The following are the ten reasons why I believe that Hillary Clinton lost the election. None of them infer that she was a bad candidate, because that just isn’t true. I didn’t try to come up with a nice round number like 10; I just started listing the factors that contributed to the loss and that is the number I came up with. I frankly don’t believe that any one of these alone was responsible, or any combination of two or three for that matter. Rather it was a perfect storm where all or at least most of these factors led to a very surprising and most unpleasant result the evening of November 8th.
1) The Economy: Many people have been hurting for the last 8 years while the country slowly recovered from the worst economic downturn since the great depression. When compared to the rest of the industrialized world, our country is in great shape, but trying telling that to Americans who have had to work part time jobs because there is was no other work or those paychecks haven’t increased most of the last 8 years. And remember whose policies caused that cataclysmic economic downturn. It wasn’t the fault of Barack Obama. The economy is finally getting back to full employment and wages are starting to rise again, but there has been a lot of pain in the mean time. People were looking for something or some one to blame it on and along comes a con artist ready to blame their favorite bogymen and willing to promise absolutely anything to get himself elected.
2) Trump lies: Fact checks revealed that Trump lied on 71% of the major statements he made during the campaign. His strategy was a lot like that of basketball team whose coach teaches his players to attack on ferociously on defense under the assumptions that the referees can’t call every foul. The under educated and ill informed bought the majority of Trump’s lies because they don’t read fact checks and they didn’t have background information to know when he was lying, which was most of the time. So like hungry fish taking the bait, they believed him because he was telling them what they wanted to hear.
3) Trump’s appeals to deplorables: Unfortunately that there is a very large portion of our population that falls into the deplorable category. Racism may be less obvious in this country than in the past. but it still has deep roots in this country and not only in the South. While they may not be white supremacists, it is still far too easy to convince ordinary working people that immigrants are after their jobs, or may rape their wives and daughters, or may plant a bomb where the work or play. So how did Obama get elected twice you may ask. That’s because no legitimate Republican politician like McCain or Romney would have ever lowered themselves to appeal the deplorable nature of too large a segment of our population. Donald J. Trump has no such scruples taking advantage of gullible people and lying to inflate his image is a big part of who he is.
4) Republican attacks on Hillary over the years: This doesn’t even require an explanation. Ask yourself this, would an identical email problem of any other politician with Hillary’s record of service and achievements been held in false equivalency to the many outrageous things that Donald Trump has said and done? And why do the Republicans hate Hillary. They really hate Bill Clinton because he made them look like fools so many times during his eight years as President and they view Hillary as an extension of Bill.
5) Hillary is a woman: My wife told me a long time ago that she believed Trump would win because down deep the majority of the men in this country are not yet ready to elect a women President. I told my wife that she was mistaken, but I now have to admit that I was the one who was wrong. It is certainly no accident that non college educated white men cast the highest percentage of votes against Hillary. It is this demographic that is the least likely to want a woman in charge. This list isn’t in order of importance to the results of the election, but if it were this one item would be listed much higher.
6) A cranky government computer system: The Republicans tried like hell to make Benghazi a major issue, but even after 11 congressional investigations, they couldn’t really make it stick. It was the email issue with its drip, drip, drip of information that hurt Hillary far worse. And why did she set up her own server – because the state departments non classified email system, after years of Republican budget cuts, worked so poorly that almost no one in the entire department used it any more than they absolutely had to.
It was so bad that of the recent Secretaries of States used their private email accounts for non classified government business. Colin Powell used an AOL account and you can’t tell me that some of the data that flowed through that insecure account couldn’t have been retroactively classified. Government emails ended up on Anthony Weiner’s computer precisely because his wife and Hillary’s top aid, Huma Abedin, had to send government emails to her private email account to print them at home because she found that it was almost impossible to use the government system to print long emails.
And give the Republicans in Congress credit – they are very good at using their investigative power to blow up small trifles until they appear to be sins against the entire human race. If the State Department would have had a modern email system no one would have given a damn what was on Hillary’s emails.
7) Bernie Sanders: Sanders initially entered the Democratic primaries for two reasons. No, one of them was not to win; at the time he entered he did not believe he had a chance of doing that. The realization that he might have a chance to win and the calls for a Revolution came later. The two reasons were: 1) No one was running against her – remember how he claimed should have primaried Barack Obama in 2011. 2) He wanted to push Hillary further to the left before she contested the general election.
While he failed to attract a majority of Democratic Party members in nearly primary, he attracted enough independents – the most liberal of all voters and young people who rallied to his promises of a free college education and an escape from crushing college debt – to make the primaries very competitive. His supporters grew very excited; it was the dawn of the Revolution. Once he was convinced he had a chance to win, Sanders was not only just pushing his ideas, he was attacking Hillary with a vengeance. Many of his more successful attack themes were later happily adopted by the Trump campaign which relished the task of continuing to pound them into the heads of the American voters. In the process Bernie was able to convince many of his supporters that Hillary was unfit to be their President.
When Sanders finally bowed out, many of his followers were devastated and resentful. The excitement was gone, their hero was defeated and, in their eyes, only a distasteful Democratic candidate remained. Some of Bernie’s supporters later enthusiastically supported Hillary, some held their noses and voted against Trump, but others, many of them young people, just weren’t interested anymore since that their champion they had worked so hard to elect was gone. In my opinion Sanders’ candidacy was a large net negative for Hillary Clinton.
8. Putin was in bed with Trump: It was apparent throughout the campaign that Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin were having a public bromance. Putin pulled every string he could try to assure that Trump was victorious. (His reasons should be obvious by now.) Some computer scientist trying to protect the election from hacking accidentally discovered a server in Trump Towers which was dedicated solely to transmitting human conversations back and forth with two servers in a Russian bank with very close ties to Putin. After the election, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the Russian government had been in close communications with many of the key Trump staffers throughout the campaign. (Now we know what the Trump Towers server was used for.)
The Clinton campaign emails which were hacked by the Russian military intelligence agency and released by Wikileaks were made available during the final stages of the campaign, were aimed specifically at undermining Hillary’s chances of being elected. They revealed nothing more sinister than a campaign staff plotting as usual to win an election. However, the drip, drip, drip of hacked materials fed into the illusion of false equivalency between Clinton and Trump in the minds of under informed voters. And let’s not forget that Trump encouraged Putin to do more hacking on his behalf. The two of them need to get a room.
9) Poll errors: Many of the state polls were inaccurate. This might have been because the pollsters underestimated the percentage of undereducated whites, especially men who would participate in the election. Or perhaps it was because people were embarrassed that they supported Trump so they lied when they were asked by pollsters who they would vote for. Perhaps their were other factors, but for whatever reason both the public state polls and those performed internally by the Democratic campaign gave Hillary’s people a false sense of security about three states which would prove critical – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Consequently the Clinton campaign didn’t expend as much resources in those states as they should have.
It’s easy to be a Monday morning candidate, but look at the facts. During the entire general election period Hilly was never behind in the polls of any of those three states. According to Nate Silver’s weighted poll averages, on November 7th Hillary had 5.2% lead in Wisconsin. In Michigan she led by 4.2% and in Pennsylvania she led by 2.3%. Silver gave the following probabilities that Hillary would win those three states: Wisconsin – 83.5%, Michigan – 78.9%, and Pennsylvania – 77.0%. If you know your statistics you can calculate that Trump’s chances of winning all three states was only 0.8%. His chances of taking the easiest two, Wisconsin and Michigan, while losing Wisconsin were only 4.9%. I would take those odds going in any day.
However, those statistics are only as good as the polls on which they based and for some reason or another the 121 polls which Silver used to calculate his probabilities for those three states were systematically off. I am sure that the Clinton campaign’s internal polling showed similar results as the public polls. Campaigns have to make choices were to invest the limited resources they have available, and I wouldn’t have put a lot money into those three states either.
10) Comey – The final blows were of the campaign were administered by the FBI Director who just happens to be a registered Republican. Normally at the conclusion of a FBI investigation, the FBI has little to say. If the investigation does not yield evidence of criminality, the FBI puts out a notice saying just that and nothing more. Whether he was trying to tilt the election in favor of Trump or to cover his ass in the face of what he knew would be intense pressure by Republican Congressional investigations, on July 5th while clearing Clinton of any charges, James Comey took the unprecedented step of adding that Hillary was “extremely careless” with government secrets.
The Clinton campaign called on Comey to declassify the emails and allow the public to judge the seriousness of the subject matter for themselves, but of course that never happened. I am willing to bet a lot of money that when those emails are finally released years from now, we will find that the emails in questions didn’t include deep dark secrets at all, but were classified after the fact by over zealous operatives in one of the intelligence agencies who would consider my aunt’s shoe size to be sensitive information or by government employees out to embarrass Hillary.
Instead of being able to finally put the email issue behind her, Hillary was subjected a new barrage of accusations by Trump and his allies which again brought the false equivalency problem to the forefront. But Comey wasn’t done with meddling in the election. On October 28th, just 11 days before the polls opened on November 8th, Comey wrote a letter to his Republican buddies in Congress saying that he had reopened the Clinton email investigation because some of Clinton emails had been found on Anthony Weiner PC. (The letter was of course instantly leaked to the press.) In the process Comey broke two cardinal rules of FBI protocol – the FBI never comments about an investigation in progress and never reveals anything that could affect the results within 60 days of an election. Of course nine days later, just 48 hours before the election, the FBI Director had to admit that nothing incriminating had been found.
At the time that Comely had his letter delivered to Congress, Donald Trump was drowning in a sea of public disgust resulting from the airing of an old video showing him bragging about sexually assaulting women with impunity. Following his claim that it was just “locker room” banter (“boy talk” in the words of his wife), he was sinking deeper and deeper as one after another 12 women came forward with verified stories of Donald’s assaults on their bodies. With his letter to Congress about the reopened investigation, Comey not only threw Trump a life ring, he also reeled him back into the boat. The FBI Director’s revelation completely changed the election conversation. Rather than sinking with the concrete boots of sexual assault encasing his feet, a reinvigorated Trump had new ammunition to fire at Clinton in the closing days of the campaign. When Comey eventually came out and said, “Opps, never mind. My bad”, it was too late, the damage had been done and Hillary never recovered.
This was the final blow to the Clinton. The polls which were widening in her favor started to seriously tighten again. However had she not been weakened by the other early onslaughts it probably would not have been fatal, but since she was already weakened by all of the other blows which had preceded it, Comey treachery proved to be the knock out punch.