So, there have been many explanations put forth as to why Hillary Clinton lost the election. I imagine there will be many more in the months and years to come. I have spent a goodly amount of time thinking about this subject, and doing some research, so I thought I’d share with you today.
NOTE: Keep in mind, while reading what follows, that I did, in fact, vote for Hillary. Not because I thought she spoke to my issues, or because I agreed with her policies, but simply because I considered her Republican opponent to be the single worst qualified person for the job, perhaps in the history of our republic. And that includes the president that was rumored to have trampled a lady to death while he was on a drunken carriage ride. In truth, I still believe our current dumpster-fire of a president is worse.
So, how did we get to here, with a certified sewage cyclone leading the free world?
Well, the first thing that you need to absorb is that it was more than one reason.
(Everybody you ask has their pet silver bullet: Comey’s October surprise, Russian collusion, misogyny, voter suppression, et cetera…)
I don’t doubt that all of those things played a part, but none of them were the holy grail of deciding factors.
(it wasn’t Jill Stein either. Lay off those voters conscientious enough to cast their ballots all the while knowing their candidate didn’t stand a chance. In a Democracy we’re supposed to vote for the person we think best represents us and our interests. And it takes a certain kind of courage to go a different way than the rest. I’m not saying buy them a beer, but lay off. They didn’t keep Hillary from being the first woman president.)
So, back to my point: I think those things listed above did have some effect on the outcome of the election. It would be foolish to disregard any variable in the equation. But it would be just as foolish to think that the things I have previously listed were, any of them, solely or even majorly responsible.
I think the main problems with Hillary’s campaign were that:
1) She really didn’t have a platform.
Seriously, she didn’t. Her platform consisted of – essentially – Trump is a bad man, and I’m not him.
(I know she had positions stated on her website. I read most of them. But positions aren’t a platform. A platform is what you intend to do for the people. And as far as Hillary campaigned, there wasn’t anything concrete in that arena.)
And the people really did need a politician to make things better for them. We still do. The economic recovery, under President Obama, made a lot of corporations and rich people even richer, but really didn’t do anything for the working folk of this nation, except kick a bunch of them out of their houses.
(As an aside, maybe you think that healthcare reform, the ACA, was a boon to the poor and working people of this country, and you would be wrong. It was a boon to the insurance companies. It should have been, at its very least, a first step towards something better – a transitional tool. But it wasn’t, and about as many people got screwed as got helped. My thoughts on healthcare reform are probably best saved for some other rant.)
The research shows that 95% of the income growth that occurred during the recovery went to the richest 1% of the American population. That means, if you’re anywhere near the same tax bracket as me, you got hosed and asked to pay for the water they used to do it. But that is also another rant for another time.
Suffice it to say, other than being more hawkish than Obama, Hillary essentially promised the American people more of the same.
And that leads me to…
2) She was a neo-liberal corporatist.
Feel free to look up neo-liberalism, (unless you’re well versed in economic theory, it isn’t what you’re thinking it is based on its name.)
She was in the pocket of corporations, big business, the banking sector, and the military-industrial complex. This is not speculation. Please look up her views. It’s all out there. Most of it is on tape, if you don’t want to bother with the books.
If you need more evidence, look at what she would, adamantly, not come out in favor of: single payer healthcare system, $15 per hour minimum wage, cutting up the too-big-to-fail banks, getting rid of Citizens Untied by working to get corporate money our of our politics, doing something about the growing student loan debt bubble.
And you know what? Most polls show the majority of Americans support all of those initiatives.
But Hillary didn’t. In fact, she tried to make Bernie Sanders out to be some loon for advocating for those very issues. You know, the ones that would help the vast majority of Americans.
And let me add another thing to the list:
3) The tactics of her campaign.
By that, I mean during the primaries and the general elections. I also mean the actions of the DNC.
More specifically, what I mean is the notion that was implied that somehow she deserved to be president.
A few brave souls in independent media referred to it as what it actually felt like: a veritable coronation, like the presidency was meant to be hers by some divine of right of succession. Also, there was this weird insistence that the force of history was telling us it was time for a woman president; the implication being that Hillary was the clear choice. I think it’s past time we had a woman as president. But I also don’t think Hillary was that woman.
Add to that sense of imperiousness the chicanery and machinations of the DNC, and you get a potent cocktail that usually turns the average American’s stomach.
You see, a great many of us still believe in the myths they used to teach us: fair play, let the best person win, the ends do not justify the means, truth, justice, you know, the American Way.
Between Hillary acting like the presidency was hers for the taking and the skullduggery of the DNC, well, it left a sour taste in the mouths of many people I’ve spoken with about the subject, including my own.
If you haven’t realized this fact by now, commit it to memory: Never underestimate the peevishness of Americans. Get stuck in our craw and we will go out of our way to keep you from getting what you want. Just on principle.
And that brings me to my final point:
4) Hillary had zero charisma.
Sorry. For any of you that don’t think charisma matters, go ask Al Gore how his presidency went. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Like it or not, as Americans, we like our leaders to have charisma. Want to win the highest elected office in this nation, and you got to have it, even if – in the case of Trump – it’s slimy as hell.
And Hillary didn’t have it. If you thought she did, you’re wrong, and I’d like the number of your drug dealer, because you are getting the good shit.
I watched a bunch of her speeches – because I don’t have a life – and all but one of her debate performances. She was in control of herself and in possession of the facts, and she made good arguments. So did Ralph Nader. Go ask him how his term as president went. Go Ahead, I’ll wait.
She was wooden and without emotion in every speech or debate performance I watched. She could not read a crowd’s energy, and she could not stir emotion in a listener. Now, you could blame that on her speech writers, but in the end, it’s the delivery system that makes the impact. Just ask any of your friends whether or not they could listen to – oh pick a celebrity – read the phone book. See what I mean?
Now, all of that being said, let me remind you that most likely, it wasn’t one thing or even two or three things that cost Hillary the election. It was a constellation of things. A night’s sky full of stars worth of things. Some of those were definitely the things I listed early on in this post. But it certainly wasn’t the third party candidates. How much a percentage of the vote did Vermin Supreme get? Yeah, about that much. And it wasn’t her e-mails.
For fuck’s sake, if I hear any more shit about her e-mails I am going to puke blood.
(I think Bernie did the right thing when he said he was tired of hearing about her damn e-mails.)
The only people that nonsense had an effect on were the people who were already not going to vote for her. Same deal with Comey’s October clusterfuck. If you were going to vote for Hillary, those things didn’t matter. And, in truth, they didn’t matter regardless of how you were going to vote. But they made for good headlines and gave the 24 hour news whores something to dole out between commercial breaks.
(As another aside, if the truth about a candidate makes it so people wouldn’t vote for him or her, then as a voting populace, we should know that shit. But the odds of that happening are so long you can’t see one end while standing at the other.)
So, that’s what I’ve managed to come up with, since the election. Maybe you agree. Maybe you don’t. That’s okay. It’s also the beauty of a democracy wherein we have the right of free expression. (Well, mostly free.)
Obama ran on hope. Trump ran on fear. And Hillary ran on fumes.
And Americans will take anything, even something terrible, over nothing at all.
Something to remember for next time.
Unless you’d like to see history continue to repeat itself.