Hey Donald, you didn’t win. Hillary lost.
I know you’ve just been inaugurated, and I’m not talking about the fact that Hillary got nearly three million more votes. I’m looking at why, even with the millions of votes she did get, Hillary Clinton — and her team — blew the election.
There are many reasons, and not all can be placed at her feet. After two or more terms the country has always been ready for the other party to take over. Eisenhower after Truman/FDR. Kennedy following Ike. Clinton, then Bush, then Obama. That’s part of it. And the GOP’s unrelenting and unfair vilification of Hillary poisoned the jury. How many people were led to believe she was responsible for what happened at Benghazi? But did they blame Reagan for the bombing of the Marine Barracks that killed 241 in Beirut…60 times as many as Benghazi?
But there are other important reasons she lost. And she and her team need to acknowledge they misunderstood what she needed to do to win. Of course, hindsight is always 20-20, but remember what James Carville said over and over and over in 1992. “It’s the economy, stupid.”
How could she expect to win without a clear appeal to millions of Americans who felt left behind in this lopsided economic recovery. The Dow is way up, but if you lost your pension when you lost your job, why should you care? If the two jobs you are working don’t pay as much as the job you once had, what can you expect?
Didn’t the Clinton team wonder how a socialist Jew with a Brooklyn accent could draw such huge crowds across America railing against the “millionaires and billionaires” who run the country? Those weren’t socialists or Jews in his audience, they were every-day Americans looking for someone to address their issues.
We now know that many, many votes were lost when the Clinton campaign decided to put the money in Arizona rather than show up in Wisconsin and central Pennsylvania and upper Michigan. And more went down the drain with Hillary’s weak and foolish disregard of the email issue. She actually said that she thought wiping her computer meant taking a dusting cloth to it. It was an issue that wasn’t going away, and her inconsistent and feeble replies magnified her failure to deal with it promptly and decisively.
She is not a good politician, but that’s OK. Political skills are important, but not essential for the most important job in America. We know she isn’t comfortable opening up to people on a large scale, but on those too-rare occasions when she shows her human side, she knocks it out of the park. Like the 2008 tear-shedding moment in New Hampshire. Or the heartfelt 2016 response to a rabbi who asked her about her faith, coincidentally also in New Hampshire. But put her on a platform in front of thousands and she is just no Barack or Bill. Or Donald.
The Comey letter days before the election certainly contributed to her downfall. And the Russian disruption hurt, too. But, the faults lie not in the stars. We may think she would have been a better president than the one we elected, but though we may not like the outcome, nothing we do now will change anything.
All we can do is learn from it.