Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Clinton Supporters Trying to Figure Out Who's Responsible for Election Loss to Trump

I notice in each presidential election, certain themes are repeated, ad nausea. 

When Democrats win, which they usually do not do, there is much rejoicing from young people, from minorities, and from the so-called intellectual elites. Usually, conservatives remain relatively quiet for a while, and do feel they have a lesson to learn. I remember the somber tones conservatives seemed to speak in following Clinton's win in 1992 and especially after Obama's win in 2008, and to a lesser extent, in 2012. Within weeks, you will see derogatory signs or off-color remarks made. I remember being shocked to see, within a few weeks of his first taking office, an IMPEACH CLINTON bumper sticker on someone's car. It did not take too long

When Republicans won in the past, there was general acceptance. I am talking about the elections back in the 1980's. But with the close and highly controversial election in 2000, a lot of things changed. That was, of course, the first modern election in which the candidate who failed to receive the majority of votes won anyway. There was fierce resistance to Bush in 2004, but that time, he won a clear majority. Finally, in this past election, the Republican "won" again, but did so by losing the popular vote by more than two million! Once again, dissenters are urging Hillary Clinton to fight, to contest the validity of the past election, even though she conceded on the night of the election, exactly like Al Gore did in 2000. In both cases, this simple concession cast a dark shadow over the credibility of the possibility of seriously contending the results later on. 

Yet, there is talk now that she should contest the election results, that maybe she should be challenging it, and preparing for a presidential term in her own right.

The people who want her to do this have failed to realize that she will never, ever be the President of the United States.

This election was lost by Democrats for a variety of reasons. As a Bernie Sanders supporter, I still maintain that Hillary Clinton's credibility was lost when she turned to the Democratic Party leaders, particularly Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, for help, and they gave it to her. The entire Democratic Party was hurt by that, because it was their version of the George W. Bush fiasco following the 2000 election: just a mess of one sign after the other that they had cheated. Unlike with Bush, so-called "liberals" did not complain, but swept it under the rug. This they should not have done, and they should not have even gotten actively involved in the race to begin with, but should have let things play out. Bernie Sanders was surging, while Hillary Clinton was sinking. The warning signs were there, and many Sanders supporters were quick to point this out back then. The fact that the rest of the country did not simply forget all of this, simply because the Democrats had a case of sudden amnesia, only reinforced the perception of the Clintons in general, and of Hillary Clinton in particular, as being above the law, being some kind of ominous and corrupt presence in a dark room, making decisions that favor themselves. Bill Clinton meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch while his wife's emails were being actively investigated was yet another major story that went largely unnoticed by her supporters, but which reinforced this shady perception of the Clintons. She also reinforced this perception of being smug and dismissive towards millions of the same Americans that she hoped to represent by referring to them as a "basket of deplorables." 

Yes, loyal Democrats may have cringed when she made that statement, but I have no doubt that most of them did so only because of how this might have hurt her chances at winning the election. That they ultimately agreed with it, I have no doubt. The irony of them looking down on millions of other people based on the notion that those people supposedly looked down on millions of people surely was lost on them. That, in large part, is why I cannot take their talk of refusing to unify under Trump particularly seriously. After all, she herself was running to be the President for all Americans, and not excluding the millions who fell under her "basket of deplorables" grouping. 

The fact of the matter was that she represented the worst of the Democrats. She was old, she was in a powerful position for entirely too long, and seemed to really feel that it was her time, that she was entitled to her time in the White House. That anyone who did not agree with her was so easily and readily dismissed, as the millions of grass roots Bernie Sanders supporters were in the primaries, or as the "basket of deplorables" were in the general election, was proof that she was out of touch and a little too full of herself. The fact that Democrats remained blind to all of these things that seemed so obvious to everyone else was in no small part responsible for them losing this election.

Since the election result, however, they have acted shocked - Shocked! - that Clinton lost, and that Trump, of all people, won. Donald Trump will be the next president, and this reality has proven a bit too much for many people to take. What has ensued is a tiresome bunch of finger pointing by her loyal supporters. Judging by their reactions, there are a ton of people responsible. Bernie Sanders supporters and Jill Stein supporters are among the  most popular scapegoats. Julian Assange was responsible for releasing material on Wikileaks that was harmful to Clinton. The Russians were responsible, and some are suggesting that we need to take action. Of course, the almost half of registered voters who did not bother showing up at the polls were also criticized, but that is one criticism that I do happen to agree with. The others, however, are ridiculous.

Hillary Clinton lost because she is Hillary Clinton. People have grown tired of the Clintons, tired of them always getting their way, tired of them always seeking high office, and taking their inevitable win for granted. The American people spoke clearly well before she ever officially received the Democratic nomination, and they said that they did not trust her, and they did not like her. Despite running against Donald Trump, she was actually the least trusted major party candidate in this election, and she was also the most disliked. Not only did the Democrats not do themselves any favors by making sure that she would be their candidate, but they could hardly have shot themselves in the foot any more thoroughly.

You want someone to blame? Blame yourselves for remaining blind to what was so clear for everyone else who was not a card-carrying Democrat. That, first and foremost, is what Democrats have to come to terms with. The fact that so much of the media was complicit with all of this, and consistently ran with the establishment Democrats refusal to take Bernie Sanders seriously, and continued to ignore stories that painted Hillary Clinton in a negative light (and there were plenty of them) while going overboard in their criticism of every little thing that Trump did and said, making every insignificant gesture or careless word a harbinger of just how evil the man was, also had something to do with it. Really, the perception that Hillary kept getting off easy - despite numerous things that she was involved with and deserved to be highly scrutinized for - while Trump was blasted for every little thing that he said and did, and was generally dismissed as this racist monster, made it feel like this whole thing was being predictably orchestrated in her favor. The fact that the polls never showed her pulling away, like most strong candidates would have managed to do with a candidacy as weak as that of Trump's, also should have told them something.

Still, it also goes beyond the extremely flawed Hillary Clinton, her campaign, and the Democrats, or even the complicit media that transparently favored her. No, a large part of it has to do with the overall perception that elite politicians could and would say anything, promise anything, only to conveniently forget their campaign promises and turn their backs on those who voted for them in the first place. This has happened time and time and time again, and people get very tired of that. In 2016, all signs pointed to just how fed up people were of this trend, and they showed it in a big way with both major parties. The reason that Republicans won is that they saw this message, seemed to understand it and accepted it, however reluctantly. The reason the Democrats lost is that they refused to see this message, let alone understand it, and much less accept it. This refusal got them the candidate that they seemed to want in the primaries, but it cost them very dearly in the general election.

Outside of the strictly political sphere, though, it does bear asking some questions as to what happened. Why did so many people - particularly white working class people, men and women alike - choose the billionaire Trump, believing that he somehow could relate to their struggles enough to earn their votes.

Below, there is a video of Bill Maher, claiming that the politically correct crowd was responsible. There are others, such as Paul Krugman, who are urging a different interpretation. 


  1. Although I'm a big fan of Bill Maher overall, there are instances in which I find myself disagreeing with him, occasionally to the point that he grates on my nerves. His chronic tendency to deflect and dismiss criticism of Hillary Clinton, and by extension the people leveling that criticism, is the perfect example. I consider him to be intelligent, articulate and, for the most part, objective, but he has his share of hang-ups and limitations like the rest of us.

  2. I agree. He was a Bernie Sanders supporter but, once it became clear that Hillary Clinton was the candidate, any and all criticism of her went out the window, which is not something that I can get on board with. These politicians are public servants, not our overlords, and they need to be reminded of that at every turn. Don't care if it's a Democrat or a Republican, man or woman, or any other such label. They are supposed to do a job, and we as citizens are supposed to make sure that they do it. When politics becomes a pep rally, when it becomes ra-ra and hooray for our side, and boo and hiss for their side, it becomes overly divisive and counterproductive for all sides. Criticism is very easy to deflect, because it is only partisan. Serious scrutiny needs to come from political allies, as well as political enemies. When that fails to happen, we get the kind of elections that we most definitely got in 2016.

  3. Absolutely. I'm so sick of people who blame third-party voters. Not only do they fail to grasp and accept that there are limits to how much mileage there is to be obtained from the emotional blackmail you just described – "Vote for whoever the Democrats nominate as their candidate if you don't want some right-wing nubjob to get in" – they even fail to grasp and accept that there should be limits to it. It's about time that at least began to sink in. And last I heard, Hillary Clinton actually leads the popular vote by over 2 million votes. If anything, you'd think the anger would be targeted at the idea that that's not enough, that we need an electoral college. Instead, just as in 2000, nobody's talking about that. I remember an anti-war protest in NYC a number of years ago. Some clown was reprimanding a Nader supporter for supposedly costing Gore the election. It was all I could do not to chime in by advising said clown as to where to go and how to get there. Getting back to Bill Maher, in one of his shows a couple months ago or so he was deriding the rationales of those who refused to support Hillary as "boutique issues". He cited his willingness to put his desire to see pot legalized throughout the land on the back-burner as an example of a supposedly wiser, more pragmatic approach. I was thinking "Hillary Clinton has always been and always will be in Wall Street's pockets, she's a major proponent of everything that's sickening about our criminal justice system and she voted in favor of the war in Iraq. Those aren't 'boutique issues' Bill, so fuck off with that."