Why Hillary Clinton Lost

Six months after the election, the postmortems of the Clinton campaign all seem to have one thing in common, they all point at things other than the candidate and her campaign as being the reason she lost.

Clinton, Gates, And Mullen Testify Before Senate Foreign Relations Cmte

There’s an old saying reported to have originated with the Roman Senator and historian Tacitus that ‘success has a hundred fathers, while failure is an orphan.’ If there is any modern arena where this old aphorism is true, it’s politics and the way that people react to a winning campaign versus a losing campaign. When a candidate for office wins, the number of people who try to claim some responsibility for the win often ends up exceeding the number of people who worked on the campaign in a significant enough manner to impact decision-making. This is especially true when a campaign exceeds expectations either by winning despite predictions of failure going down to the wire or when a campaign does worse than expected or just loses in general. In the first case, you’ll find countless numbers of people claiming responsibility for the win. In the second you’ll generally find everyone involved in the losing campaign either pointing their fingers at advice given by other campaign advisers, pointing their fingers at factors outside the campaign, or arguing that advice they gave that wasn’t properly followed, The same is true of the election pundits, who generally spend the time after a given election either touting the fact that the were right, or blaming some unknown factor for why their confident prediction of an imminent and inevitable victory by one candidate over the other turned out to be so very wrong.

Most recently, of course, this phenomenon has been on display with regard to the 2016 Presidential election, and as we hit the six month anniversary of Donald Trump’s stunning and surprising Electoral College win, the effort to determine why Trump won and, perhaps more interestingly, why Hillary Clinton lost has been ramping up and is only likely to continue. This has become especially true in the past week with the released of Shattered, a book by political reporters Jonathan Allen and Annie Parnes that tells the inside story of what was going on inside the Clinton campaign, especially in the final weeks leading up to Election Day. While I have not read the book itself, reviews and summaries that have been released it seems clear that the Clinton campaign was far less organized and far more ridden by internal divisions than it seemed from the outside. This release has caused many pundits and analysts to break out their favorite theories about what went wrong.

James Joyner highlighted one of those theories in his post about Kevin Drum’s two posts over the weekend — here and here — regarding the impact that James Comey had on the outcome of the election. Drum’s hypothesis, of course, rests on the proposition that the late-October letter that the FBI Director sent to Congress advising them that the Bureau had reopened the closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server due to the fact that it had discovered emails that appeared to originate from that server during the course of an unrelated investigation. It has been speculated, but not confirmed, that this unrelated investigation involves Huma Abedin’s estranged husband former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his sexually explicit conversations with an underage girl in another state that ended up being the apparent final straw in the Abedin-Weiner marriage. According to the hypothesis advanced by Drum and others, including apparently Hillary Clinton herself, the letter that Comey sent to Congress in late October ended up spelling the death knell for Clinton’s campaign. The people advancing this theory also tend to assert, incorrectly, that there was something improper about his letter. As James noted in his post, and as I note in a comment to that post, Comey had an impossible choice to make under the circumstances and did the best he could:

[I]t’s worth noting what happened between the July press conference and the late-October release of the letter regarding the reopened investigation. It was just about a week after the press conference that Comey testified under oath to Congress regarding the investigation and the conclusions he announced at that press conference. Among other things, he had testified under oath that the Bureau had examined all of the emails connected to Clinton’s server it was aware of before reaching the conclusion he announced. Once these additional emails were found — apparently as part of a separate investigation of Huma Abidin’s estranged husband Anthony Weiner — he was under a legal obligation to supplement his sworn testimony. Had he not done so, he would have been potentially subject to legal sanctions. To the Bureau and Comey’s credit, they were able to conclude their investigation in a short period of time and a second letter was sent to Congress indicating that there were no new emails found among those mentioned the week before.

As you say, Comey was put in an impossible situation. If he didn’t inform Congress, he’d have broken a promise and thus endangered his own and the FBI’s credibility with Congress and the public and he would have potentially been subject to legal sanctions. If he did, he’d be accused of trying to influence the election. In the end, I think he made the right choice.

(hyperlinks added for purposes of this post)

This isn’t to argue that Comey’s letter had no impact at all, of course. Like every other event that happens during a campaign, there were any number of reasons why Hillary Clinton lost and Donald Trump won. At the top of the list, of course, one has to place the candidates and their respective campaigns.

At the top of the list, of course, one has to place the candidates and their respective campaigns. Donald Trump ran a far from flawless campaign, of course, especially during the General Election. While he managed to get out of the Republican National Convention relatively successfully notwithstanding major fractures in the party over his candidacy, it’s worth remembering that he spent much of the summer floundering and shooting himself in the foot via actions such as attacking a sitting Federal Judge over the Trump University lawsuit and attacking a Gold Star family who appeared at the Democratic National Convention. In October, his campaign was rocked by revelations from a tape from the mid-2000s where he made sexually explicit, demeaning comments about women that caused many top Republicans to seemingly abandon his campaign and his poll numbers to drop. Had those events happened closer to Election Day, it’s probable that his campaign would not have recovered.

Of course, while Donald Trump was flawed as a candidate in almost every respect, Hillary Clinton was far from an ideal candidate herself notwithstanding her popularity inside the Democratic Party. Her favorable/unfavorable numbers were nearly as bad as Trump’s throughout the course of the campaign, for example, and continued questions about things such as the Clinton Foundation and her use of a private email server while Secretary of State. Additionally, as Shattered and other reporting from the inside of the Clinton campaign have revealed, in many cases the Clinton campaign made questionable strategic and tactical choices that ultimately may have cost her the election. As I have pointed out several times since Election Day, Clinton arguably lost the Electoral College vote by the rather small margin of just 77,744 votes (.0.60% of the vote) in three states  — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — and that had she won those states she would have won a narrow Electoral College victory. All three of these states had been voting Democratic since at least the Election of 1992 and were expected to go for Clinton last year. Why they didn’t will be the subject of speculation for years, but one thing that is undeniable is that the Clinton campaign chose at a crucial time during the closing weeks of the campaign to divert resources from these crucial Midwestern states and move them toward trying to steal a state from the Republicans, with particular efforts focused on Arizona and Georgia where some polling had shown Clinton performing better than expected. In the end, Trump ended up winning both of those states easily, meaning the Clinton camp had essentially been baited into moving its forces in much the same way that Patton’s shadow army kept convincing the Nazis that the “real” D-Day invasion would come at Calais rather than Normandy.

One final factor that many Clinton supporters and Democrats have cited as a reason for Clinton’s loss are the alleged Russian efforts to intervene in the election and alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Again, like the Comey letter, it’s likely that the revelations that came from whoever hacked into DNC computer system and leaked emails that ultimately proved embarrassing to the Clinton campaign had at least some impact on the outcome of the election. At the same time, though, it’s worth remembering that the contents of these emails, which detailed the extent to which the DNC worked to manipulate the primary and debate schedule to benefit Clinton and keep challengers such as Berne Sanders from gaining momentum were the truth, not disinformation or so-called “fake news.” Additionally, other events during the campaign, such as the questionable way that the Clinton campaign handled questions regarding her health in the wake of that fainting incident on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, likely also influenced the outcome of the election.

In other words, pointing to a single component to try to explain what is perhaps the most historically unusual election result in recent American history is largely a waste of time. Just as there were many reasons that Donald Trump won the Electoral College, there are many reasons that Clinton, the seemingly inevitable victor for more than a year, ended up falling short notwithstanding the fact that she received so many more popular votes than Trump did. Clinton’s problem, of course, came from the fact that much of her popular vote margin came from running up votes in states she was going to win anyway such as California and New York while falling short in states that she should have one, such as the three Midwestern states I mention above. In this case, rather than being an orphan the failure of the Clinton campaign has many, many fathers and many explanations that political analysts and historians will no doubt be exploring in the coming years.

Update: Greg Sargent reaches similar conclusions.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. teve tory says:

    I don’t blame Hillary and I don’t blame the voters. No one in history got so many more votes than her opponent and still lost. The Electoral College biases the results toward the whiter more backwards states, which is why it’s in there in the first place, and that’s why she lost. The only 2 times in my lifetime there’s been an EC/Pop Vote split, the people wanted the liberal, but the EC gave it to the candidate of rural whites.

  2. Hal_10000 says:

    I’ve been seeing excerpts and it’s really astonishing to read how they didn’t want to campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin because they thought it would hurt them. That’s really outthinking yourself.

  3. Mu says:

    Hilary wasn’t elected because of hubris. She was convinced she had an agenda that made her unbeatable, and she didn’t need the 25% of the traditional Democrat voters that disagreed with it. Exactly what used to kill Republicans, public litmus tests of doctrinal purity, was suddenly establishing a DINO class of rejects. And in the end most of those “polling as Johnson voters” went for Trump who didn’t seem to put up the same kind of barriers to his message.

  4. SKI says:

    tl;dr version: HRC underperformed a “typical Democrat” and was not a good candidate and her campaign wasn’t perfect and made mistakes but that alone wasn’t enough to defeat her. Anyone claiming that there is a singular reason isn’t being honest and isn’t reliable.

    One note of warning about Shattered: at least one of the people cited in it, Jon Favreau, has stated that the “translation” of what he said was flawed and inaccurate. That they took what he said and extrapolated it and ascribed conclusions to him he did not reach or share. Not surprising the extrapolation was far more declarative and designed to grab headlines and ascribe blame.

  5. CSK says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Why did they think it would hurt them to campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin? I assumed they thought (stupidly, as it turned out) that they had both states in the bag, so simply didn’t bother. But hurt?

  6. michael reynolds says:

    If nothing else, can we please stop pretending that humans are easily quantifiable? Humans are not numbers, they don’t behave like numbers. The Clinton team were great believers in data, but there is no STEM approach to predicting or controlling human behavior. This is why the ‘science’ of economics fails at its core task of prediction.

    Enough with number crunchers, the number crunchers got their asses kicked by a game show host with a sideline in real estate scams. Fire all the numbers people and tell a fwcking story that you actually believe in. Authenticity matters, and as weird as it sounds, Trump was more authentically Trump than Hillary was Hillary. He told a story, she didn’t. He was himself, she was not.

  7. Pch101 says:

    Was Clinton an ideal candidate? No.

    Did Clinton run an optimal campaign? The more that we learn about it, the more that the answer to that appears to be “no.”

    Could Clinton have won the electoral vote with more effective campaigning? My guess is that the answer to that is “yes.”

    Could another Democrat have won? I would surmise that Joe Biden could have, but Bernie Sanders would have gone down in flames.

    Does any of that absolve the GOP of its smear campaigns and nastiness? No. The GOP is not a legitimate political party and should be treated as the tyrannical political cancer that it is.

  8. CSK says:

    @SKI:

    Favreau may be telling the truth…or he may be engaging in a little CYA. It is not uncommon for people to deny they said things they in fact did say.

    Once when I was interviewing someone very high in law enforcement, he told me some very interesting stuff, then said he’d deny it if I quoted him.

  9. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    This. Clinton made the same mistake as Gore: Desperately trying on different personas to find one that people would like. It shows.

  10. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The data was not the problem. Data, if used properly, could have been part of the solution.

    On one hand, Trump was unlikely to win the election. The fact that he won the electoral college is largely a statistical fluke.

    On the other hand, it was quite obvious that if Trump had any chance of winning at all, then it would happen by winning the Rust Belt. So it should have been obvious to the Clinton campaign that defense of the Rust Belt was a top priority.

    These things are won or lost on the margins, which calls for marginal analysis. That seems to have been missing here — you treat your opponent’s best opportunities for creating gains as battlegrounds, even if the opponent’s odds of capitalizing on those opportunities are low.

  11. SKI says:

    @CSK:

    Favreau may be telling the truth…or he may be engaging in a little CYA. It is not uncommon for people to deny they said things they in fact did say.

    He didn’t deny that he shared negative information about the campaign or that the quote itself was accurate. He was very clear in how and why he criticized them and from what vantage point. His criticism was that they took his quote (that the campaign had messaging issues around the purpose of the campaign) and then claimed that he thought the campaign workers themselves didn’t believe in the campaign – something he doesn’t believe and didn’t say. You can listen for yourself here (the discussion starts around the 28 minute mark on their 4/20 podcast).

  12. @michael reynolds:

    Based on the summaries and reviews of Shattered that I’ve read it does appear that Rodney Mook, Clinton’s campaign director, and the people around him were so convinced of their data that they were refusing to listen to reports indicating that the data might not be telling the whole story, or advice that contradicted it. Inexplicably, this included political advice from perhaps the best adviser Clinton had in her corner, the former President. There were reports even during the campaign about Bill being frustrated because the HQ in Brooklyn was so sold on its own models that it wasn’t listening to common-sense political advice.

  13. Guarneri says:

    ” The GOP is not a legitimate political party and should be treated as the tyrannical political cancer that it is.”

    Sparkling analysis. And they wonder why they are losing everywhere you look.

  14. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    You can analyze it all you want…Clinton lost because 63 million Americans are mentally deficient.

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    It is the reliance on data that makes these contests marginal. Data is all about turning out your base, and that is a limiting approach. Data does not tell you how to create a narrative that will draw in voters across the aisle. We’ve all stopped even trying to convince anyone, we’ve fallen back on scorn and exclusion when what we need is a unifying narrative; We focus on intra-party purity, on pandering to demographic groups, rather than explaining to voters just how we are going to make their lives and this country a better place.

    Every time Hillary did her robot roll-call of ethnicities I cringed – that is buying into the racialist ideology of the far right. I thought we Democrats believed that we should look beyond race. I thought we rejected the notion that race or gender were destiny. Instead we’ve become as racialist (not racist, different word) as a 19th century Alabama plantation owner or an 18th century British colonist.

    At the most fundamental level we have done an excellent job of deconstruction. We deconstructed the hell out of every institution and philosophy and offered nothing as replacement but a void, an absence – tolerance. Our sole unifying belief on the left is, “don’t be this or that ‘ist.” That’s not a plan. That’s not telling people where their kids are going to be economically in ten years. And to make matters worse, the campus left goes right off the deep end and turns our bland ‘tolerance’ into obnoxious intolerance, cutting the legs out from under even our vapid tolerance message.

    We need to stop obsessing over who we are, and start thinking about what we do. Identity politics is narcissism, it has zero appeal beyond groups we already hold, it actively alienates potential allies, and it ends up excusing the very white racism we are supposedly against. We know what we’re not going to be: various ‘ists.’ But aside from a laundry list that amounts to ‘more of the same’ we have no forward-looking plan, no action-oriented philosophy. ‘We’re not assholes’ is clearly not sufficient. Less of what we are or are not, more of what we plan to do.

  16. john430 says:

    @Pch101: You know, it’s moronic thinking such as yours that lead people to brown-shirts and goose-stepping. It is estimated that 25% of blue collar Democrats went for Trump. Whom do you idolize? I suspect Cuba’s Castro and Venezuela’s Maduro are in your Pantheon of heroes

  17. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Not listening to political advice from Bill Clinton is like not listening to Stephen King talking horror. Numbers always seem so solid and real. They are hard to argue with.

  18. Pch101 says:

    @john430:

    Thanks for reminding me why I can’t take you seriously.

    @michael reynolds:

    Data is what it is. You can use it intelligently or not, and it would seem that they did not.

    This country has 51 elections, and it would be wise for the candidates to prioritize the elections among those 51 that are most likely to be moved either for or against you. In this case, that would have called for Democrats defending the Rust Belt because that’s what your opponent might have a chance of winning.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    The goal cannot just be winning. The goal has to be solving problems and pointing the way ahead. Rather than slicing the pie into ever smaller tranches, we need a bigger pie, and that comes from authenticity and a vision. But authenticity and vision will immediately be countered by some hotshot STEMie in your campaign telling you this or that position isn’t selling. And once you digest that data and trim your sails accordingly, you cease to be authentic. So we end up combining inauthenticity with racialism and the far left’s insufferable intolerance, and what have we got for sale to the average voter?

    Even I can’t stand us. Don’t get me wrong, my contempt for the GOP is at 10 out of 10, but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with a Democratic voter base with heads full of drivel and litmus tests.

  20. TM01 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    Actually , this is part of the reason she lost.

    Arrogant, condescending crud like that.

    And the inability to even entertain the thought that others have legitimate differences of opinion.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @TM01:

    No, he’s right: Trump voters are stupid. Astoundingly stupid. They picked the biggest liar in the history of American politics. They picked an abject ignoramus. They picked a man repeatedly caught committing fraud. They picked a man who was also the pick of Vladimir Putin, the KKK and every neo-Nazi on earth. They picked a man incapable of human empathy. They made the single worst decision in the history of presidential politics and they have permanently degraded the office of the presidency, obliterated our position in the world, and reduced the world’s greatest democracy to a joke.

    There is not a single HR department on earth that, looking at the resumes, would have picked Trump over Hillary.

    No, you don’t escape from the ‘stupid’ label. Not now, not ever. You fwcked up. You fwcked up really badly.

    We fwcked up, too, but our fwck up was very small by comparison.

  22. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I have a masters degree and took graduate-level statistics. I am data-driven generally.

    But I would not have reached the same conclusions that they did for the reason that I provided.

    Data does not always point to the same answer. Ultimately, data is a tool for people to use or misuse; if it is misused, then you blame the people, not the data.

  23. Pch101 says:

    @TM01:

    Republicans are fond of personal responsibility, if they aren’t the ones who are personally responsible.

    Republicans are fond of calling for others to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, while demanding benefits for themselves.

    It is not the Democrats’ fault that a bunch of perpetually angry snowflakes with questionable racial views and limited IQs are called out for being idiots. If Republicans don’t wish to be labeled as dumb bigoted hypocrites, then they should take some personal responsibility and stop behaving like dumb bigoted hypocrites.

  24. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yeah, but telling the Trumpkins they’re morons, while gratifying, only serves to make them dig their heels in harder.

    But perhaps it doesn’t matter, since they’re beyond rational reach anyway. At this point if Trump Tweeted “Ha-ha, you stupid saps, you really thought I was gonna build a wall?” they’d swoon over his brilliance at four-dimensional chess.

  25. alanstorm says:

    @michael reynolds:

    How cute.

    Your tirade, with its implicit assumption of intellectual superiority (with absolutely no data to support it) is a picture-perfect snapshot of why she – and democrats in general – lost.

    Thank God you have the self-awareness of a bivalve. Otherwise you might learn enough from your loss to be dangerous.

  26. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    Who cares how they feel?

    The reason to attack them is to remind your own side of the need to brawl.

    These types of people have to be confronted. Passivity is not the answer, nor is hoping against hope that being polite to them will somehow help. They are who they are because they are deficient, not because there are others who aren’t.

    Being polite to them actually makes them worse because it serves to normalize them. They may hate it when you beat them up, but they would hate you even more if you are nice to them because they would regard that courtesy as a sign of weakness.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    @alanstorm:

    Tell me where I was incorrect. Let’s start with Trump’s incessant lies. Do you maintain that he’s honest? Just how many lies do we have to catch him in before you face reality?

  28. reid says:

    @TM01: I’m sure Darryl’s comment was tinged with bitterness, but this isn’t about differences of opinion. This is about large numbers of people voting for someone who is a lousy human being and a con-man, in addition to being obviously not fit for the job of president. That should have been the end of it. If this was Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush, we could at least begin to talk about opinions.

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Oh, I agree. But I live in reality, and I don’t ‘adjust’ reality or deny it, I accept it. They were morons. Granted we shouldn’t make a fetish of telling them just how stupid they were, but that they were stupid is inarguable.

  30. al-Alameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    Sparkling analysis. And they wonder why they are losing everywhere you look.

    Except for the popular vote ….

  31. Yank says:

    But one thing that is undeniable is that the Clinton campaign chose at a crucial time during the closing weeks of the campaign to divert resources from these crucial Midwestern states and move them toward trying to steal a state from the Republicans, with particular efforts focused on Arizona and Georgia where some polling had shown Clinton performing better than expected.

    They did that because they were going to win those states prior to the Comey letter. Even when people acknowledge this, they still undersell the impact it had. She saw a significant drop in support and never recovered according to internal pollsters in both parties.

    Clinton made mistakes, but the Comey letter was the backbreaker and the primary reason she lost. Everything else, her slogan, resources allocations etc. were secondary. But of course, it just easier for pundits and journalist to just blame Clinton, instead of pointing to the real elephant in the room; She got knee-capped on the final lap.

  32. Gavrilo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The reality is that a lot of knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, racist, homophobic, islamophobic, misogynistic, bigoted, white working class people that have been voting Democratic for 30 years switched parties this time.

  33. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    No, he’s right: Trump voters are stupid. Astoundingly stupid. They picked the biggest liar in the history of American politics.

    That’s true if politics is about choosing the right person.

    But for most Americans (and Canadians for that matter) – and by most I mean 90+%, politics is a team sport, and you cheer for your team even if the quarterback is an asshole who couldn’t throw a spiral more than ten yards to save his life, if the front line couldn’t block a drunk staggering down the street, and the defense trip over their own feet every three steps.

    The weirdest conversations I had was when I visited the old southern home a month ago. Not one person in ten could tell me a single thing either Clinton or Trump said other than they remembered “You’re Fired!” – and most of those folks voted (about half D, half R). It totally disabused me that people voted on either the issues or character (meaning good or bad person rather than interesting or boring) – almost none of them knew anything about either Trump or Clinton. They voted based on the team they always voted on.

    It totally changed my view of how to win elections; people you run across online, especially in political forums, who actually follow politics, are a very small minority.

    Seriously, most of them didn’t even have opinions about either Trump or Clinton. It was like asking them what they thought about the 2nd string corner back on their favorite NFL team – they recognized the names but knew nothing about them.

    If you want to win, you need someone with charisma. This is why some people (and I met quite a few) voted for Obama twice and now Trump (and who would have voted for Obama a third time because they liked him). As you said above, Trump was more true to being Trump (ie a narcissistic sociopath) than Clinton was to being Clinton (she kept trying different roles), and for the few percent who didn’t just vote the party they habitually vote for, charisma was the differentiating factor.

    And Clinton still would have won if she’d showed up in the mid-west and campaigned, because not showing up was seen as an insult, and immature as it is, people reacted with the old “if you don’t like us enough to visit then we want nothing to do with you”.

    Elections are only very, very minimally about issues or good character. You’re a writer, you’ve probably noticed evil characters are often more entertaining, more charismatic than good ones. That sums up how the undecided in the mid-west voted.

  34. Yank says:

    @Gavrilo: The reality is Democrats have been shedding WWC voters since the mid-1960s.

  35. Bill says:

    A OTB commenter about 5 months ago said Hillary lost because she was an uninspiring candidate weighed down with over 20 years of baggage or something like that. It was right on the bullseye and I wish I could find the comment.

  36. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @TM01:
    Sorry…the idea that Comb-over Donnie is somehow qualified to be the POTUS is delusional. And if you voted for him, as I assume you did, then you are mentally deficient.
    He’s coming up on 100 days and has accomplished near zero. Every other word out of his mouth is a lie. He doesn’t understand how anything works, from health care to the EU to NATO to nuclear weapons. He is betraying almost every promise he made to con you out of your vote.
    This White House has spent the first 100 days in chaos of their own making. I fear the day when an actual crisis occurs. Because the current occupant of the Oval office is proving himself not up to the task.

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @george:
    Charisma is authenticity + story. Bernie was not charismatic per se, he became charismatic because he had an idea – ‘socialism’ – and he was himself. If you voted for Bernie you knew what you were getting.

    Elizabeth Warren is a lousy speaker with an irritating voice, but she has charisma because we know what she believes and she doesn’t pretend to be what she’s not.

    In some more extreme cases the charisma is a thing unto itself – Obama and JFK were effortlessly charming and attractive. But we can’t always run rock stars. In the absence of an Obama or a JFK we need candidates who actually believe things, even when those things maybe don’t poll well. Biden would be an example: he’s a doctrinaire liberal but he’s genuine.

    I think the trick to just putting it out there regardless of polling is to create an atmosphere of inclusion. So, say, “I don’t like guns, but if you do like guns, we can still work together on unemployment.” Or, “I’m pro-choice, but I respect the fact that many of you find that appalling, so let’s work together to reduce unwanted pregnancies and encourage adoption.” What we’re doing instead is shaming and scorning – something I am very guilty of – which only reduces our numbers and our impact.

  38. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @teve tory: Both of those losses followed 2-term incumbent Presidents which is historically a very hard win for the incumbent’s party. Americans traditionally desire a change after 8 years. You’re other point about rural whites is also short-sighted. Those voters never vote Democrat so her path to victory did wasn’t impeded by them. Hilliary Clinton lost the voter that voted for Barack Obama twice. They either didn’t come out or they went third party in states SHE took for granted. If she maintained the traditional Democratic margin of victory with white women and college graduates….we are not even having this debate. She underperformed. Thats the bottom line.

  39. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @reid:

    I’m sure Darryl’s comment was tinged with bitterness

    It’s not bitterness, it’s concern for the Republic. When 46% of the electorate are idiots, things cannot end well. When the POTUS is an incompetent buffoon, things cannot end well.
    Have you read the transcript of the AP interview he did? The man is unhinged.
    https://apnews.com/c810d7de280a47e88848b0ac74690c83

  40. Gavrilo says:

    @Yank:

    Yes, but my point is that Reynolds et al. were fine with the mouth breathers in PA, MI, and WI as long as they voted Democratic. Now, they’re a lost cause-irredeemably stupid, unable to control the drool leaking from the corner of their mouths. All because they didn’t vote the way he wanted them to, or more correctly, the way he thought they were going to.

  41. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think the trick to just putting it out there regardless of polling is to create an atmosphere of inclusion. So, say, “I don’t like guns, but if you do like guns, we can still work together on unemployment.” Or, “I’m pro-choice, but I respect the fact that many of you find that appalling, so let’s work together to reduce unwanted pregnancies and encourage adoption.” What we’re doing instead is shaming and scorning – something I am very guilty of – which only reduces our numbers and our impact.

    You probably have a winning methodology there. I’m willing to bet heavily it won’t be followed.

    And yeah, I reluctantly agree its hard to find someone like Obama or JFK consistently. That was just wishful thinking on my part.

  42. Gavrilo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Elizabeth Warren is a lousy speaker with an irritating voice, but she has charisma because we know what she believes and she doesn’t pretend to be what she’s not.

    That’s adorable! 🙂

  43. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    And an appalling number of people related to Trump because he’s a crude oaf, which for some reason they saw as “authentically American.” Clinton, on the other hand, was a northern Ivy League know-it-all snot elitist.

    The great irony is that no candidate has ever been more contemptuous of his supporters than Trump.

  44. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Well, he took elocution lessons from Sarah Palin, that’s clear.

  45. Pch101 says:

    Palin and Trump are also both quite close to Russia.

  46. john430 says:

    @Pch101: You don’t take ANYTHING seriously! That’s why I enjoy reading your grumblings when you ride in your clown car.

  47. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I voted for her but I never liked her. She struck me as someone who didn’t enjoy politics very much – she always seemed to have a tin ear for things that other politicians could have handled in their sleep. Her war-monger image seemed to me to be mostly a woman overcompensating with macho language to show that she could be just as tough as any man in a similar position. It just seemed – a bit off, somehow.

    I wish she’s stayed in the Senate and worked to be an expert in a particular policy area. Ted Kennedy was more effective once he put his presidential ambitions behind him – or more accurately, the presidential ambitions of those who wanted him to be president. She could have done the same thing.

    I actually didn’t think she’d run for president in 2016; I thought she’d put that behind her. Too bad, really.

  48. Tyrell says:

    Hillary went too far to the left in hopes of attracting the Sanders people. She also should have distanced herself from Obama. The leaders of the Democratic party need to take a trip outside of California and listen to the middle class, working people for once. The Democratic party went in the wrong direction in the early ’70’s when socialist radicals took over during the disastrous campaign of Senator George McGovern, an honorable man. One exception was the moderate southerner Jimmy Carter, a fine person.

  49. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m a scientist and a big believer in victory through sheer data volume, but I think you hit the nail on the head with that one. I thought Clinton’s use of data would be a game-changer. It was … for the other side. Ultimately, you can’t dissect an election down to that kind of micro-level.

  50. Scott says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    He’s coming up on 100 days and has accomplished near zero.

    I hope for all our sake’s, he keeps that track record going for about 4 years.

  51. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: what is very sad is that when Clinton was running for Senate the first time, when she was fighting an uphill battle, she actually was genuine. She went to the upstate and rural counties, she held town halls, she listened to people, and she was able to say “well, I disagree with you on guns, but health care, education and helping families are important to everyone… also, let’s be honest, we’re never going to get the support on gun control…”

    She didn’t convince everyone to support her, but she destroyed the image of her painted by the right wing media, and she was able to convince enough people to support her.

    She can be a very good, genuine candidate when she has to. But she didn’t think she had to, and she was clearly uncomfortable with it.

    (Contrast to Biden, who can sometimes hold it in and not be genuine… he’s a gladhander, but he’s a genuine gladhander who loves every minute of it)

  52. Jen says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    She struck me as someone who didn’t enjoy politics very much

    She hates politics, loves policy. Unfortunately, the office of the president requires both. You have to understand the policy and be good at politics if you ever want to get anything done in DC.

    Our current president isn’t good at the politics OR the policy. He continues to play to his base without ever really seeming to realize that being “successful” as defined by his base will not win over the folks who didn’t vote for him, which, as many here have pointed out, outnumber the ones who did vote for him–by millions.

    The fact that we are going to be stuck with the electoral college is something to think about here. It distorts the power of the voters in more conservative areas of the country. Democrats need to keep a 50-state strategy top of mind.

  53. Monala says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I’m realy curious about whether there are stats/ numbers of the following:

    1) Obama voters who voted for Trump (not just regions or counties that went for Obama before, but this time voted for Trump, but actual voters who made the switch)

    vs.

    2) Obama voters who sat out this time or voted 3rd party

    and

    3) non-voters during the Obama years who came out to vote for Trump.

  54. michael reynolds says:

    @Gavrilo:
    No, I was never OK with mouth-breathers even when they were on my side. I don’t subordinate facts to partisanship, that’s a Republican game. Nor do I pull mid-air flip flops and abandon everything I believe in to secure victory. That, again, is a Republican thing.

    In fact, when I’m not here arguing with you guys I’m often engaged in bitter wars with the far left of the Democratic coalition.

    I care about Truth and human liberty. Anyone who disregards truth or who does damage to human liberty, I oppose, regardless of party.

  55. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    I kept waiting for Senate candidate Hillary to emerge. I wrote aletter to the campaign begging them to get her away from speeches to large groups, and into televised meetings with small groups of voters – where she shines by virtue of actually knowing what she’s talking about.

    One of the early warnings was when she abandoned the TPP. No doubt polling told her it was unpopular, but the truth was 90% of American voters had no idea what it was and could have been convinced. Instead she rejects it, no one believes her, so she gets no points for her altered policy and loses points for a lack of authenticity.

    The woman had Bill Freaking Clinton as her in-house political advisor, for God’s sake. My wife and I both write, and (being husband and wife) there is conflict at times, but if my wife is talking phrasing or form or lyrical description, I damn well listen up. Ditto if I’m talking plot or series structure.

  56. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Gavrilo:

    All because they didn’t vote the way he wanted them to, or more correctly, the way he thought they were going to.

    There you go with the team sports again.
    Because they voted for a fraud, a con man, a grifter. An incompetent buffoon. All you’ve got is “we won.”
    No defense of his cabinet of Goldman Sachs alumni. No defense of his not getting Mexico to pay for his impossible wall. No defense of not naming China a currency manipulator. No defense of his failure at repealing Obamacare. No defense of his making the workplace less safe for the blue collar workers who voted for him. No defense of 100 days of failure.
    But your team won. Booyah.
    Moron.

  57. teve tory says:

    @Jim Brown 32: 75% of what you said is wrong. I’m not going to comprehensively bother with it, but let’s just look at one part:

    You’re [sic] other point about rural whites is also short-sighted. Those voters never vote Democrat so her path to victory did wasn’t impeded by them.

    You don’t understand how the EC weights those votes heavier than coastal votes. The fact that they don’t vote for her is crucial to the distortion. You should look into that.

  58. wr says:

    @Tyrell: ” The leaders of the Democratic party need to take a trip outside of California and listen to the middle class, working people for once.”

    I realize even as I type this that it’s useless, as Tyrrell is either a troll or a performance artist, but THERE ARE MIDDLE CLASS WORKING PEOPLE LIVING IN CALIFORNIA.

    Dipshit.

  59. gVOR08 says:

    @TM01: Don’t tell me they, you, have legitimate opinions, show me.

  60. grumpy realist says:

    Totally OT, but has anyone noticed Silicon Valley (ok, the company is out of San Fran) latest pratfall?

    I think I’ll file this in the “ordering pink Himalayan salt with my iPhone” for $200, Alex….

  61. george says:

    @CSK:

    The great irony is that no candidate has ever been more contemptuous of his supporters than Trump.

    You know, I don’t think they care. Most people don’t care what their favorite team’s quarterback thinks of them, or for that matter, what their favorite movie star or rock star thinks of them. They’re a fan, so they cheer for them, good or bad. Voting as team sport really is at that level for much of the population.

    On the plus side, I now understand why so many people don’t bother voting – they’re not fans of any of the teams (ie parties), don’t find any of the candidates entertaining, so going out and voting strikes them as pointless as going out and watching a sporting event they don’t care about. Yes, I know this is insane, but I think for many this is the mental process.

  62. george says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    There you go with the team sports again.

    My point exactly. And pointing out that their quarterback is a buffoon etc won’t matter, because when you win the Superbowl no one cares if you’re a buffoon/narcissistic sociopath, you won and that’s all that counts (seriously, see if you can ever find anyone saying they wish their favorite team didn’t win the Superbowl because their quarterback was an asshole).

    Unfortunately, unlike the winner of the Superbowl, the winner of the Presidency has a lot of power afterwards.

  63. Monala says:

    @michael reynolds: I recall reading stories during the campaign about her doing just that – having meetings with small groups of voters. That didn’t get the major press, however, but it’s not the case that she didn’t do it.

    ETA: here is one such story: Hillary Clinton gambles choosing small events over huge rallies

  64. CSK says:

    @george:

    I enjoy your commentary, George, but I have to disagree strongly with you here. The football analogy just doesn’t work with Trump. No one in New England cares what Tom Brady thinks as long as he keeps winning Superbowls. Trump, on the other hand, conned unemployed or underemployed blue collar workers into thinking he was just like them, a regular guy with regular guy worries.

    If you want to understand Trump, you have to know that he’s not just an oaf and a boob and a boor, he’s a failed social climber. He hates his fans because they remind him of his outer-borough roots. But he’s happy to use them because they could be manipulated to get him elected.

  65. Monala says:

    At the same time, though, it’s worth remembering that the contents of these emails, which detailed the extent to which the DNC worked to manipulate the primary and debate schedule to benefit Clinton and keep challengers such as Berne Sanders from gaining momentum were the truth, not disinformation or so-called “fake news.”

    Doug, do you have a citation for this? What I recall of the emails were one staffer suggesting they use Sanders’ perceived atheism against him (note: NOT his Judaism), but getting no takers; and some criticism of Sanders (such as Debbie Wasserman-Shultz calling him an ass for continuing to campaign after it was clear that he had no chance of winning–which was the spring of 2016, long after the debate schedule was set). What specific emails show the manipulation you described?

  66. george says:

    @CSK:

    I completely agree on you with regards to what Trump is like. And I agree Trump conned blue collar workers into thinking he could bring back jobs (which were mainly lost to robotics, a trend which is going to get worse rather than better).

    However, what I gathered from talking to friends and relatives in the mid-west (I’ve been living in Canada for awhile now so its not a regular thing for me) is that many (or even most) just didn’t listen to what either Trump or Clinton said (seriously, the only thing most of them could remember was that Trump used to say “You’re Fired”), because they basically didn’t care – they voted for the team. It was weird talking to them, but try this analogy, if you don’t like team sports.

    I have friends who are serious musicians. When they discuss music they discuss weird scales/chords, odd time signatures, and a whole lot of musical concepts that I don’t understand. The musicians they like are people I never heard of, and what they listen to sounds more like random noise than anything recognizable to them (they make Shoenberg sound melodic in contrast). I’m pretty sure I could understand it if I seriously studied it (I play some guitar, know basic music theory). However I can’t be bothered, and the music I listen to is what I enjoy listening to – that it isn’t “serious music” in their expert ears is irrelevant to me. That’s how I think most voters react to issues and even character when discussing politics. Its not important enough to them to put the effort into it. Most of them hadn’t even heard of the discussion of the Mexico Wall, of Clinton’s server, even of pussy-gate, because it was as irrelevant to them as atonal pieces are to me.

    That Trump is lying to them doesn’t matter, anymore than the observation that movie stars aren’t the characters they portray on the screen – they think all politicians lie, so they’re just going with either the party they always voted for, or for the person who plays the most likable candidate.

    Its cynical, but it explains what I saw and heard, and the political results over the last five decades quite nicely.

  67. Monala says:

    Furthermore, @Doug, I don’t think Greg Sargent reaches similar conclusions. He points out that Comey’s actions mattered a lot, that the focus on certain states made sense given what polling was showing, and that Clinton would not have stayed true to Democratic values if she didn’t condemn Trump’s racism and xenophobia. The one area where he really faults Clinton is for the perception that she represented the status quo in an environment that was demanding change:

    This possibility — that Clinton did not show a gut level of discomfort with our current arrangements — is worth mulling. Trump’s numbers were even worse than Clinton’s on honesty, and his promises to bust up the system were crude and laughably absurd — he actually argued that he was well qualified to reform our corrupt system because he had milked it himself from the inside to great effect. But it’s worth asking whether he somehow conveyed a visceral disdain for the way business is done in Washington that Clinton simply did not.

  68. Davebo says:

    I don’t have time to plow through all the comments but I did read Doug’s OP and it seems to gloss over the details that Drum, among others, relied on.

    Bottom line is yes, the private email server was a bad idea. Yes, Clinton isn’t the most charismatic candidate. Yes, the Wikileaks releases probably hurt her even though they really showed nothing negative at all and were twisted by her opponents.

    But throughout all that, through the entire campaign, she held a solid 4% to 7% advantage in almost all polls and there were tons of polls, until the two major Comey interdictions.

    The first, while hurting her, was overcome in the weeks that followed. The second was too close to the election to allow her to overcome it.

    In other words, pointing to a single component to try to explain what is perhaps the most historically unusual election result in recent American history is largely a waste of time.

    Provided you ignore the obvious and exact correlation to changes in polling after the introduction of said single component.

    Clinton’s problem, of course, came from the fact that much of her popular vote margin came from running up votes in states she was going to win anyway such as California and New York while falling short in states that she should have one, such as the three Midwestern states I mention above.

    Which she lost by less than 1%. Again, polling with a direct correlation to the Comey interdiction suggest STRONGLY that none of those states would have been in play without said interdiction.

    The fact is, you may not like Drum’s hypothesis but it’s far better supported than either of the two you make here. Mainly that Comey had no choice other than do what he did (he absolutely did and yours and James’ argument otherwise is pure conjecture and based on politics which normally we’d hope the FBI Director avoids) and that his actions aren’t the overwhelmingly primary cause of the loss of those three states and hence the electoral college (and in reality, it was more than just the three states you mention).

  69. Mikey says:

    @Davebo:

    Again, polling with a direct correlation to the Comey interdiction suggest STRONGLY that none of those states would have been in play without said interdiction.

    Clinton ran a bad campaign. Those of us who believed her experience and “ground game” would be deciding factors were wrong. “But she won the popular vote!” Big effing deal. She ran up the numbers in states she would have won anyway and made the stupid blunder of ignoring the Rust Belt voters who had voted for Obama. She took their votes for granted, and who likes being taken for granted?

    It was Clinton’s campaign, and she lost. The responsibility for that is hers, not Jim Comey’s. Had she run a better campaign, his notification to Congress would have been little more than a curious footnote. That you can assert it lost her the election only further points up how poor a campaign she ran.

  70. Davebo says:

    Tomasky makes an excellent point about Comey’s motivation that also seems to get short rift here. Again, via Drum.

    Fear of political fallout seems to have motivated almost everything he did. Kevin Drum made this point over the weekend. But Drum didn’t emphasize what is to me the most telling thing, which is that there is one group Comey appears not to have feared at all: Democrats.

    ….The Times talked to 30 people, and apparently the idea that Comey may have feared how the Democrats would react to any action of his just wasn’t brought up. Amazing. Remember what the guy did: He excoriated Clinton’s ethics; he announced a reopening of an investigation 11 days before the election with no evidence that there was any reason to think Anthony Weiner’s laptop would revealing a smoking gun (it did not, as Comey subsequently announced); and finally, he kept from the public the fact that his bureau was also investigating the other presidential candidate.

    And through it all, he was worried about what Republicans would do to him, but apparently never concerned about how Democrats would react to anything he did.

  71. Eric Florack says:

    It amazes me that people are still searching for a means Shifting the blame for Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss from Hillary Clinton herself. Let’s face it. Terrible campaign and an even worse candidate.

  72. Davebo says:

    @Eric Florack: Well you are the type that’s amazed daily that the sun has risen so that’s not exactly a news flash.

  73. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: Congratulations on making a cogent observation. Even a blind truffle can happen upon an acorn (or something like that…).

  74. MBunge says:

    I’ve heard and seen Republicans and conservatives say a lot of thing after they lose elections. A lot of excuses. A lot of rationalizations. I have to give them credit for one thing, though. I’ve never seen them lose an election and then bray on and on about how the winners were stupid. Evil and corrupt? Sure. But it take a level of childishness beyond even Newt Gingrich to lose an election to Donald Trump and then call anyone else dumb.

    And just to repeat, the Comey letter was’t the really problem even if it did cost Hillary the election. It could only have had that impact if…

    A. People desperately didn’t want to vote for Hillary anyway and just needed an excuse, or…
    B. People genuinely cared about the email scandal.

    The problem is that Democrats spent the better part of two years fanatically ignoring the painfully obvious flaws in their anointed candidate. That’s not exactly how “data-driven” people are supposed to behave.

    Mike

  75. MBunge says:

    @Davebo: Provided you ignore the obvious and exact correlation to changes in polling after the introduction of said single component.

    Correlation is not causation. That’s something smart people are supposed to understand.

    Mike

  76. Blue Galangal says:

    100 days into the Greatest Days and Doug is still trolling Hillary (and the sane people who supported her).

  77. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: A lot of people, especially men, ARE crude oafs. Many of them liked something about Obama that they didn’t like about Clinton. Let’s face it, for the lions share of voters…it’s about how a candidate makes them feel. This feeling is not rooted in policy positions…it’s in mannerisms, sense of humor, wit, presence…..all things Clinton doesn’t show on a stage. If you’re not the sort of person that makes moral judgements about candidates based on platforms and policy (which is most people) Trump is likeable and entertaining. He makes that person feel better than Clinton makes them feel. He still should have loss and probably would have if it were 2008 Trump vs Clinton.

  78. HarvardLaw92 says:

    So, somewhat OT, but …

    It seems that Trump wants to not only cut the corporate tax rate to 15%, but also to extend that to pass-through entities. Of course, if this actually happens, it will literally explode the deficit, to the tune of about an estimated additional $400 billion per year if implemented in its entirety.

    What does this mean for Goober P. RustStater?

    It means that while he will likely see the programs he depends on in order to survive slashed to the bone, if not eliminated entirely, every single one of those equity partners he hates in every single law firm on Wall Street is about to see his/her actual income tax rate slashed by better than 60%.

    Well played, nimrods. You certainly showed us … 🙄

  79. gVOR08 says:

    It should be clear from their statements and body language in the last few weeks of the campaign that Trump, and his campaign, did NOT believe they were pulling off some brilliant coup. Trump and co. more fell into victory than planned it. And after 90+ days, they are still the dog who caught the car.

    There are various “fundamentals” based voting models. They are based on economic variables, time of party incumbency, and other factors that have nothing to do with the candidates. Various models predicted a very narrow popular vote majority for Clinton to a loss by several points. It is very difficult for a U. S. party to win three prez terms in a row. Hillary strongly beat these models.

    Romney was widely, and deservedly, derided because his campaign thought they had the secret decoder ring for “unskewing” polling data. Clinton is being derided because her polling people didn’t catch that they were missing Trump voters who didn’t fess up to it. An error, but an understandable error given that no one else caught it until the election results were in.

    Clinton and her campaign made mistakes, they were not perfect. Duh. I’m getting tired of the acceptance of the idea that Republicans can screw up and screw over any way they feel like, but if there is any failure, it’s all the Democrats fault for having failed of perfection.

    No matter how badly Clinton may, or may not, have screwed up, she is responsible for it. And Comey, not Hillary, is responsible for what Comey did. Comey took two actions that had a highly partisan, predictable result. If you wish to argue that it’s not Comey’s fault, that Comey is non-partisan in his heart…whatever.

  80. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @george: How is it insane? What’s the point of voting for someone whose policies you disdain, whose honesty you distrust, and whose competence you question? What’s the point of voting for that person’s equally repugnant opponent? And why bother doing it if you don’t live in a swing state–my state has been reliably Democratic at the national level for my entire lifetime–and I start Medicare in 3 months.

    Want me to vote nationally? Show me a candidate worth voting for. (And don’t bother throwing SCOTUS at me–we just declared SCOTUS biassed and incapable of administrating justice in a post two days ago. It’s just part of the same sick game. Now following politics for the train wrecks, that I can see doing.)

  81. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @teve tory: Well I’ll certainly deal with you being 100% wrong. It makes no difference about perceived weighted advantages of one region over another. Over time, populations migrate so these supposed advantage/disadvantages are dynamic. Georgia, North Carolina, and other states that have been reliably red are getting bluer each year.

    You can’t miss what you never had. Democratic candidates have multiple paths to the Presidency on the map. The Republican road is fairly rigid….and I believe almost all of them include Florida.

    The entire argument about how unfair the electoral college is….is one of the most ridiculous leaps of logic Democrats have come up with to date. THEY HAVE THE ADVANTAGE. HRC had multiple paths…even after Florida was called for Trump and still lost.

  82. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Monala: There is a fair amount of exit polling but little actual data. NPR did some stories interviewing Obama voters that voted Trump or 3rd Party. My interpretation of the most common preason was that her last name was Clinton. Americans don’t want to do the family Presidency thing again after the Bush experience.

  83. george says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    What’s insane is not putting a bit of effort into learning about the candidates and the issues. Elections actually do influence the country and lives.

    If you decide not to vote after a bit of research then its an informed decision and I’m not saying anything against it.

  84. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Davebo: More evidence that you can, in fact, slap the Democratic Party in the face and they don’t respond. That’s why McConnell did what he did to Merrick Garland. Seriously, what’s the downside to crossing Democrats? You think that perception has an effect on messaging males? Absolutely.

  85. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MBunge: Really? The standard Republican caricature for Democratic voters is they are rubes who want free stuff and unlimited access to taxpayer money–which of course no Democrats contributed too. Try again.

  86. Ratufa says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    What’s the point of voting for someone whose policies you disdain, whose honesty you distrust, and whose competence you question?

    Because you aren’t just voting for a candidate, you’re voting to empower the political party that they belong to. There are significant differences in practice between the parties wrt tax policy, Supreme Court choices (which do matter), regulation of corporate power, etc. If you don’t believe that, consider how the political leanings of the Supreme Court affects decisions on issues like voter suppression, gay rights, abortion, campaign finance, etc. Or how tax cuts affect the ability to fund the social programs. that Democrats like. Or the effect of Trump and the Republicans on climate change research and treaties to limit CO2 emissions. There are many other examples. Even in areas such as military intervention, where both parties are similar in many ways, Republicans are more likely to advocate extreme actions, such as bombing Iran (though, I realize that Hillary isn’t the best candidate to exemplify these differences).

  87. Davebo says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    You think that perception has an effect on messaging males?

    What exactly are “messaging males”? People that talk trash about slapping others in the face on the inner tubes?

  88. Facebones says:

    The facts are these:
    – Hillary won the popular vote by 3 million votes
    – She is not president because she lost the electoral college by losing MIchigan by 12k votes, PA by 68K, and Wi by 20K.
    – Several pollsters and analysts (including Sam Wand and Nate SIlver) concluded that the late release of the Comey letter caused a 3% swing, and especially caused late deciding voters to turn against Hillary.
    – This was because of obsessive media coverage. Nate Silver pointed out that HILLARY EMAILS was the lead story in 12 out of 14 news cycles after the Comey letter, despite there being no actual news in it.)

    People who have always hated Hillary Clinton are free to ignore this in order to spit on her some more, but you have to be pretty obtuse to ignore the Comey effect. He helped throw an election so he could appear non-partisan.

  89. Facebones says:

    @Ratufa: Indeed, Conservatives who held their nose and voted for Trump have been rewarded with a right wing supreme court for the next 20 years. Bernie Busters who were too principled to vote for KILLARY SHILL FOR WALL STREET have screwed over women and minorities and immigrants. But hey, principles!

  90. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Davebo: The action/reactions of a party send a signal to various demographics. Democrats have issues with males in general. Especially white ones. Most of this is due to Party lack of bravado at key times. They don’t have to be Chris Christie-grade @$$hole but there is a time in the game when you need to play with a chip on your shoulders.

    Some of the most respected people I know from the streets are mild mannered, de-escalating type of people 99.8% The .02% of the time they weren’t that way? They were the extreme opposite… to send a message to people that mistook their relaxed personality for weakness. Word got around quick that so-and-so would cost you more than the sticker price.

    Democrats need a makeover….playing more hardball is a start.

  91. Eric Florack says:

    @Davebo: there’s a reason that continues to happen. Democrats are not in charge of that happening

  92. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Gustopher: Biden would’ve won. He has the political instincts to know that the Rust Belt states have to be cultivated, not taken for granted.

  93. Turgid Jacobian says:

    @HarvardLaw92: this is what they did in Kansas, right? That has been a damn disaster.

  94. Jen says:

    Clinton did not run a good campaign, that much is clear. But this “ignoring the flaws of their anointed candidate” nonsense is a case study in revisionist history. Clinton’s personal popularity was at an all-time high when she left the State Department. Her approval rating was at 65% when she became Sec. of State, and stayed there throughout most of her term in that office. She had a national network of fundraisers and grassroots activists from when she had run in 2008. She and her husband had a personal network of seasoned campaign workers at the ready. People in the Democratic party looked at this and begged her to run.

    She lost. But people need to stop pretending that she was “always” a disliked candidate, because that is ridiculous. She *looked* unbeatable as late as 2015.

  95. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Turgid Jacobian:

    Yup, it’s exactly what they did in Kansas. The wave of economic growth that didn’t materialize in Kansas won’t materialize in the US either. For reasons passing understanding, these people either can’t or won’t accept that supply side economic theory is fallacious. It doesn’t work – it has never worked – but they keep trying it anyway. Mnuchin is clueless. Always has been.

    But hey – thanks for the tax cut I guess. 🙂

  96. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Doh…
    Comb-over Donnie has caved on his wall funding demands.
    SAD!!!

  97. al-Alameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    Hillary went too far to the left in hopes of attracting the Sanders people. She also should have distanced herself from Obama. The leaders of the Democratic party need to take a trip outside of California and listen to the middle class, working people for once. The Democratic party went in the wrong direction in the early ’70’s when socialist radicals took over during the disastrous campaign of Senator George McGovern, an honorable man. One exception was the moderate southerner Jimmy Carter, a fine person.

    Hillary went to the left? L O L!

    Exactly what policies was she advocating that would be considered by anyone but far right Texans, Southerners, Sarah Palin or Ted Nugent as ‘left’ or ‘far left’?
    Preserving Social Security?
    Preserving Medicare?
    Revising the Affordable Care Act?

  98. Jake says:
  99. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell:

    The Democratic party went in the wrong direction in the early ’70’s when socialist radicals took over

    If you tried, it would be hard to write a statement that is more exactly 180 degrees from the truth than that.

  100. george says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Hardly surprising, since he really doesn’t care one way or another. He is non-ideological, or perhaps better put, his ideology is Trumpism, and he doesn’t care who he hurts or helps in that pursuit. If that means changing his opinions every six hours that’s not a problem for him, because he has no attachment to them anyway – they’re either convenient or inconvenient, and are to be disposed as soon as they fall into the latter.

    The same is true of his treatment of people (with the possible exception of his daughter – he might actually care about her, though I wouldn’t bet too heavily on even that).

  101. Jeremy says:
  102. bill says:

    @teve tory: trump ran his campaign like a business, he knew what he needed and where to get it. your theory is that the dreaded “ec” cost hillary the job- however you look at it she lost because trump knew the rules and played by them better. who’s to say he wouldn’t have spent more time in cali and the liberal coasts if he needed the votes? don’t assume the vote tally’s would be the same if he campaigned there…..that’s naive at best.

  103. Matt says:

    @MBunge: Well the people I know who voted for trump can be filled into three categories. The first group are those that voted Trump because they wanted him to burn the system down. These people are becoming more and more convinced they got conned. The second group were those that listened to Trump’s claims and took them at face value. The second group is already vocalizing amazement at how Trump has failed to fulfill any of his campaign promises. The third group are those that vote Republican because their mommy and daddy did. Some are hardcore RAW RAW GO TEAM GOP some are just people who always voted that way. ”

    Generally the people in all three groups are relatively smart and the first two groups include people who are fairly progressive. The people in the third group are the type that I generally don’t talk god, abortion, or even politics with because they are generally 100% committed to the GOP dogma. It just depends on the person.

    The reason Hillary lost depends on the person who voted. Personally I think all the reasons listed here are “true” to various extents of effect. Without a doubt I believe that the leaking of the Comey letter is one of the strongest reasons for HIllary’s loss as the letter reinforced the opinion of corruption/elitist among voters. If there had been time for the facts to get out Hillary would of recovered but alas election day was too near. Since there wasn’t time the letter just reinforced a whole slew of reasons to not vote for Hillary (most of which have already been listed).

  104. Zachriel says:

    In a close election, any number of factors can make the difference. In this case, the Comey effect, Russian interference, inattention to the so-called blue wall, the third term blues, dynasty aversion, and so on. Ultimately, though, Clinton failed to tell a story of her potential presidency, while Trump was more than capable of disrupting the thread of anything but the most compelling narrative.

    A simple Star Wars challenge