Hillary Clinton is also a lightning rod of emotion, both good and bad. How fair is that and how much can be attributed to her?
In the previous post in this series, I talked about Bernie Sanders, what I thought of his candidacy, and why the Democratic Party establishment (and a portion of the voting public) detests him. That is part of the puzzle of what ails the left. Another part of the puzzle is the mixed reaction to Hillary Clinton.
If you are still a supporter of Hillary Clinton this post will be tough for you to read (but please read this post in full before commenting). And to be honest, this isn’t an easy post for me to write. It has not been easy to criticize Barack Obama, either, but there are valid criticisms of him, too.
If any part of those post angers those who read it and I lose followers because of what I have to say, so be it. That can’t be helped, because we all need to be honest about HRC’s candidacy regardless. And we need to do an honest evaluation before we can even begin to talk about unity on the left.
If you manage to read everything I have laid out here, you might think I am being mean-spirited or that this post is one-sided, but that’s not what I want to do. If anything, this is tough love. Because Clinton was the Democratic nominee, we need to get to the heart of her campaign’s flaws and understand the anger surrounding her loss.
Before We Begin …
In a related post, I discussed Hillary Clinton’s book, What Happened. In that post, I said I could agree on a few things:
- She should have won the 2016 presidential election.
- The Benghazi investigations were political witch hunts.
- Clinton was hurt by the email scandals.
- HRC had to deal with a tremendous amount of irrational hate and sexism for much of her life.
Now, even if we understand this, the fact of the matter is that people on the left will not agree on much else, especially not these few hard truths regarding the past election:
- No votes were guaranteed.
- Many voters felt that Hillary Clinton would not offer the change they wanted, if at all.
- The above concerns were often ignored or met with accusations and derision.
- The 2016 election was ugly in large part because of Clinton and her team.
- Clinton still refuses to take responsibility for her own loss.
- Clinton thus has a negative effect on her supporters, as well.
No Votes Were Guaranteed.
Nationally, only 61% of eligible voters participated in the 2016 general election. And while there were more registered Democrats across the country, more Democrats stayed home. Additionally, most people who voted for Trump made their choice at the last minute.
Could Clinton have done more to bring in some of those voters? To be quite honest, Clinton was always viewed as “the eventual nominee” in 2008 and especially in 2016.
Clinton and other Democrats thus looked at third-party voters, independent voters, and progressive voters and assumed those votes were hers. And there was anger at nonvoters because people assumed those voters should have chosen Clinton if they participated. But that’s not how things work.
As Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, it was understood in Democratic circles that Hillary was running at least in part because it was “her turn.” Many people felt she was running to solidify her own legacy and she wasn’t exactly running for other people.
This turned people off if they were not already buying into Clinton’s candidacy for the following reasons:
1. Many Saw Clinton As Complacent.
Those votes I mentioned before weren’t even hers to lose; they were hers to earn. Politicians should not expect voters to choose them; it is the job of the politicians to make their own case and earn those votes.
2. Not All People Vote for Someone or a Party.
Some voters want to vote based on principles and for a common goal. Newer voters were coming in to support Sanders, but they felt no real allegiance to the Democratic Party. For all intents and purposes, we were seeing a new breed of voters.
3. More and More Americans Are Growing Tired of the Two-Party System.
I hinted at this a while back when I discussed whether third-party voters had decided the election. Many voters looked at this past election as a cynical commentary on the entire process because of the choices they were presented. There were too many voters who saw both Clinton and Trump as unacceptable choices.
4. People Hate to Be Told Things Are Rigged or They’re Told One Candidate Is the ‘Eventual’ Nominee.
This is something I will discuss in the next post, but to many people the two-party system is a rigged system. Third parties are largely kept out, either by rules, rhetoric, or lawsuits.
All of this magnified the messaging problems Clinton and her team had.
Why else were millions of voters reticent?
Many Voters Felt That Hillary Clinton Would Not Offer the Change They Wanted, If at All.
Let’s face it: while there are people who despised Hillary Clinton for predictable reasons (misogyny, political tribalism, and the effects of the “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” against the Clintons since the 1990’s), there were legitimate reasons to oppose Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. I am of course talking about her policies.
1. Many of Clinton’s Policies Ran Counter to Progressive Stances.
In speech and practice, Clinton may have aligned with progressives on at least 80% of the issues (I aligned with her on 84%), including her stances on reproductive rights, gun control, and making voting easier for Americans who were 18 and up. However, that 16%-20% difference was critical.
While many Democrats nowadays may rail against “ideological purity,” how do many of them feel about anti-abortion candidates? For many, a “pro-life” position is a non-starter. Likewise, within that 16%-20% difference in opinion are several non-starters for progressives when it comes to voting for Clinton.
Clinton was counted as one of the most liberal lawmakers when she was in the Senate, but where did she diverge from liberal policies? When you look at her record, from the time she was First Lady to her second presidential run, you will find some troubling things.
Here are the Cliff’s Notes look at the possible polices Clinton would have had as president:
As a First Lady
In 1993, Hillary Clinton was put front and center as she promoted her husband’s health care bill. But due to heavy lobbying from the health care industry, the Clintons suffered a crushing defeat.
HRC supported the 1994 Crime Bill. Here are my thoughts on it.
She supported NAFTA, which had a negative impact on American and Mexican workers.
She supported the 1996 welfare reform bill, which led to a falling out with her mentor, Marian Wright Edelman.
As a Senator
Clinton voted to approve a bankruptcy bill she had originally opposed as First Lady.
Clinton voted for the authorization of the Iraq War.
She voted for all of Bush’s tax cuts.
She voted (twice) in favor of the Patriot Act, which violated due process and habeas corpus.
Clinton voted for the bank bailout, when Americans still couldn’t get loans and were most hurt by the financial and housing crises.
As Secretary of State
Clinton did nothing to help the democratically elected leader in Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. In fact, her state Department actively helped the militant faction in the country by putting them on the same footing. Zeleya was eventually reinstated but Honduras is still grappling with violence, one reason for the increase in refugees from that nation.
In Haiti, her state Department worked with businesses to keep the minimum wage low. Also, much of the $10 billion in funds raised for Haiti was squandered under the watch of the Clintons.
Clinton pushed for an intervention in Libya. Muammar Gaddafi was widely seen as a dictator in the west and the NATO coalition in Libya sought to remove him. However, his killing was extrajudicial and the country is still beset by violence.
Clinton supported arming rebels in Syria, although she admitted that came with inherent dangers. She also promoted a no-fly zone, which would have to be enforced by airstrikes. This would immediately put the U.S. in conflict with Russia.
HRC supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership 45 times, although she would later say she opposed it. Many voters looked at the former and thus believed we would get some version of the TPP if HRC became president.
Additionally, Clinton promoted hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in numerous countries. The science is out and fracking produces waste water, which threatens water supplies.
On the Campaign Trail/Now
As a presidential candidate in 2008, HRC said she was willing to bomb Iran.
As a presidential candidate in 2016, Clinton opposed raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She stopped at $12 an hour.
She also opposed Medicare for all.
She also was silent on the Dakota Access Pipeline and largely silent on environmental issues.
Progressives thought Clinton’s stance on easing the burden of student debt didn’t go far enough.
For 2015-2016, Clinton was taking an aggressive stance with Russia (and Iran once again), long before the email leaks. And her foreign policy is what scared progressives the most.
Clinton had a comprehensive telecom platform, although it remained to be seen what she would do with respect to net neutrality.
In April-May 2017, Clinton said she agreed with Trump’s decision to bomb the Syrian airfield. But she said she would have proceeded without alerting Russia.
2. This Divergence Between Progressives and other Liberals Was Largely Irreconcilable.
One might look at these policies and think that’s no big deal, but that’s the problem. We are still in Iraq. We are still in Afghanistan after 16 years and we have bombed at least 8 countries since 2001. Progressives do not view this as good policy, let alone a justifiable one.
This country has been run by neoliberal and neoconservative policies for the past 50 or so years and progressives thought HRC would have offered no change. In short, she was viewed as the “status quo candidate,” and progressives were sick of the status quo.
Among the Americans who refused to vote for her or either of the two major candidates were people who researched them and thus felt they were offered no real choice at all. They felt they would get neocon policies regardless. Trump just put an ugly face on all of it and it was understood that he would openly screw people over.
3. Additionally, a Clinton Presidency May Have Negatively Impacted the Makeup of Congress.
Since presidents tend to see their parties lose houses in Congress, Clinton’s presidency might not have helped the Democrats in the long run.
The Democrats are pretty much wiped out — and Clinton didn’t even help the down-ticket races in 2016 — so Republicans would have greater control across the country. They’re getting close to the required number of legislatures to force a constitutional amendment. That should scare liberals and progressives more than the presidency.
The Above Concerns Were Often Ignored or Met with Accusations and Derision.
As I found out, it’s often hard to criticize Clinton without being screamed down. Many concerns people had about Clinton were shouted down or ignored. It’s still going on now.
I had to deal with at least one troll that called me a name just for expressing the concerns I had about Clinton.
Another Clinton supporter basically screamed at me because I voiced my displeasure at the choice of Tim Kaine as her running mate and another hand-waved my concerns.
My opinions about the DNC race also garnered an angry response.
There are a number Clinton supporters who do not want to hear anything negative about her, even if what is being said is true. That’s counterproductive, especially when someone who brings up valid concerns is being called “uninformed.”
We cannot move forward if everything negative thing said about Clinton is hand-waved away or met with blind rage.
The 2016 Election Was Ugly in Large Part Because of Clinton and Her Team.
I have seen some presidential elections in my short time on this earth and most of them had their share of ugliness.
I was around for both of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns. Neither of those campaigns were as ugly as the present-day. Although, in 1992, there were swirling allegations about Whitewater and women who had once worked with Bill Clinton accused him of sexual harassment.
The 1996 election was non-eventful, from what I remember.
The 2000 election was really ugly on the Republican side. In fact, both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns involved the open disrespect of military veterans (John McCain and John Kerry, the latter of whom was “swift-boated”).
George W. Bush himself was a draft dodger who used the mantra “Support Our Troops” to separate those who supported the war from those who didn’t. Yet people on his side remarkably denigrated others who actually fought in a war (Vietnam). Amazing.
The 2012 election was tense, but I didn’t feel it was nearly as ugly as W’s campaigns. Obama was dealing with the aftermath of the attack on the Benghazi outpost, and at times it felt like the election would be closer than it actually was. However, enough voters ultimately felt that Mitt Romney was out of touch and disdainful of the less fortunate.
The two ugliest presidential races of my lifetime occurred in 2008 and 2016.
In both 2008 and 2016, there was bickering between two factions on the Democratic side but 2016 had the added ugliness of a fake populist/plutocrat on the Republican side. Yep, Donald Trump did enough to make 2016 an ugly race. He insulted numerous groups and emboldened the worst of us. He also made fun of McCain for being captured.
Though beyond that, there was one common denominator in the 2008 and 2016 elections. That common denominator was the way in which Clinton’s campaigns were run. And in 2016, Clinton and her team committed 7 basic sins that contributed to her loss.
1. Her Surrogates Used Gender to Guilt and Divide.
A year ago, Trump said that Clinton was “using the gender card.” Although I wish his words would have been immediately turned on him …
(Real name is Vitali.)
Sadly, he had a point. Hillary Clinton mentioned her gender (as a reason people should vote for her) no less than 13 times during her 2016 run.
She cited her gender as a qualification and some of her surrogates used it to guilt other liberals and dismiss Trump supporters.
Using gender is a bad move because we are living in a time where feminism is often viewed with mistrust and disdain. I despise anti-feminism, but I see it around me. Also, many young women don’t want to call themselves feminists even if they believe in gender equality.
In the first chapter of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, Clinton’s campaign manager, Robbie Mook, worried about this:
From the earliest planning stages of the campaign, Hillary’s advisers had debated the extent to which she should correct for her 2008 loss by more overtly running as a woman. “I think running on her gender would be the SAME mistake as 2008, i.e. having a message at odds with what voters ultimately want,” Mook had written to [Cheryl] Mills. “[L]ots of people are going to say it would be neat for a woman to be president but that doesn’t mean that’s actually WHY they will vote for her….It’s also risky because injecting gender makes her candidacy about HER and not the voters and making their lives better.”
By pointing out her gender, Clinton further alienated herself from people who could have voted for her (and kind of undermined her accomplishments). And there was no point of accusing ALL of Sanders’ supporters and Sanders himself of being (somewhat) sexist.
2. Clinton and Her Team Encouraged Bad Behavior Among Her Supporters.
Much has been said about “Bernie Bros,” but I have seen a lot of bad behavior from some of Clinton’s most ardent supporters. This group includes people in the press and those with a bigger platform, like Bill Maher.
What did I see?
- To continue the gender angle: In 2016 it was about the “Bernie Bros.” In 2008, it was about the “Obama Boys,” which had a racial component.
- People like Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem accused Bernie supporters of being misogynists and “lost girls” who wanted to impress the boys. (BTW, millennial feminists are now being blamed for Hillary Clinton’s loss.) Clinton wholeheartedly laughed after Albright made her statement about women failing to help other women.
- Many people who intended to vote for Clinton denigrated anyone who stood on the fence. At times, these supporters were harder on other liberals and progressives than they were to Trump supporters.
- The same liberals and progressives who had misgivings about Clinton were preemptively blamed in case HRC lost.
- Anyone who viewed the WikiLeaks emails or reported on them was called a Russian shill.
- Some people who said negative things about Clinton were doxxed. It still happens now.
Clinton didn’t admonish her loudest supporters. That made it seem as if she gave her tacit approval of their behavior.
Do you remember how John McCain opposed the anti-Islamic smear against Obama in 2008 by one of McCain’s own supporters?
Clinton has done no such thing, at least not publicly. Instead, she brought on people like Lena Dunham, a person who described how she molested her younger sister — but denies that was child molestation.
Also, a number of Clinton supporters were mainly encouraged to harass Bernie Sanders supporters or pushed to do so by a couple of factors: corporate bosses and David Brock.
People like Maher, Rachel Maddow, and those who worked for mainstream outlets were (and still are) employed by huge media corporations, many of which had ties to the Clinton Foundation. For example, Time Warner, which owns CNN and HBO (which was also a donor in its own right), donated to the Clinton Foundation. Viacom, News Corp. (which owns FOX News), and NBC Universal (which owns MSNBC and is owned by Comcast, another Clinton donor) also donated to the Foundation.
For the most part, these outlets promoted Clinton and denigrated her opponents and detractors.
Forums and Other Online Spaces
In February, I mentioned David Brock when discussing the DNC race and I said the Democratic Party needed to cut ties with him.
Why? It’s easy.
Want to know why many people have hated the Clintons for no good reason? Brock is a reason, since he was part of the “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” Hillary Clinton once talked about. Brock and other muckrakers poisoned the well against the Clintons and HRC is still damaged by those efforts.
And before he got to the Clintons, he was going after Anita Hill in 1991.
So why would the Clintons employ the services of someone who doesn’t know how to do anything else? It beats me.
Regardless, Brock was part of Clinton’s team because he founded Correct the Record, a super PAC aimed at hiring online trolls to counter any negative thing said about HRC. Trolls went to Reddit and bombarded their opponents with direct messages. Other trolls infiltrated Facebook groups started by Sanders’ supporters and got them shut down.
That was downright sleazy.
3. Clinton Ignored Her Party’s Base Against Her Better Judgment.
This is actually the worst mistake any politician can make and the Democrats, with HRC leading the way, committed it in 2016. In fact, they have been doing this since 1985 in some way, shape, or form.
Instead of appealing to progressives (and reaching out to those Rust Best states Obama and Democratic presidential candidates had won for at least 8-12 years), Clinton instead wasted time trying to appeal to Romney Republicans. She received 8-9% of the Republican vote to be sure, but Trump got the same percentage of the Democratic vote.
What really baffled me was how Clinton was willing to reach out to Republicans who were reviled, like George W. Bush officials and Henry Kissinger. Bush was a big reason Barack Obama won election and Bush, his wartime officials, and Kissinger were all war criminals.
At the same time, people on the left were, again, being verbally abused and harassed into voting for Clinton. That alone hurt her chances.
4. In Particular, Clinton Spurned Younger Voters.
Admittedly, this part gets me riles up. I’ve said enough about the way younger voters were treated by Clinton, her team, and numerous supporters of hers. Here are some pertinent posts I already made on the subject:
- 3 Things I Don’t Like About Bill Maher
- Hillary Clinton’s Problems with Young Voters
- My Thoughts on Hillary Clinton’s Leaked Audio
- I Don’t Like It When People Bash Young Adults
Most of all, I hate how younger voters (including me) are denigrated and blamed for all the world’s problems, but especially for Hillary Clinton’s loss. We just got here, we are less advantaged than previous generations, we have more, inescapable student debt, we are paid less than our parents were at this stage in life, we have more of a social conscience than people give us credit for, and we do a lot of varied research.
Many young people who developed a distaste for Clinton did so because they did their research and they did not like what they saw. Yet they are called entitled and uninformed. And they are often dumped on by the well-to-do, including celebrities.
5. Clinton’s Campaign Relied Too Much on Fear.
Why should we have voted for Hillary Clinton?
- Because Trump.
- He’s going to use nukes.
- He may destroy NATO as we know it.
- He’s going to be controlled by Putin.
- He doesn’t know what he’s doing.
- He’s only running to boost his brand.
- He doesn’t pay his taxes.
- He thinks it is okay to touch women’s private parts without their permission.
- He says naughty words.
- He’s a pompous jackass.
- The Apprentice sucks and that comb-over is abysmal.
OMG, how could you vote for that? Really?
While most of this is true (all of it, if Trump is being controlled by Putin and eventually uses nukes and destroys NATO), it says nothing about what Clinton wanted to do for her country. I’ll have more on that below.
In the process of using fear, many of Clinton’s ardent supporters developed Trump Derangement Syndrome. This also caused them to overlook all her flaws and yell at people who opposed her at any turn.
Why This Was Bad
Trump should be hit on policy because he has none and when cornered on policy it shows. Instead, Clinton’s team went after Trump on a personal level and 75% of her campaign ads lacked substance. While many people — including millions who voted for Trump — were and are still disgusted by him, personal attacks distracted from the real issues and helped to increase the overall ugliness of the 2016 campaign.
I once heard someone say that both Trump and Clinton were despised because they failed to appeal to people’s better angels. It was an insightful comment, because that’s precisely what was going on.
People were once excited about Obama and many were excited about Sanders, because both of them were able to tap into people’s hopes, dreams, and better angels. (However, Obama’s neoliberal polices dashed people’s hopes and dreams.)
Trump and Clinton’s campaigns, on the other hand, brought out people’s inner demons and pitted them against each other in a death match. They were two historically disliked presidential candidates for a reason.
6. Clinton’s Team Relied Too Much on Polling.
One of the failures of Clinton’s campaign was her overcorrection from her previous presidential run, but a bigger mistake was her overreliance on polling. She accepted Robby Mook as her campaign manager because they were likeminded and she trusted his data-driven approach.
Clinton trusted polling since it was integral to Barack Obama’s success and polling offered her a way to save money. However, many of the polls during this cycle were limited and Clinton ended up outspending Trump 2 to 1 anyway.
What Clinton’s team needed to do was talk to more people or just listen to the free advice that was being given by voters who weren’t immediately in support of her. While a number of Democrats and new voters had an aversion to Clinton, many were still willing to vote for her over any Republican based on policy. Clinton needed to hear these people out and make some concessions.
In particular, she needed to pay closer attention to the Rust Belt states she lost (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and even Ohio). Many voters there either switched from Obama to Trump or they just stayed home.
Across the country, as many as 9.5 million voters switched from Obama to Trump from 2012 to 2016. The polling might not have alerted Clinton’s team to that possibility, but among the voters who supported Trump were those who supported “entitlements” and others who responded favorably to his (faux) populist message.
People who supported Sanders responded favorably to his real populist message. And his message was substantive.
7. Hillary Clinton Did Not Leave Us with an Overarching Message.
What was Hillary Clinton’s core message? Hillary Clinton and her team struggled to convey it.
While there still are millions of Americans who truly believe in her, it is hard for them to describe, too. Clinton’s support is largely based on emotion, but I cannot find anything close to a message beyond “incremental change,” promises of promoting social justice, and her slogans.
Speaking of the slogans … Yes, I know I issued a challenge for people to point out the positives in slogans of the past, but there were obvious flaws in Clinton’s and I can point out the weaknesses in each of them:
- “A Progressive Who Gets Things Done”: When you look a little closer at this slogan, it’s kind of an insult to those who identify as progressives (and don’t see Clinton as one). In a way, she was saying that progressives did not get anything done, which lent to the youth-bashing of this past election.
- “I’m with Her”: This focused on HRC and her gender and it offered nothing in the way of what she’d do for the American people.
- “Stronger Together”: This says, “I need your help.” But to do what?
- “Break down the Barriers”: This was a platitude and the message was vague. Which barriers were being broken down?
- “Love Trumps Hate”: This was a platitude, but even worse, it used the name of Clinton’s opponent. It could also be misconstrued.
- “America is great because America is good.” She said this sentence a couple of times during the debates, and it was a losing message. Not only was she trying to refute Trump’s slogan (which did not work), listeners could take her message as her ignoring the real problems they faced. America is a work in progress and we need to remove people in power who only seek to deny basic human rights in this country and abroad.
Why Clinton Was Running
That is, “What did Hillary Clinton want to do for the American people?” As one of Clinton’s aides was quoted as saying, “I would have had a reason to run or I wouldn’t have run.”
Ultimately, this was one thing that bedeviled her campaign and it was exacerbated by the lack of a connection with most voters. From Shattered, page 34:
On one eye-rollingly mundane conference call with her speechwriting team early in the process, Hillary talked about what she wanted from the exercise. Though she was speaking with a small group made up mostly of intimates, she sounded like she was addressing a roomful of supporters—inhibited by the concern that whatever she said might be leaked to the press. Her marching orders were to find a slogan and a message. The absence of any talk about her actual vision for the country or the reasons voters should choose her stunned some of the participants. “There was never any question, and no adviser prompted discussion of ‘why you, why now?’” one of them recalled.
Even when she was talking to people in her tight inner circle, Clinton often closed herself off and kept others at arm’s length. She even admitted to being far removed from most voters, especially after all the riches she and her husband earned since his presidency.
Voters needed a vision for the future. And they needed to see Clinton beyond the tough exterior and be able to relate with her. She came up short on those fronts because she kept things close to the vest and most of her messages were pre-approved and pre-packaged.
Clinton Still Refuses to Take Responsibility for Her Own Loss.
At a Recode conference in May 2017, Clinton said she made mistakes, “but that’s not why I lost.” That was simply her passing the buck.
She is still pointing fingers at everyone and everything except herself. Her book is an extension of that tactic.
Now, someone reading this might say that Clinton does take responsibility in her book, but she spent more time going after the usual suspects for whom she spat so much vitriol, including:
- Bernie Sanders
- Bernie Sanders’ supporters
- James Comey
- The Russians
- The Press
- The Electoral College
- Barack Obama
While I might agree with a number of the items on this list, the only person HRC should blame (at least publicly) is herself.
That’s right. She was the coach of her team and good coaches never blame their players or other extenuating circumstances. Publicly taking personal responsibility is the mature, most responsible, and professional thing to do. Clinton should stop blaming others or avoid talking about her own flaws (in depth).
And thus she should receive the lion’s share of blame for all the reasons I mentioned in this post, especially for her part in the level of acrimony in past elections. Her refusal to accept blame means she will not learn from her last two presidential campaigns.
Hillary Clinton Thus Has a Negative Effect on Her Supporters, As Well.
The fact is Clintonistas are hanging onto anger, much of which was not originally their own. Much of it was Hillary Clinton’s anger and her biggest followers have insisted on feeling it for her.
What makes this worse is she would have it no other way. She is playing to her loyalist base but that’s not the way to grow the Democratic base.
Now, some people might believe that Sanders, his supporters, third-party voters, etc. are the root of this anger. But how does everyone feel every time Hillary Clinton resurfaces?
In reality, Clinton is a source of people’s anger. She doesn’t tell anyone to move on but says things that will incite them. Her refusal to take sole responsibility for her loss only serves to give people an excuse to absolve her and aim their anger at others.
The 2000 and 2004 elections pissed off enough Democrats, but they didn’t hang onto their anger 6+ months afterward. They moved on and tried to get back majorities in the House and Senate, which they eventually did. And they held a supermajority by the time Barack Obama became president.
However, the Democratic Party has been decimated. It is not “stronger than ever,” but at its weakest point in over 84 years. Yelling at other liberals is not going to solve this problem.
We all have to face the fact that Hillary Clinton lost. She lost, we cannot do this over again, and we need to move on.
I get that people don’t want to be angry at Clinton, but if she took full responsibility for her loss they might be sad. Yet we would finally be able to mourn her candidacy once and for all.
I Know That Was Tough …
But this is the truth, whether people like it or not. While yes, there were many factors beyond HRC’s control, there were many other factors that were within her control. You cannot get a full picture of what happened in November 2016 without looking at as many elements of the race as you can.
Of course, I understand that Clinton supporters are angry and anyone who read this post now may be angry at me. But we needed to discuss Clinton’s candidacy to understand how serious the rift on the left is. Part of the anger over this election lies in Clinton’s campaign and it was a sources of hope for some, but a source of anger for others. This is why.
And as I said before, the anger of non-Clinton supporters is greater because it is more nuanced. She is just one facet of it for them, while her supporters’ anger mostly begins and ends with her.
In the next post in this series, I will address another big source of anger for progressives: the Democratic Party itself. In fact, the party eclipses Clinton as a source of anger due to its function as an organization.
- The Rift on the Left: The Bernie Sanders Effect
- The Rift on the Left: The Internal Politics of the Democratic Party
- Back to Introduction