principal reason she lost, which strikes me as nonsense, really. I just don’t see Comey’s letter as having that drastic an effect so shortly before the election.

  6. pylon says:

    @CSK: Kevin Drum has a couple articles with statistics supporting the argument. Keep in mind how small the margin of victory was and the Comey activity just before the election could well have been the final piece ensuring a Trump win.

    Of course, the larger picture is that the EMAILS!! story was pretty much the major cog in Trump’s corruption argument. Comey’s actions in aid of this are threefold:

    1. He allowed a rogue faction of Breitbart obsessed agents to run with a theory baked from a sketchy and debunked book.

    2. He editorialized in a needless, innaccurate and unprecedented way when announcing that no prosecution was recommended.

    3. He wrote the last letter based on emails which he hadn’t reviewed, and which tuend out to be nothing.

  7. CSK says:

    @pylon:

    What was the book?

  8. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    rigged the debates (thank you, Donna Brazile)

    Hahahahaha. You’re invited to game night at my house, Jenos. We usually play a limited game, but we’ll do no limit especially for you. Just make sure to bring all of your money.

    Don’t worry: I’ll pay for the Uber.

  9. CSK says:

    OT, but there’s a rumor afoot that Corey Lewandowski will become the next chair of the RNC. Dear Lawd. In a campaign replete with sleazy creeps, Corey’s gotta be in the top five.

  10. john430 says:

    The campaign ran OK, the problem was the piss-poor candidate spouting the same ol, same ol.

  11. Hal_10000 says:

    I know a lot of people want to blame Comey, but … if you look at the election results, Clinton polled about what she was polling all year. In fact, 48% is a bit higher than she was polling and only one point off where I thought she’d end up. The problem was that Trump surged in the last week or two, polling way stronger than anyone had him and way stronger in rust belt states than anticipated. I know we political junkies like to think that stories like Comey decide elections. But I really doubt it had that much of an impact.

  12. al-Alameda says:

    What was it, a 54% overall turnout? That low number clearly favors Republican constituencies.

    This speaks to the overall ambivalence that many Democrats had toward Hillary’s candidacy. I was ambivalent too, but reality is important to me – I actually cared about who would be making nominations to the Supreme Court – and clearly many Democratic constituencies did not see that as sufficient reason to overcome their indifference to Hillary Clinton. Oh well, a lot of self-inflicted damage there.

    Clearly 25 years of opposition research and purely partisan investigation took a predictable toll on how she was and is perceived. Certainly the last 2 years of a permanent Republican investigation of Benghazi and her Email Server had the intended and desired Republican effect – it worked, despite there being no evidence of corruption criminal wrongdoing whatsoever.

    It’s amazing that she won the popular vote.

    Democrats really need to toughen up. Republicans were willing to burn the place down to accomplish their goals, Democrats played the role of road kill, and it’s now time to grow a spine.

  13. pylon says:

    @CSK: Clinton Cash, published by Breitbart’s editor-at-large, Peter Schweizer, and later madeinto a documentary that was executive produced by Bannon.

    The book was all innuendo, no real evidence. The publisher ended up revising later editions.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/11/fbi-investigation-clinton-foundation-peter-schweizer-breitbart

  14. pylon says:
  15. Slugger says:

    Let’s ease up on Hillz. She lost and is having a perfectly common human reaction. The guys that won should pat her on the back and say, “Nice game.”
    People who are serious about American politics should back off for a couple of days and then think deeply. How have politics played out in the last decade, what worked and what didn’t, all requires a dispassionate look.
    The mainline Republicans, the Bushes, Romneys, and Paul Ryans of this world, did not win either. They also must ask themselves some questions.
    We live in a world where Trump beat out a stage full of Republicans and then beat HCR. I can’t figure that all out.
    In the meantime, internet hugs to Hillary.

  16. Raoul says:

    As alluded by pylon- Kevin Drum’s posts have established a correlation between Comey and the polling change- we will never know for sure and there are several reasons for the loss but I do believe both letters (yes I am including the second one) were decisive. The question is why aren’t more people criticizing him- after all, if anything, it does color Trump’s win.

  17. CSK says:

    @pylon: @pylon:

    Thank you very much. I look forward to reading the articles.

  18. becca says:

    I find it quite easy to believe Comey aided and abetted the GOP.

    Why would one be surprised if democratic ballots were destroyed in WI and NC? Or that the GOP and Trump were in bed with the KGBers? Anyone remember the swift boating of John Kerry? The firing of US attorneys? Former GWB Treasury Sec Paul O’neill, who had the temerity to speak the truth about starting wars and cutting taxes simultaneously, called his former compadres “some very mean people”. Anyone care to add?

    The GOP has lived off lies and filthy innuendo for decades now. All evidence points to them being the Bad Guys. And anyone who loves to pollute the air, land and water like they do is in cahoots with the Devil himself.

  19. MBunge says:

    Kevin Drum is talking out of his butt.

    The simple truth is this. EVEN if you believe the Comey letter had some decisive impact on the election and EVEN if you think the email scandal was exaggerated far beyond reason, the problem was that the Democratic Party nominated someone for President WHILE she was being criminally investigated by the FBI. Period. Full stop.

    When you do an incredibly reckless thing, it’s ultimately your fault if it goes wrong. How would everyone feel if Trump had lost and the Breitbart crowd was whining about the Billy Bush tape?

    Mike

  20. pylon says:

    So the way to stop a nomination is to instigate a criminal investigation, no matter how trivial or flimsy? She wasn’t “incredibly reckless”. That’s the Breitbart spin. In the real world she was “more careful than Colin Powell”.

    And Trump was elected despite an ongoing rape case, an ongoing fraud case, an admission of sexual assault on tape, past charges of discrimination contrary to statute, having a charity acting as a slush fund to settle minor lawsuits, having that same charity cited for rasing funds illegally, etc.

  21. pylon says:

    @Raoul: Another statistical analysis that’s interesting is the number of voters purged (perhaps improperly) from voter rolls due to the crocheck and other programs, versus the margin of victory for Trump in those states. It’s pretty impressive.

    Note: I don’t know much about Palast or his rep:

    http://www.gregpalast.com/rolling-stone-expose-gops-secret-plan-steal-vote/

    http://www.gregpalast.com/election-stolen-heres/

  22. Pete S says:

    @MBunge: If Loretta Lynch came out 10 days before the election and announced that there were more Trump tapes that had come to their attention, then let that stew for 8 days before announcing that there was nothing criminal there after all, would Trump have a legitimate complaint? Of course. That is what happened here, except that there was no tape of Hilary Clinton bragging about illegal activities. And in an election where she narrowly lost many swing states, and won the overall popular vote, the apparent 1% swing that happened after the Comey letter sure looks important.

  23. Andy says:

    You learn a lot about people during and after failure. Good leaders don’t shift blame. Good leaders take responsibility even when the blame isn’t theirs. Good leaders take accountability.

  24. Sleeping Dog says:

    @grumpy realist: Wishful thinking, a rumor is about that Chelsea is shopping for a Congressional district for a run in 18. Hope she loses in the primary.

    The Comey letter contributed to Clinton’s defeat but it wasn’t the cause. It seemed that after Powell’s email was hacked the Clinton email story quieted down. Then Carlos Danger comes on the scene and Comey’s unnecessary letter and her momentum stopped. That all it took was a vague letter from the Dir of the FBI shows how weak her support was. Some voted for Trump, particularly Rethugs and other stayed home.

    I wonder what the under vote was in the presidential race?

  25. Gavrilo says:

    How you think Hillary feels about Bill having that secret tarmac meeting with Loretta Lynch now?

  26. James Pearce says:

    @MBunge:

    How would everyone feel if Trump had lost and the Breitbart crowd was whining about the Billy Bush tape?

    He wasn’t going to blame his loss on the Billy Bush tape. He was going to claim the election was rigged.

    He was very straightforward about this. Do you have a reason we should doubt him?

  27. C. Clavin says:

    @MBunge:

    the Democratic Party nominated someone for President WHILE she was being criminally investigated by the FBI. Period. Full stop.

    An investigation everyone knew was baseless.
    Meanwhile Trump is actually going to court on the 28th for perpetrating consumer fraud.
    Period. Full stop.

  28. Pch101 says:

    If the situation was reversed, the GOP would be screaming bloody murder about it.

    At this point, I’m indifferent about whether or not Comey had an impact. Regardless, the Democrats need to hold an endless series of hearings about it.

    When the first set of hearings are done, go find an excuse to hold a second set, then a third. Borrow from the GOP model of governance: Whine, complain, obstruct, whine, complain, obstruct, whine, complain, obstruct. If it can rally the troops, then do it.

  29. Guarneri says:

    She could have told the truth:

    “I’m a corrupt bought and paid for, dislikeable, tired old hack, and I’ll give you four more years of it because its all I know, and I’m running on nothing but my husbands name and my naughty bits.”

    OK. I guess she really couldn’t tell the truth, now could she?

    So blame it on Comey it is. .

  30. al-Ameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    “I’m a corrupt bought and paid for, dislikeable, tired old hack, and I’ll give you four more years of it because its all I know, and I’m running on nothing but my husbands name and my naughty bits.”

    “Naughty bits?”
    Trump was bragging about helping himself, without consent, to women’s “naughty bits.”

  31. Guarneri says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Devastating.

  32. dxq says:

    This is what the conservatives voted for, this is what we get.

  33. al-Ameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    Devastating.

    If you say so.

  34. Guarneri says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Don’t you think the joker laughs at you…

  35. the Q says:

    Maybe all those jamming down the TG bathrooms in NC should stand up and take pride in losing that state and the election to the Donald so that 8 elementary school kids can choose which bathroom they can schitt in. And the Feds threatened to revoke ALL federal funding to NC over this?

    Then the NBA cancelled the All Star game, other companies boycotted, about what exactly???????? Was this such a grave issue that it took precedence over having the Supreme Court for the next 20 years? Who supports this stupidity? And couldn’t that TG bathroom push have waited till 2017?

    I took a royal beating from most of you righteous neolibs who clobbered me with thumbs down.

    Thanks you brilliant out of touch elitists. Some of you also excoriated the Johnson/Stein younger voters for wasting their vote on third party candidates, yet you wasted the whole state of NC with this ridiculous TG mandate which certainly was a wasted issue compared to the consequences of trump’s election.

    I guess the Supreme Court is just not as important as those few school kids who are now free to pee wherever they want. And you wonder why some voted Trump?

  36. James Pearce says:

    @the Q:

    I took a royal beating from most of you righteous neolibs who clobbered me with thumbs down.

    Here’s another one.

  37. bill says:

    as always, nothing’s her fault. she was a horrible candidate who thought she wouldn’t even have to campaign after they railroaded bernie.
    that she lost to someone who didn’t run a conventional campaign and had every media wonk against him is really telling.

  38. Ratufa says:

    I understand why people involved in the campaign are pointing fingers and saying, “Not my fault.” But, Comey’s intervention was only one factor in Clinton’s loss, and focusing on it will not help the Democratic Party from fixing the mistakes that led to to this debacle of an election. Clinton under-performed Obama in getting votes from some key Democratic demographics. Many voters are not happy with the direction of the country, or their current economic situation, yet most of her ads were about how terrible Donald Trump is, as opposed to what she would try to do to help ordinary Americans, She emphasized her experience during a time when many voters were unhappy with Washington, as evidenced by Trump’s nomination, and the many votes Bernie received in the Democratic primaries.

    All in all, this was a failure of strategy, that appears to be caused in large part by over-confidence, and a failure to consider the disgust many people in this country feel towards Washington (there are other factors, as well). It is also a reflection of some deeper issues with the Democratic Party establishment.

  39. SenyorDave says:

    I think it probably did cost her the election, given the narrowness of her loss. Momentum from the predator tape had diminished, but she was still probably 6 – 8 points up. The Comey announcement brought the emails back to total prominence, and meant that anything Trump did after that point didn’t really matter. It also made sure he could just focus 100% on the emails, and there was no real chance of another screw up, making it easier for his handlers to keep him off twitter (unbelievable that we will have a POTUS who is so immature he needs handlers to keep him off, sounds like my 3 year old grandson).

    But she should keep her mouth shut about Comey, unless the rot in the FBI is so bad, and even then nothing will get done about it.

  40. Katharsis says:

    An important aspect to the Comey letter that many are not considering is the unusually large number of undecided voters in this election. The increased number of undecided and 3rd party voters is why Nate Silver’s model indicated a larger chance for a Trump win than other models (yes Silver’s as well as most models favored Clinton). A lot of these undecided voters made their decision in the last week of the election when the letter was having its impact.

    It’s fair to say that the reason there were so many undecided and 3rd party voters this year was because of the weakness of both candidates, but this last week impact shouldn’t be easily dismissed in order to take a piss on the winner of the popular vote who barely lost in the Rust Belt. Trump didn’t even get as many votes as Romney.

  41. Jack says:

    Another Liberal circle jerk to determine why a seriously flawed candidate who contemptuously believed it was her turn simply because she was a woman, a Clinton, and failed to get the nomination 8 years ago, was not elected. Don’t blame the candidate, don’t blame the “Clinton Foundation”, don’t blame the obvious pay for play scandals, don’t blame her use of an unclassified server to send and receive highly classified information which was in turn forwarded to personnel that did not have clearances or was printed and disseminated by her fwcking maid! No, it was Comey.

    And if you are looking for a come back, wipe your mouth.

  42. SenyorDave says:

    @Jack: The Clinton Foundation? The Trump Foundation and Eric Trump Foundation are two phony charities, one is literally a slush for Donald Trump, and the Eric Trump Foundation strangely enough spends almost all their money at Trump properties.

  43. SenyorDave says:

    @al-Ameda: Obviously almost half the country doesn’t have a problem with a man who at best is a sexual predator, more likely a rapist, and possibly worse.

  44. dxq says:

    You know he’s got to be thinking, “seriously? You white motherfuckers hated me so much you did this?”
    Okay.”

  45. wr says:

    @SKI: “If she noted that there were multiple reasons, how is a headline claiming that she “blamed” it as the reason fair or accurate?”

    Because with the Clintons, it is required that everything be given the absolute worst interpretation. That’s why the network news had 100 minutes of coverage on the email server and 32 minutes on all the issues.

  46. Jack says:

    @SenyorDave: Oh, I’m sure the “Clinton Foundation” is on the up and up. Simply ask the Haitians.

  47. Jack says:

    @SenyorDave:

    Obviously almost half the country doesn’t have a problem with a man who at best is a sexual predator, more likely a rapist, and possibly worse.

    The country elected JFK didn’t it?

  48. wr says:

    @al-Alameda: ” That low number clearly favors Republican constituencies.”

    And for weeks before the election, Kelly Anne Conway was bragging that their strategy was to put out so much mud that it would dampen enthusiasm and bring down the number of voters.

    This wasn’t an accident, or a mood. It was a strategy. And it worked. Partly because Comey coincidentally helped.

    Just like it was a pure coincidence that the CIA was operating in Iran before Mossadegh was overthrown by the Shah and in Chile before the coup.

  49. wr says:

    @Slugger: Thank you.

  50. Matt says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Requiring that Bernie’s campaign follow the same rules as Clinton’s campaign is not “rigging”.

    Bernie’s campaign was amateur hour and Nevada was the clearest example of that. 58 of Bernie’s delegates couldn’t even bother themselves to register properly as a Democrat prior to the well known deadline (which was set well before the primary race started). Meanwhile 8 of HIllary’s delegates made the same mistake and were also removed.

    Screaming over and over that following the rules that were set well in advance of the primary election is rigging the election doesn’t make it so.

    This is when you pull out the OMG EMAILS argument. THose emails were sent late April/May by which time sanders had no reasonable expectation of winning. Asking if Sanders was an atheist is a reasonable question as he proudly proclaims himself a socialist and I’ve never seen him mention god (which was REFRESHING). Asking that all the candidates get a meeting is not “PROOF OF RIGGING” either. The whole email “scandal” is a bad joke if you spend the time to actually read the emails.

  51. SenyorDave says:

    @Jack: Didn’t say it was, but glass houses you know. And its documented that the Trump charities are phony. Its not someone’s opinion. Also, there is that little matter of two different organizations that rate charities giving high ratings to the Clinton Foundation, because they actually do something.

    Donald Trump stole $258k from his own charity. Not an opinion, but a fact. Stealing from a charity, even for a lying sexual predator bigot, is pretty low.

    And I don’t care what the Clintons did, he’s the one who is president-elect. The worst role model ever for a POTUS.

  52. wr says:

    @Gavrilo: Hey Gavrilo — Better stop posting and get one last check up before your new president takes your health insurance away.

    I’d give Jenos the same advice, but he just steals his healthcare.

  53. wr says:

    @SenyorDave: “But she should keep her mouth shut about Comey, unless the rot in the FBI is so bad, and even then nothing will get done about it.”

    So the FBI is corrupt from the rogue agents in NY to the head guy, and we should all just be quiet so they can keep rigging elections?

    Good thinking!

  54. wr says:

    @the Q: Gosh, Q, I’m sorry that the last election you’ll live to see has been so disappointing for you. We’ll try to fix it after you’re gone.

  55. Jack says:

    @SenyorDave: The Clinton Foundation got its rating from supporters of Clinton. 90% of the foundations money is spent supporting Clinton…and of course Chelsea’s wedding. The Clinton’s latest tax return shows 90% of their donation, for which they get a tax credit was towards their own foundation. Which in turn pays the Clintons. Talk about corrupt.

    Trump is not even president yet. You are free to vote against him in the next election or pack your bags like Michael. One way or another, he will be president. In the mean time…

    Channeling Sam Kinison, TRUMP IS PRESIDENT, SAY IT. SAY IT!

  56. SenyorDave says:

    @Jack: For God’s sake, there is such a thing as objectively bad, and the Trump charities qualify. They are documented to be phony, and screwing with charitable funds is evil. That should matter to everyone that the president-elect did this. It has nothing to do with the Clintons. He is a lying scumbag when it comes to his charity. Period.

    I believe in karma, one day you’ll need charity and maybe you’ll have to depend on the Trump Foundation for your health care. Good luck with that.

  57. Matt says:

    @Jack: Okay if it’s so obvious then show me where in their official tax documents is all this money shown flowing directly into the Clinton’s pocket?

    https://www.clintonfoundation.org/sites/default/files/clinton_foundation_report_public_2014.pdf

    I love how every single charity watchdog group are now Clinton supporters because Jack doesn’t agree with their assessment.

    I do wonder how much of his life is really disconnected from reality. It’s clearly more than the usual political stuff as he rants against Climate change being a liberal chinese conspiracy.

  58. SenyorDave says:

    @Matt: As George Constanza says, its not a lie if you believe it.

  59. Todd says:

    Hillary Clinton had a more than competent campaign staff and probably the best roster of surrogates in modern presidential campaign history. But despite all that she couldn’t beat an opponent who was caught on tape saying about women “I just walk right up and grab them by the pussy”

    We can debate the small effects that outside events may have had on the polls. But ultimately this was always about the candidate. She has always been a weak campaigner with bouts of poor political judgement. I also can’t escape the feeling that she (and Bill) were much too aware of “the historical nature” of her candidacy. From the hubris of redirecting spending in the final weeks to States they didn’t need to win. because a blowout would say more, to the plan for her victory speech to take place in a building with a glass ceiling.

    We play this game in American politics where it’s obvious that any person running for President has to really want the job, but they can’t show it too much. With Hillary Clinton it was always just a tad bit too obvious how much she not only wanted the job, but felt that she deserved it. This probably goes towards explaining the feeling many people had that they didn’t really like her, but couldn’t pinpoint exactly why.

  60. Jack says:

    @Matt: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/hillary-clinton-releases-her-latest-tax-returns

    Mother Jones reports: Clinton’s tax filings show that she and Bill Clinton donated just over $1 million to charity last year, the bulk of which went to the Clinton Foundation. Another $42,000 was donated to the Desert Classic Charities, a nonprofit that organizes the Carebuilder Challenge charity golf tournament with the Clinton Foundation. In total, the Clinton’s gave nearly 10 percent of their income to charity.

    “That’s certainly one way of putting it. Another would be: “Of the $1,042,000 that the Clintons gave to charity last year, 96 percent of it went to their own foundation, and four percent of it went to fund a golf tournament.”

    Taking a deduction for contributing to the employer of your daughter and expense payer of your husband is awesome!

    What one wonders, would Candidate Clinton say about her own foundation if it had been set up in any name other than her own?”

  61. winfieldscott says:

    Doug, I would rather hear your opinions about the winner of the election, and his initial attempts at being president of the USA, as Steven and James are providing.

  62. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jack:

    which they get a tax credit

    Not a tax credit, they get a deduction. Get your facts right.

  63. An Interested Party says:

    It’s quite amusing that the Clintons are being painted as so corrupt by the usual suspects and yet, unlike Trump, they have actually released their tax returns…why doesn’t he? What is he hiding that he doesn’t want anyone to see? As Mitch McConnell himself has mentioned, new majorities don’t last forever…so yes, please gloat now, because in a few years time you won’t be…

  64. Matt says:

    @Jack: That isn’t even remotely close to what you were claiming.

    90% of the foundations money is spent supporting Clinton…and of course Chelsea’s wedding.

    Want to try again?

  65. stonetools says:

    According to 538’s Nate Silver, there is a good case to be made that the letter did decide the election. Generally, when Nate Silver does data analysis, it’s best to go with him.
    I think a larger reason is that right wing organizations like America Rising decided to portray Clinton as corrupt way back in April 2015. With the help of right wing media(including one Doug Mataconis) they established a meme that Clinton was corrupt(misusing Foundation funds, and peddling influence, etc). This corruption meme inflamed the Republican base against Clinton. But it was specifically aimed at depressing enthusiasm for Clinton among liberal voters, and it succeeded brilliantly there.
    The emails tied into that. While the email issue was BS from start to finish, the right wing and the Republicans , with the help of useful idiots in the MSM,somehow made Clinton’s use of the email server into a treasonable offense, on par with the Rosenberg’s passing of atomic secrets to the USSR.
    Comey’s letter allowed Trump who had been behind in polls, to rant on about how corrupt the system was and how Clinton should be locked up for treason. When Comey said there was nothing there on Sunday, that was of course proof to the Clinton haters of how deep the conspiracy went. During the last week, a lot of Republicans came home which is how Trump, whose ceiling was in the low 40s until the last week, ended up with 47 per cent of the popular vote.
    Meanwhile the incessant drumbeat of how corrupt Clinton was did its job of depressing Democratic turnout. Clinton will end up with more Democratic votes in this election that any other Democratic candidate in history, except for Obama. But the Democratic turnout was depressed in just enough swing states that Trump, buoyed by Republicans coming home, was able to squeak by.

  66. Todd says:

    @An Interested Party: @stonetools:

    I always had a feeling/fear that this race had some similarities to Bush/Gore … especially on the Democratic side. Much like in 2000, there are plenty of targets for blame about when the Democrat ultimately lost a really close election. But in both cases, and especially so this year, the race probably should have never been close enough for those sort of things to matter.

    The Republicans selected a candidate who was/is simply awful. Nobody can really be faulted for thinking it was almost inconceivable that Donald Trump would ever be elected President.

    Except …

    The Democrats then nominated their own horribly flawed candidate.

    Let’s be perfectly honest here. If it were possible for the line on the ballot to have said “generic Democrat” rather than “Hillary Clinton”, Donald Trump would very likely not be the President-elect right now.

  67. stonetools says:

    @Todd:

    But despite all that she couldn’t beat an opponent who was caught on tape saying about women “I just walk right up and grab them by the pussy”

    This is a function less of the weakness of Clinton than of the slavish loyalty of Republican voters in this polarized situation. Consider that 80 per cent of conservative evangelical voters supported the pussy grabber. That to me is proof positive that candidate quality and candidate behavior is no longer decisive in modern elections.

    The problem with describing her as weak is weak compared to what? To Martin O’Malley? To Bernie Sanders? To Joe Biden? Each of those candidates had had their flaws and it is not at all clear to me that they would have done better, given a vast RW propaganda network and a MSM that proved incapable of debunking or vetting a candidate that lied his a$$ off and was objectively the worst qualified candidate to run for President in modern times
    Sure, Clinton is weak compared to Obama. But Obama is once in a lifetime political talent. There was no Obama out there for this election. We also have to remember that Clinton did win the popular vote. It’s only by the luck of draw that she isn’t President. So maybe not so weak.

  68. Jack says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Yes. A deduction. A reduction of income that is able to be taxed.

    While you and I donate to the United Way or Salvation Army and take a minor deduction from our overall taxable income…a $1 million deduction which you then get to turn around and use for your own expenses is pretty sweet. I think I’ll create my own family foundation for 2016 and donate all of my salary, thus getting a 100% deduction from my taxable income, thus getting 100% of my taxed income returned to me. I’ll then have my family foundation pay all of my living expenses while donating $10k to the United Way–you know, just to keep up appearances.

  69. Jack says:

    @Matt:

    90% of the foundations money is spent supporting Clinton…and of course Chelsea’s wedding.

    I was wrong. The correct figure is 96%. Thanks for pointing that out.

  70. Todd says:

    @stonetools:

    We also have to remember that Clinton did win the popular vote. It’s only by the luck of draw that she isn’t President. So maybe not so weak.

    No, we don’t have to remember the popular vote, because it’s absolutely irrelevant. And Clinton did not lose due to “luck of the draw”. In the simplest terms, she lost because she was unable to match President Obama’s turnout in the cities of Philadelphia, Detroit and Madison … just north of 100,000 votes.

    But my point is, against a candidate with all the problems of Donald Trump, it should have never come down to being that close.

    If you really can’t accept the idea that virtually any other Democrat probably would have won this election, then there’s really no sense debating the subject any further. I will admit that we can’t know for sure how any other candidate might have done. But the only fact we have in evidence at this point, is that Hillary Clinton lost … and it really wasn’t a surprise to a lot of people that her losing was a very real possibility.

  71. Jack says:

    @stonetools:

    Generally, when Nate Silver does data analysis, it’s best to go with him.

    The same Nate Silver that predicted Hillary would win in a landslide 71.4 to 28.6? That Nate Silver? Monkeys throwing their scat at visitors have better odds at this point.

    http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/

  72. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce: And I don’t think that Trump supporters care about these things in the same way that decent people do. Take Jenos, for example, do you really think that Jenos would care that women claimed they were raped by Donald Trump? Of course not. Men in penal institutions, sure he cares about that–THAT could happen to him. He’s not a woman who’s going to be raped by Trump. Not an issue at all.

  73. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jack: So the Republicans now have candidates with the morals of JFK and WJC. I guess that’s something to be proud of, but I’m at a loss for why.

  74. Pch101 says:

    @Todd:

    Clinton won 1435 more votes in Dane County (Madison) than did Obama. When you consider the population growth, she performed about equally to Obama.

    She also won a few more votes in Waukesha (suburban Milwaukee) than did Obama.

    Dane and Waukesha Counties have relatively low black populations. Where Clinton got clobbered in Wisconsin was in Milwaukee-area counties with higher black populations and in rural areas.

    Trump had about the same votes as did Romney overall, but he did better than Romney in rural counties while Clinton had declines in those areas. Trump may have converted some Democrats in the sticks, but he lost members of his own party in the cities.

  75. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jack: I can see you’re not a mathematician…

  76. SKI says:

    @Jack: you are a liar.

  77. An Interested Party says:

    In the simplest terms, she lost because she was unable to match President Obama’s turnout in the cities of Philadelphia, Detroit and Madison … just north of 100,000 votes.

    While that is true in Detroit…

    2016

    2012

    …it isn’t either in Philadelphia…

    2016

    2012

    …or in Madison…

    2016

    2012

  78. An Interested Party says:

    Moderators, please release my previous comments, thank you…

  79. Guarneri says:

    @Todd:

    Truer words have never been spoken.

  80. Guarneri says:

    The lefties are still pathetically grasping at excuses. Hillary is still a horrifically flawed candidate. And Trump is still president-elect.

    In football you only have to beat the team you are playing that week; you don’t have to beat the 85 Chicago Bears. Team Hillary didn’t understand that. You Guys don’t understand that.

  81. Todd says:

    @Pch101: Regardless. It’s mind boggling to me that even now, after Clinton has lost the election, some Democrats are still making excuses about all the ways that it wasn’t really her fault … while simultaneously imagining that any other candidate’s own flaws would have somehow been magnified to the point of equaling Clinton’s. That’s giving the right-wing marketing machine a lot more credit than it probably deserves.

    Don’t get me wrong, in my view, the only thing worse than the arrogant Democrats who insisted on nominating Hillary Clinton, are the delusional Bernie Sanders supporters who instead of rationally accepting Clinton as the best they were going to get this cycle, instead spent the past 4 months pouring their energy into imagining unrealistic ways that Sanders might somehow still be able to replace Clinton on the ticket.

    Personally, for the sake of our country, I hope that President Trump succeeds beyond most people’s expectations … or at least doesn’t screw things up at quite the level many people (realistically) expect. But chances are, on paper, Democrats probably aren’t too far out on a limb to imagine that they should have a pretty good chance at getting the White House back in 4 years.

    … but not if they don’t get their crap together and find a candidate that the majority of people on their side can agree to enthusiastically get behind. At this point I don’t hold out much hope. On my Facebook feed I’ve already seen some people imagining that Michelle Obama will run in 2020 (very unlikely). But even as relatively popular as she is, some of my progressive friends poo pooed the idea because they won’t be happy with anyone except for Bernie Sanders (who will be 79 by that time).

  82. Ravi says:

    It seems reasonable to me that the Comey letters were the tipping point (and that is an outrage against democracy that we won’t appreciate until 2020), but I also have a lot of sympathy with the criticism that it shouldn’t have been that close in the first place.

    From that perspective, the key error was strategic. Clinton chose to run a unity campaign against an unfit interloper. At the time it seemed like a smart play, but in retrospect there were several problems:

    1. The “decent Republicans” who were supposed to vote Clinton (or at least stay home) in response to the unity pitch are essentially a rounding error outside of media circles. Republicans went “home” in the end. Trying to appeal to them was a waste of time and effort.

    2. It ceded the change vs status quo argument from the beginning, which was a key portion of Trump’s appeal.

    3. It depressed enthusiasm in Clinton’s base by having the vote against Trump instead of or her agenda (which they would have loved, but never heard about).

    4. It limited potential gains downballot.

    This is, of course, terrible news for the republic. Political polarization is entrenched. Trying to change it just loses elections and so on. However, at this point, that’s just one more trash can on the dumpster fire so…

  83. Davebo says:

    @Todd:

    Nobody can really be faulted for thinking it was almost inconceivable that Donald Trump would ever be elected President.

    Except …

    The Democrats then nominated their own horribly flawed candidate.

    Flawed how? Her last name? Because beyond that I see a pretty popular Democrat that had more than enough experience for the job.

    This is really either just lazy thinking or personal distaste for a candidate because she isn’t charming enough or “likable”. In other words, exactly like 2000 and the narrow defeat then was also caused by poor turnout and bad assumptions about the likely outcome.

    But hey, EMAILS!!!

  84. Davebo says:

    @Todd:

    but not if they don’t get their crap together and find a candidate that the majority of people on their side can agree to enthusiastically get behind. At this point I don’t hold out much hope.

    Why on earth would you be holding out hope that party you aren’t supportive of would pull it together and win in 4 years?

  85. Todd says:

    @Davebo:

    Why on earth would you be holding out hope that party you aren’t supportive of would pull it together and win in 4 years?

    I’ve been an Independent pretty much my entire adult life, but almost always vote more Democratic. The only thing I can say for sure about my political leaning is that I have almost nothing in common with conservatives. But otherwise, I don’t really identify as either a Democrat or a Liberal; therefore I just naturally refer to the party as “they”.

  86. Todd says:

    @Davebo:

    Flawed how? Her last name? Because beyond that I see a pretty popular Democrat that had more than enough experience for the job.

    If we’re to believe that an unflawed, “pretty popular” Democrat just lost an election to Donald freaking Trump, then the Republicans really do have some legitimate reasons to celebrate. Maybe we really do live in a “center-right” country.

  87. Davebo says:

    @Todd: Perhaps I worded my comment poorly. Of course she has flaws. Poor judgement over a variety of topics.

    But by all metrics she was fairly popular. Polling, and of course actual votes. Yes, Comey’s little charade did hurt, but it was just one factor in the final outcome.

    Honestly the two biggest IMO are voter complacency, the assumption that she had it in the bag, and that Obama actually is a very charismatic leader and I think turnout this year compared to 2012 reflects both.

  88. michilines says:

    I apologize beforehand that while I have read some of the comments but not all . . . it seems pretty clear to me that this was a republican smear from the beginning. Comey’s letter had the added salaciousness that in the typical republican way connected sex to the letter. Do none of you see that by connecting the email investigation to Anthony Weiner’s sexting of an under-aged person would have an impact? Or have you all forgotten John McCain’s out of wedlock black child?

    I blame him. It seems pretty clear. Slime the Dem with an even more horrific sex story than their guy’s.

    It’s standard operating procedure for republicans.

  89. Pete S says:

    @the Q: Remind me, didn’t the sitting Republican governor who signed that bill lose, even though the Republican presidential and senatorial candidates carried the state? And didn’t the Republican Party in NC issue a statement a couple of days before the election bragging about how African American turnout had been significantly reduced this year? I think the loss of North Carolina may have come from somewhere other than you think.

  90. Ratufa says:

    @Davebo:

    But by all metrics she was fairly popular. Polling, and of course actual votes. Yes, Comey’s little charade did hurt, but it was just one factor in the final outcome.

    By “all metrics”? The Republicans had been throwing crap at her for decades, and some of it stuck. :Look at her unfavorable ratings, for example:

    http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/hillary-clinton-favorable-rating

    Her ratings do not compare well with other recent candidates

    She was a flawed candidate, with lots of baggage. She also didn’t have anywhere near the political instincts of Bill Clinton and Obama (admittedly, those two set very high bars). But, overall, I agree with you that her main problems were over-confidence (perhaps arrogance would be a better word), and poor strategy.

  91. Clinton was never a strong candidate. When she had high poll numbers it was mostly because she had high name recognition. Biden had his weaknesses, but I can´t see him losing f* Pennsylvania.

  92. Mikey says:

    @Todd:

    But chances are, on paper, Democrats probably aren’t too far out on a limb to imagine that they should have a pretty good chance at getting the White House back in 4 years.

    … but not if they don’t get their crap together and find a candidate that the majority of people on their side can agree to enthusiastically get behind.

    Something I’ve been thinking for the past few days: the Democrats basically had eight years to come up with such a candidate. Eight years to explore and develop and bring someone to the forefront. Eight years to craft a message and methods to get it out.

    But when it came down to it, who did we get? The “inevitable” (I guess not) Clinton, Sanders (not even a Democrat until recently and someone the GOP’s oppo research would have obliterated beyond all belief), and Martin O’Malley (who?).

    I dunno, maybe I’m just Monday-morning quarterbacking, but it seems like they put all their eggs in one pantsuit.

  93. Zachriel says:

    @Jack: Taking a deduction for contributing to the employer of your daughter and expense payer of your husband is awesome!

    The Clintons work for the Foundation pro gratis.

    @Jack: The same Nate Silver that predicted Hillary would win in a landslide 71.4 to 28.6?

    No. Fivethirtyeight gave Trump a 28% change of winning.

    @Ravi: From that perspective, the key error was strategic.

    In retrospect, the strategic errors are evident, but from within the moment, not so much. Clinton should have concentrated on holding the Rust Belt, but she overreached, hoping the Rust Belt would remain Democratic (which they nearly did), while also capturing the Senate. Clinton had planned on pivoting to a positive message in the final two weeks of the campaign, to give Democrats an affirmative reason to come to the polls, but the Comey letter trashed that.

    Whenever there is a close election, there are always multiple causes; Republican voter suppression efforts, the Comey letter, years of Republicans wallowing in truthiness, the American public being played by Russian hacking while Trump egged them on, and the lack of a positive message, all played a part. And it took all of that to bring down Clinton.

  94. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I’d acknowledge that Clinton “had her baggage” or that she “was never a strong candidate”. However she did give Trump a real run, so she overcame most of her weaknesses, just not sufficiently so as to capture the flag.
    Given that above, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Comey’s involvement both in July and Oct might well be the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

    Just as she actually said, “there are lots of reasons…”, IMO Comey’s involvement was just one.

  95. Mikey says:

    @Jack:

    The same Nate Silver that predicted Hillary would win in a landslide 71.4 to 28.6?

    No, that’s not what he was saying at all. That was each candidate’s chance of winning, not the percentage Clinton would win by. He was saying Trump had better than a 1-in-4 chance of winning the election.

    It’s pretty amusing how you equated Silver’s numbers to monkeys flinging poop when you failed to grasp the most bog-simple, basic thing he was doing.

  96. Andrew says:

    @Mikey:

    ESPN, where Nate Silver has 538. They say Ohio State is going to win over Michigan State. 93.1 – 6.9

    Highest OSU score I’ve ever seen!!

  97. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jack:

    I think I’ll create my own family foundation for 2016 and donate all of my salary, thus getting a 100% deduction from my taxable income,

    Go ahead, you’ll soon discover that you can’t deduct 100% of your AGI as a charitable deduction.

    @Jack:

    I’ll then have my family foundation pay all of my living expenses

    At which point you will be audited, and subsequently found to have fraudulently applied for a charitable status.

    Jack, you just keep reinforcing your lack of knowledge.

  98. Pch101 says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    I like Jack. He’s my window to the world of the stupid.

    He’s dumb, but too dumb to know it. He pretty much gets every fact wrong — for example, he obviously has no idea what a tax deduction is or how it works — yet thinks that he’s insightful. And he probably speaks for about 20% of the country.

  99. Pch101 says:

    @Todd:

    I was just pointing out that Clinton did fine in Madison, a place that you cited as an example of where she had issues.

    We would have actually been better off if the entire state had resembled Dane County (Madison), with Clinton about even with Obama and with Trump receiving 15% fewer votes than Romney. Clinton and Obama won by landslides in Dane County.

    It would seem that Clinton did just fine with white urban Democratic voters who were motivated enough to vote, i.e. they didn’t defect to other candidates in unusual numbers. But she lost the independents, and a fair number of Democrats or Democratic-leaning voters just didn’t show up.

    Specific to Wisconsin, it has one of the strictest voter ID/suppression laws in the country. It would be worth figuring out if that influenced the result.

  100. al-Ameda says:

    @the Q:

    Then the NBA cancelled the All Star game, other companies boycotted, about what exactly???????? Was this such a grave issue that it took precedence over having the Supreme Court for the next 20 years? Who supports this stupidity? And couldn’t that TG bathroom push have waited till 2017?

    That ‘bathroom issue’ still galls conservatives, doesn’t it?
    The NBA made a corporate decision to move the planned all-star game from Charlotte to another venue. What do you think, George Soros had Adam Silver’s ear on this one?

  101. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    The same Nate Silver that predicted Hillary would win in a landslide 71.4 to 28.6? That Nate Silver? Monkeys throwing their scat at visitors have better odds at this point.

    Clearly, you don’t understand statistics at all.

    Nate Silver deals with probability. He was, on a regular basis, generating the probability that each candidate had of winning the election. He based his ongoing projections on an analysis of the states that Trump had to win (battleground states) to take the election. As we now know Trump won by far most of those states.

    Also, I would remind you that Hillary’s probability was steadily declining, from about 90% to around 67%, and many observers were noting that Hillary was in trouble.

    Nate Silver was right – Trump had a difficult path, a low probability path, but he emerged victorious.

  102. Pch101 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Jack probably barely made it out of high school, and then only thanks to social promotion.

    Of course, he doesn’t understand statistics; he probably never even took an algebra class, let alone stats. I would say that he is as dumb as a box of rocks, but that would be insulting to the rocks.

  103. al-Ameda says:

    @Pch101:

    Of course, he doesn’t understand statistics; he probably never even took an algebra class, let alone stats. I would say that he is as dumb as a box of rocks, but that would be insulting to the rocks.

    Many people do not understand statistics, and Jack is probably one of those people.

    It’s similar in a way, to people’s ability to understand (or not understand) debt. The fact that a a person, business, or government entity has debt is not in and of itself and indication of financial health, what matters is the capacity of those persons, businesses, or government entities to meet those debt obligations. And yet I constantly hear many many people rail against debt as an inherently bad thing.

  104. Rick DeMent says:

    @al-Alameda:

    What was it, a 54% overall turnout? That low number clearly favors Republican constituencies.

    Is it really that low?

    1980 52.8%
    1984 53.3%
    1988 50.3%
    1992 55.2%
    1996 49.0%
    2000 50.3%
    2004 55.7%
    2008 57.1%
    2012 54.9%

    You have one outlier in 2008 Obama’s first, and an other then that this year’s turnout beats or is close to 7 out of the last 9.

  105. Pch101 says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    It has long been true in American politics that lower turnout favors Republicans while higher turnout favors Democrats, which is why Democrats have favored legislation to make it easier to vote while the GOP pushes legislation that makes it more difficult.

    One can quibble over the percentages, but it’s generally accurate to say that as voter turnout falls, the hit becomes disproportionately larger for the Dems.

  106. Andrew says:

    What’s Mike Pence hiding in his emails?

    Now that the presidential campaign and most of the furor over Hillary Clinton’s email scandal are behind us, the Pence administration is going to court to argue for its own brand of email secrecy.

    The administration is fighting to conceal the contents of an email sent to Gov. Mike Pence by a political ally. That email is being sought by a prominent Democratic labor lawyer who says he wants to expose waste in the Republican administration.

    But legal experts fear the stakes may be much higher than mere politics because the decision could remove a judicial branch check on executive power and limit a citizen’s right to know what the government is doing and how it spends taxpayer dollars.

    Obviously the press is over reaching now that emails no longer matter, right?

  107. al-Ameda says:

    @Andrew:

    Obviously the press is over reaching now that emails no longer matter, right?

    It is completely different: Hillary used her personal email server to found ISIS, collaborate with the terrorists at Benghazi, and continue the cover-up of Vince Foster’s murder.

  108. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Pch101:

    I like Jack. He’s my window to the world of the stupid.

    Clearly Jack doesn’t know jack about income taxes. (and previously he has demonstrated an absence of understanding on other issues). However he is a voter, and as you suggest may represent a significant swath of the American public.

    Jack may not have completed high school, but I don’t hold that against him. What I do have problem with is that he pretends that he has understanding that he clearly does not.

    I see Jack as an example of the kind of interaction I frequently see in gatherings of retired men at MacDonald’s in the morning. Most of these guys are good men, good fathers, good husbands, they worked all their lives at the auto assembly plant. The way they inform their lives is 1) their subscription to National Enquirer, 2) floundering around on facebook, 3) conversations with Jack-like cohorts. If they watch TV for news content their sources are ESPN or Fox News — because they don’t trust ABC, NBC, CBS (but can’t explain why they distrust). PBS is as foreign to them as Pravda.

    IMO the greatest failing of the Democratic Party is they have not developed an effective conspiracy machine, rather they have relied on facts and reason.

    It makes me both frustrated and sad for our future.

  109. Pch101 says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    You’re way too kind.

    He’s the kind of guy who blames “the elites” for his incapacity for learning instead of holding himself responsible for improving his own game.

    He relies upon the right-wing media and GIF files for his “knowledge” because the real world doesn’t tell him what he wants to hear.

    You’re not going to win him over by engaging him, so don’t waste your time. Focus on the middle who can be reasoned with; guys like Jack are a lost cause, and they like it that way.

  110. Rick DeMent says:

    @Pch101:

    I get that but it doesn’t seem to me like voter turnout was all that low historically speaking, only in contrast to Obama’s first election
    .

  111. Pch101 says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    The point is that there is no magic number that is always needed; the percentage that tips the scale varies from time to time. You have to observe the trend, not just the percentage.

    Clinton obviously won more votes. But of course, she didn’t win quite enough of the right votes, hence the need for higher turnout in order to offset the difference. It wouldn’t have taken much in this case.

  112. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Pch101:

    You’re not going to win him over by engaging him, so don’t waste your time

    That.
    I don’t entertain any notion that I (or anyone else) is going to “win him over”, but failing to call him out on BS – that’s bowing to dishonesty. But honestly, I don’t have the requisite energy to respond to all the BS.

  113. Ratufa says:

    @Zachriel:

    Clinton had planned on pivoting to a positive message in the final two weeks of the campaign, to give Democrats an affirmative reason to come to the polls, but the Comey letter trashed that.

    Ignoring why Clinton waited ’til the end of the campaign to provide positive reasons to vote for her,. why did the Comey letter prevent her from pivoting? There’s nothing in the letter that stopped her campaign from easing off on the constant “Trump is bad” ads and airing ads that gave positive reasons to want her to be President (besides, just experience in government, which is a two-edged sword when people are unhappy with the status quo).

  114. al-Ameda says:

    @Ratufa:
    Sometimes winning the popular vote is just not enough.

    Despite being a very flawed candidate – 25 years of relentless opposition attack, over 2 years of multiple Republican investigations designed to cripple her candidacy, and 2 Comey-inflicted blows, one at the last minute – she nearly succeeded.

    But, here we are. Angry White people still determine where our elections are going.

  115. Ratufa says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Of course, we’ll never know for sure whether Clinton’s campaign would have won if they’d modified their campaign strategy in some way(s). But, the votes were close enough in key battleground states that it is plausible that a change in their strategy could have won. If you believe this article, Bill raised some questions about the strategy during the campaign:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/hillary-clinton-aides-loss-blame-231215

    I’m not just trying to second guess things for its own sake.. If the Democrats don’t spend a lot of effort figuring out what went wrong and how to keep it from happening again, there’s a danger of a repeat performance.