I stated last week that I would wait until at least this week before publishing my thoughts on the recent presidential election, if ever. Part of that was my recognition that any writing done in the immediate aftermath would likely be tainted by the heat of the moment, and part of it was my doubt about whether I should even write at all. With time and introspection, I’ve decided that there are, in fact, two things that I want to write about, so this week I’m publishing a pair of election-related posts for your reading consideration. Today’s writing piece is centered on Hillary Clinton. I already did a writing piece on Donald Trump earlier this year, so I believe I’m overdue to write something related to her. Specifically, I thought I’d do a short writing piece about how improbable her loss should have been and what that says about her as a political candidate.
Hillary had the vast majority of the media in her pocket, and she still lost. Hillary had the backing of Wall St and other monied interests, and she still lost. Hillary had the full support of the Democratic establishment, and she still lost. Hillary had the endorsement and campaign assistance of President Obama, and she still lost. Hillary significantly out-fundraised and out-spent her opponent, and she still lost. Hillary had almost the entire entertainment industry in her corner, and she still lost. Hillary had an incredibly powerful and vocal base on social media, and she still lost. Hillary had an October Surprise in her favor with the release of the NBC tapes that had recorded her opponent dropping to a new low in his comments about women, and she still lost. Hillary had political experience that she could argue qualified her for the presidency, and she still lost. Hillary had at least 200 electoral votes effectively in the bag before a single ballot was cast, and she still lost. And, perhaps most importantly, Hillary had an opponent who did nearly everything in his power to alienate potential voters and give her the election—an opponent who wasn’t even supported by a good chunk of his own party and should have been the most beatable candidate in modern American history—and she still lost.
How does a political candidate have all these things going in their favor, and still lose? The more I think about this question and read and listen to others’ insights, the more I am convinced that the Democratic Party chose literally the worst possible candidate to be their standard-bearer. Hillary went into the election with so much political baggage that she couldn’t even beat a dream opponent like Donald Trump—a man who was the actual embodiment of all the worst things Democrats say about Republicans. How hated and distrusted do you have to be to lose to a man who appears clueless on so many issues, can’t stop himself from spouting highly offensive language, continually embarrasses his own supporters with his behavior, is unrepentant in his personal immorality, and is a serial liar? How did the Democratic establishment come to the conclusion that she was the best person to represent them in the election? I don’t have an answer to that last question, but I do know that the Democratic establishment made a massive mistake in choosing Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate, especially in light of the fact that they had other viable potential nominees like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren who could have gone into the race without the dark cloud that hovers over Hillary’s political machine. On a side note, I can only imagine how much sorrow and regret Joe Biden must be experiencing right now, seeing as how he missed his best (and probably last) shot at becoming the president. I also wonder how Bernie Sanders is feeling, knowing that the Democratic establishment sabotaged his shot at the nomination in favor of a woman who went on to lose to a man whose buffoonery exceeds what anyone thought was possible of a presidential candidate.
Hillary lost, and in shockingly spectacular fashion. Despite winning the popular vote, she failed to pick up enough swing states to seal the deal, and instead Donald Trump first closed the Electoral College gap and then left her in the dust. Though not quite as embarrassing as the electoral defeats of other modern Democratic candidates like Water Mondale or Michael Dukakis, Hillary Clinton’s failure will be a particularly black mark on the Democratic Party for a long time to come.