Saturday, June 3, 2017

Hillary Clinton: How Can We Miss You When You Won't Go Away?

Anger is a dangerous emotion. It can be useful when you channel it towards something positive. Holding on to it can be as dangerous to yourself as the object of your ire. Two time failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is clearly still pretty angry about having lost the 2016 Presidential election to louche real estate tycoon Donald Trump. I don't blame her for being angry. I would be angry as well. There are few among us who can clearly see our own faults and move to correct them. That's why we have significant others, life coaches, friends, bosses, co-workers, siblings, consultants, and so on. But Clinton does herself and more importantly the Democratic Party no favors by blaming everyone except herself for losing an election which nearly everyone thought she was going to win.  In a remarkable interview Wednesday with the technology site Recode, Hillary Clinton went from wounded to whiny, from sympathetic loser to sore loser, as she delivered her accounting of all the things that led to Nov. 8:  Why did she lose? Let’s recap:

▪ It was the Democratic National Committee’s fault. “I get the nomination ... I inherit nothing from the Democratic party,” she said. “It was bankrupt. It was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong.”
▪ It was the media’s fault for turning her use of a personal email server “into the biggest scandal since who knows when.”
▪ It was the Russians’ fault for leaking emails detrimental to her campaign. “I believe that what was happening to me was unprecedented,” she said.
▪ It was, ahem, someone else’s fault for helping guide the Russians on how to best “weaponize” those leaks. Who gave them that guidance? “I’m leaning Trump,” Clinton said.

▪ It was everyone else’s fault for not paying attention when she suggested that Trump and Russia had a troubling relationship. “We were basically shooed away, like, ‘Oh you know, there she goes, vast right-wing conspiracy.’” Clinton said. (Fact check: A lot was written during the election about Trump and Russia.)
▪ It also was everyone else’s fault for thinking she was going to win a race in which she was leading most every poll. “I was the victim of a very broad assumption I was going to win,” she said. 

It needs to be screamed from the rooftops. 
It doesn't matter if you are correct that some significant percentage of the electorate is stupid, sexist, uneducated, racist, ugly, and smelly with questionable personal grooming habits. You still need enough of them to vote for you. If you run a campaign that is centered on everything you're going to do for women and how wonderful it is that you're a woman, then you can't be surprised when it turns out that you lack mass appeal to men. It's clear that for a vocal section of Clinton supporters, putting a woman in charge was the primary goal. You need more than that to win over voters. If you are attempting to win a Presidential election in our system you need to win a majority of the electoral college. Running up a majority in California and New York doesn't mean anything if you lose the middle of the country. Clinton lost the middle of the country. So no Mrs. Clinton you did not, as you stated, beat Donald Trump. 
But this was an election that was, in many ways, about anger. And Trump and Sanders capitalized on that.“Yes.” Clinton nods. “And I beat both of them.” 
No. No you did not. Mrs. Clinton, you lost to Donald Trump. Donald Trump kicked your butt. And that is why he sits in the White House in all of his orange hued two year old temper tantrum glory and you don't. You're having difficulty processing that information but it is what it is. Political parties that want to win need to focus on what is, not on what should have been or what could have been. Despite the fact that Donald Trump has so far governed exactly like the plutocrat he is, Democrats have continued to bleed white working class voters. Despite Trump's sexism, Trump won white female voters. Despite Trump's racism and xenophobia, Trump's share of black and Hispanic voters increased from the usual Republican share.

Democratic data gurus are lashing out at Hillary Clinton after she complained publicly that her campaign was hamstrung by a party that had out-of-date information on individual voters.

Clinton said Wednesday in an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher that once she became the Democratic nominee, she inherited "nothing." The Democratic National Committee's data, she said, "was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it."
Her comments drew swift rebuttals from some Democratic operatives who built, or worked with, that data.

Andrew Therriault, the former DNC director of data science, lashed out in two since-deleted tweets, calling Clinton's comments "f---ing bull----.""I hope you understand the good you did despite that nonsense," he said in a message directed to DNC data staffers.

Rather than continue to listen to Clinton's self-serving reasons about why she's not in the White House (Russians, Macedonians, Comey, Obama's two terms, sexism, DNC lack of support, Wikileaks,yada, yada, yadaDemocrats who want to win in 2018 and beyond must listen to voters who have been increasingly rejecting Democrats since 2010. If Democrats listen to Clinton and run the same sort of campaign in 2020 as she did in 2016 they will get their brains beaten in. Again. Democrats must get more people registered to vote and interested in voting. Being anti-Trump wasn't enough for Clinton in 2016. And it won't be enough for Democrats in 2018 and 2020. The Russians didn't prevent Clinton from spending more time and resources in Pennsylvania and the Upper Midwest. That was Clinton's dumb decision. And it cost her the election. Perhaps the next Democratic nominee for President will take care to remember that. 

It's time for Clinton to fade away. She's fought the good fight and done what she could. But the person who lost is probably not going to be the best person to tell you why she lost or how to win. The Democratic Party and progressives in general need to find new leadership for future battles. Stop looking backwards. We're not going that way.
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