Just when you thought the news since Tuesday night couldn’t get any better, the Democrats signal that they may talk themselves into an extended stint in the minority.
Sexism. The media. James Comey.
On a call with surrogates Thursday afternoon, top advisers John Podesta and Jennifer Palmieri pinned blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss on a host of uncontrollable headwinds that ultimately felled a well-run campaign that executed a sensible strategy, and a soldier of a candidate who appealed to the broadest coalition of voters in the country.
They shot down questions about whether they should have run a more populist campaign with a greater appeal to angry white voters, pointing to exit polls that showed Clinton beat Trump on the issue of the economy. They explained that internal polling from May showed that attacking Trump on the issue of temperament was a more effective message.
They offered no apology for the unexpected loss.
On the call, Clinton surrogates who have supported the campaign from the outside for the past 18 months offered their thanks to the Brooklyn-based operatives. The mood was light and supportive, with Podesta and Palmieri expressing gratitude for everyone’s hard work.
But some people on the call were seething.
“They are saying they did nothing wrong, which is ridiculous,” said one Clinton surrogate. “She was the wrong messenger and everyone misjudged how pissed working class people were.”
Two factors that were never really discussed a lot were at play the entire campaign and may have had more to do with Mrs. Clinton’s undoing than anything else: the arrogant presumption that she was owed the presidency and the fact that she is a horrible, almost impossible to like candidate. They combined to make a toxic cocktail that put much of the Democratic electorate to sleep on Election Day.
Hillary Clinton has absolutely none of the charisma or political skill that her husband or Barack Obama have. Her handlers knew this deep down, and seemed to keep hoping that their presence and support on the trail would create enough misdirection that the voters would never notice.
The campaign tried to build a winning machine based entirely on optics. Donald Trump met with chronically unemployed people in the Rust Belt and Hillary met with Jay Z and Beyoncé. It was supposed to make her relevant and more appealing to young voters. All it did was make Jay Z and Beyoncé look foolish.
For the most part, she was trying to replicate a formula that worked for Obama in 2012. Again, an idea that may have had merit if she possessed 1/10 of Obama’s political talent.
Political correctness will eventually eat all of its own, and Hillary Clinton may have been the first big scalp it claimed. The PC ground rules as put forth by the Democrats this year dictated that any opposition to Hillary was sexist. This was to crush dissent and make her immune to criticism. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for America), it also made the campaign stagnant in incapable of honest assessments at any point. Had they been able to do that, they may have worried a bit more and made a play for at least some of the people who Trump was appealing to.
Instead, they coasted along on the arrogance, never noticing that the rules had changed for this election, which was plain to a lot of people in America. They took for granted that die-hard constituencies would mindlessly vote for them, despite having been left adrift in Obama’s sluggish economy:
The last time HRC campaigned in Wisconsin was in April. How do you devote more energy to celebrities than to the Middle American Dem core?
— Freddie (@freddiedeboer) November 10, 2016
A realistic post-mortem would look at things like that.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the “autopsy” the GOP did after the 2012 election, but only because I thought it came to the wrong conclusions. At least they looked inward to determine what needed to be different in order to win.
The Democrats just want to see monsters under the bed, which bodes well for the Republicans.
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