.@HillaryClinton’s Loss: a Complicit MSM, Broken Trust, Trade, Jobs And Racial Justice on Blog#42

Costly Hubris: With A Complicit Media, Hillary Still Loses a Slam-Dunk Election | Blog#42

I write this as we await the final results of the “Election from Hell.” As of 2:00 a.m. EST, it is pretty clear that Donald J. Trump will be declared the winner.

Hillary Clinton lost an election she should have won handily. Why? Because white working class and former middle class Democrats wanted what Bernie Sanders offered. The Clinton campaign engineered the Sanders campaign’s demise through a combination of media control, with journalists and some think tanks practically taking dictation from the DNC and Clinton campaign headquarters, well-known columnists literally changing the life narrative of millions of voters, and cable news networks presenting obvious political operatives as analysts. Voters tuned out en-masse.

The 2012 and 2014 Democratic losses should have been followed by a post-mortem process. They weren’t. The warning signs from various quarters of the Democratic voter base not only went completely unheeded, but it seems that a conscious decision was made to change the narrative, rather than address reality head on. From 2014 on, the focus of the media has been to construct a narrative of Democratic success in spite of the GOP’s obstruction. Unfortunately, one cannot look a hungry person in the eye and inform them that they just had a full meal. But that is what was done. Paul Krugman of the New York Times moved away from his usual economic op-eds after the 2014 election. It was at that point that we were treated to op-ed after op-ed extolling the successes of the Obama administration. While the Obama presidency has acquitted itself admirably given what it has had to deal with, the economy is hardly healthy and millions among those who live in it, are still very much at-risk. But the narrative was manipulated, using the smoke and mirror tools hidden in the way the unemployed are counted.


But the snow job the media was in the process of laying the groundwork for didn’t stop there. The biggest slight to Democratic voters was completely changing the narrative Bernie Sanders almost won the primary with: painting the angry white voter as uneducated and Republican and completely erasing blue collar and former middle class Democrats who have anxiously been waiting for their turn in this jobless, low-wage recovery. Well-known economist pundits wrote column after column depicting the economic recovery as not ideal, but mostly complete, when it couldn’t be any further from the stark reality tens of millions of Americans of all backgrounds are living, as members of a new social class called precariat. White working class Democrats have been angry. Black middle and working class Democrats have been angry. White millennials are angry. Black millennials are angry and despondent, both for the same economic reasons as their white counterparts, plus the devastating police brutality of the last few years.


Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were ridiculed for talking about unemployment in terms that were divergent from the narrative the media concocted. While Trump’s recitation of the facts wasn’t altogether precise, Sanders’ was:


The Clinton campaign and a DNC completely under its control waged a war of gender, class, and race divide and conquer, pitting Democrats of different ethnic and economic backgrounds against each other, going as far as planting anti-Semitic news stories in order to heighten the suspicions of susceptible voters against a largely unknown Senator Sanders, even as there were cries of media bias. Those cries not only went unheeded, but pundits doubled down on their attacks against Sanders, as did the Clinton campaign.


This election was always about trade, jobs, and racial justice. On racial justice, the Clinton campaign’s strategy of delegitimizing a former civil rights activist was pure evil genius. That campaign started in the summer of 2015, immediately after Netroots Nation and Black Lives Matter’s intervention on Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. Hillary Clinton didn’t attend the event. While Senator Sanders’ handling of the situation left something to be desired, the media’s reaction was puzzlingly brutal, especially to Sanders:


As the weeks went by and Senator Sanders was making genuine attempts at making amends, the media stayed mad, even as some civil rights activists were praising Sanders for his new platform for racial justice. When Clinton finally had her encounter with Black Lives Matter activists, media reception was very muted:


In an effort to retain the Black vote, the DNC convention was used to showcase the Mothers of The Movement, without so much as a mention of its name, Black Lives Matter, or that of its founders. But this tone-deafness didn’t stop with the dog and pony show that was the DNC convention. As late as September, right as several deadly police shootings took place, Hillary Clinton took to Black radio and said “maybe I should talk to white people…” The emphasis ended up being on the word “maybe.” Clinton never broached the subject with white voters. She never adopted Bernie Sanders’ platform for racial justice, which was by far superior to hers.


When the unrest began in North Dakota a few weeks ago, with Native Americans protesting the pollution of their drinking water and the desecration of their ancestral land, Hillary Clinton remained completely silent.

She has remained almost completely silent as daily WikiLeaks email dumps revealed the ugly sight of the sausage-making operation that has been the Clinton campaign. As every single one of Black and progressive voters’ suspicions was confirmed, the chorus from the media and Clinton campaign grew louder, accusing Russia of interfering with the U.S. election, rather than dealing with the content of the revelations. No explanations were forthcoming, with the exception of one small detail Hillary Clinton insisted on clarifying during her first debate against Donald J. Trump. No apologies were made. No reversals were announced. No fears were allayed. The Kabuki play continued uninterrupted, even as the heavens thundered and the lightning struck the stage.


Hillary Clinton, wrongly, in retrospect, decided she could pretend to pivot left and avoid courting progressives after she clinched the nomination. In fact, over the entire summer, Hillary Clinton was largely absent from her own campaign, as progressives angrily stewed.


We will know far more, once final voting data is published. What was to be the year of the woman didn’t translate into votes for Hillary Clinton. Women didn’t turn out in force for Hillary. Her image as a feminist didn’t catch on beyond the upper registers of what’s left of the US middle class. Even accounting for voter suppression, Black voters, Hillary’s firewall, didn’t turn out, either. A campaign that relied almost exclusively on the fear of Trump and no substance was doomed to failure. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was exposed for its cynicism, corruption, elitism, and raw ambition for power over the welfare of those it claimed to protect. The more exposed the campaign became, it unashamedly and unapologetically soldiered on, and was ripe to be the recipient of the public’s wrath.

Hillary Clinton made the wrong judgment when she decided she could pretend to pivot left and avoid courting progressives after she clinched the nomination. In fact, over the entire summer, Hillary Clinton was largely absent from her own campaign, as progressives angrily stewed. If voters couldn’t readily explain what it was about the Clinton campaign that angered them, the Clinton campaign should have known and compensated for it. They didn’t:


For at least half of the Democratic party, likely the half that is in economic distress or on the brink of it,  in the end, the calculus must have been that it would be better to suffer through four years of Trump than another potential sixteen years of neoliberal control of a Democratic party that is as badly in need of reform as the GOP.

Aside from the candidate, herself, John Podesta, David Brock, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Donna Brazile and many other Democratic political operatives, who else is to blame? NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and just about every newspaper in the nation.

I’ve been writing in these pages for the last two years that, what lays at the center of every single problem that ails America is a complete breakdown in ethics. Our system is rotten to the core. In an election in which a vast majority of voters demanded change, Hillary Clinton publicly insisted on running on a platform of continuity while privately planning to take America back to the 1990’s. Voters who survived the tech bust of the early 2000’s only to succumb to the Great Recession would have none of it.

Donald J. Trump, as distasteful as he may be, will be subject to the same constitution every other president has presided under. Given what we know about the legal challenges ahead of him, it is doubtful he will serve a full presidential term.

Who won this election? The American people. In the four years of hell to come, there may be a silver lining. The progressive movement that Bernie Sanders started should emerge as the dominant bloc in the Democratic party. Should resistance to its ascent continue to be forbidding, Progressives should splinter off no later than the start of the new year and form their own party and mount an immediate campaign to claim state houses and congressional seats in the 2018 mid-term election. The two party system has failed. The time for a new progressive party is now.

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On a new progressive party:


  • Eric Gregory

    you got it right. they might try to hand blame to my but i will refuse to take any as they deserve it all for themselves.

  • b4integrity

    “Aside from the candidate, herself, John Podesta, David Brock, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Donna Brazile and many other Democratic political operatives, who else is to blame? NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and just about every newspaper in the nation.”

    We could have had a progressive President Bernie Sanders, but the Democratic Party stole the nomination from him in favor of the worst Presidential candidate possible, Hillary Clinton.

    A black day for America. America will suffer under the total control of the federal government (all three branches) by the evil Republicans.

    If only I had the resources to leave this benighted country. Alas …

  • ChipsPOV

    Rima just one small amendment to your otherwise accurate commentary. You stated early on that “Hillary Clinton lost an election she should have won handily.” I think you probably meant that the Democrats lost an election they should have won handily. The reason they couldn’t win handily is because they backed the queen of the establishment. Trump and Republicans didn’t beat Clinton and the Democrats. The Democrats ignored the obvious – that this was an anti-establishment election – for both parties! The Democrats lost because the establishment prevailed in their primaries. The Republicans won because the anti-establishment prevailed over the establishment candidates in the primaries. The anti-establishment faction beat the establishment.

    The biggest and clearest red flag for both parties was the 90% disapproval rating of Congress. Hubris as you say is what has led to what will soon be a calamitous if not all out crises in governance and extraordinary civil unrest. The good news is that this will happen entirely on the Republican watch. There is no way Trump can deliver what he’s promised and there is no way the Congress will go along with what he has promised. Our corrupt political duopoly are the masters of smoke and mirrors, detract and deflect; they always break their promises and in any case they will not deliver because their allegiance is to their benefactors that give them position and power.

    I’m too old to start or incite a revolution; but, I firmly believe the “havenots” must unite and rise up to demand forcefully an immediate end to income and wealth inequality through a massive redistribution of wealth and income back to the middle class and most disadvantaged. People don’t trust government because they have been brainwashed into believing government is the cause of their personal suffering. The fact is only government can resolve this horribly unfair inequality. Republicans have never been able to balance the budget, create jobs, increase wages or provide for the disadvantaged. Trickle down, supply side economics is a proven failed concept. There is but one solution – tax the income and wealth of those who benefited from the economy over the last 40 years. The tax system is what caused the inequality and it is the only way to restore equality. Republicans will not bite the hand that feeds them and they will, to their last dying breath, refuse to raise taxes, and soon, the revolution will begin. For many of us older Americans it will be far too little, too late.

    • Hillary Clinton, or Clinton, Inc., if you will, was the Democratic Party until the early hours of November 9. The DNCLeak emails proved just how much the DNC was under her control. That is why I wrote the way I did. There was no “establishment” that picks the candidate. It was a given that she’d run after the end of Obama’s second run for office. They didn’t count on Bernie making such a huge wave, but the intent was always for her to end up as the nominee.

  • ChipsPOV

    Your post is enlightening and informative because it connects the dots which I think the MSM typically fails to do. Your work ethic is exceptional given the output. I wish I was in a better place and could help you financially but as best I can tell we are both treading water. I offer encouragement for what that’s worth.

    The missing piece in your article is the power the wealthy donor class has in shaping policy and legislation. Quite often their ability to manufacture gridlock in the Senate and the House also serves their best interests. For example, inaction on increasing taxes or reforming the tax codes is extremely beneficial to the 1%.

    I have been following politics since the 1990’s and am one of the first that I know of to sound the alarm about the demise of democracy and the rise of plutocracy. Some people talk about oligarchy but it wasn’t until about 7 or 8 years ago that people started using the word plutocracy which is more accurate IMO. When you follow the money over time you begin to understand how virtually all business in Washington is conducted, and the various ways elections are funded and the outcome influenced. Politicians of both parties are very adept at glad handing with one hand while they are stabbing you in the back with their other hand.

    All the job numbers you mention and every other factoid and statistic referenced is classic smoke and mirrors where you can make any point you want by cherry picking the data. People are cynical of government because they think the numbers are completely bogus when in fact it is how the political establishment manipulates those numbers to serve their purpose. People understand the concept of paying taxes but if you start talking about different kinds of taxes and tax loopholes and all the other 10,000 pages of IRS gobbly-gook, most people’s eyes glaze over because they have no clue what you are talking about. BTW, if you ever succeeded in simplifying the tax code to filling out a postcard, 2-million people would be out of a job and out of a career – it’s what should happen but it won’t.

    People understand reality – what is happening in their lives and the lives of people they know. They understand kitchen table budgeting, paying bills and balancing a checkbook. They understand that for the most part they can’t spend more than they earn, or borrow more than they can repay. They also understand what happens to them when they can’t pay the bills – their world around them becomes very unforgiving. They also see that the wealthy and the powerful have a different set of rules to follow and that when they make mistakes, others pay for their mistakes. Politicians need votes but they need money more, so they learn how to play both sides to the middle to get both votes and money. However, since reality rarely matches up with the picture that politicians paint, people by the millions have become distrustful of politicians. We are at the stage now of blame the other party and/or people different than us. Keeping people hungry and full of fear can be played and replayed for decades but at some point the desperate will act out of desperation and it will be ugly.

    If I’m not guilty of conspiracy theories, I’m definitely guilty of cynicism. I trust few and do my best to verify or more often debunk what I hear or read. No one in the political arena is above suspicion and everyone has a reason for what they do and say. They do it for a living and basic survival – they are light years ahead of virtually every observer and most pundits. Also, there is always, I repeat always, a money trail to follow.

    Money talks and it has the power to control and corrupt. Any media organization that has expenses and relies on revenue to pay those expenses can be controlled and corrupted. You fired off several names in your article and there are many more – ALL of them at some point need to pay the bills and keep the lights on or they go out of existence. Rima can’t keep going unless she develops a revenue stream and her success will always be governed by her ability to generate more and more revenue. No matter how big or successful you become, the plutocrats will pay whatever is necessary to keep you in line. Today, the presidency was bought! A billionaire who allegedly doesn’t pay a dime in taxes bought the presidency – quite inexpensively as it turns out – thanks in large part to the media. All those years that the RNC has been in close collaboration with FOX and the rest of the conservative media paid off very nicely indeed. From that perspective, Reince Priebus was a superstar as Trump declared.

    I hate to be cynical to you because you are doing great work. But, money makes the world go around (damn cliches) and the progressive movement will never get the financial backing from the kingmakers to mount a successful campaign. You know what happened to Bernie’s campaign – he was attacked and undermined by the political establishment and the media. For all the money he raised there are a handful of people that could easily right a few checks to opposition operatives totaling 10 times what Sanders’ raised in order to knock him out of contention. For them it would be a smart investment – you spend a few million to make or save a few billion.

    One example – when Congress and the country was deliberating over a health care bill, I researched and found that the medical industry generates over $2-trillion a year in revenue; they spent as I recall .001% of that amount on defeating universal health care, and getting their people not just a seat at the table, but in a position to write the poisoned-pill-infused ACA. They paid chump change to write a bill that expanded the number of policyholders wherein the government subsidized health care for low income people and were smart enough to make sure when there was a danger of declining profits, they could jack up premiums and exit unprofitable markets. It was a complete win-win for them. Republicans played up the ACA’s shortcomings to their advantage to shore up support for their party. The feckless Democrats once again floundered and failed to defend the ACA. If they couldn’t defend a bill they passed, then they obviously shouldn’t have written the bill. They could just as easily written a Medicare-for-all bill and passed it because they didn’t need or have the support of a single Republican with the ACA.

    Whether you are willfully ignorant or smart as a whip – everyone knows that government has failed the vast majority of people in the country and because 99% of the politicians are working for the 1%, the 1% control 90% of all the wealth and income in the country. There has been class warfare in America for 50 years, at least. Ten years ago Warren Buffett famously said, “There’s class warfare, all right, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” That should be amended to the rich have won now that billionaire Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.

  • Ian MacFarlane

    We may all be in for a surprise. It wouldn’t shock me to see Mr Trump dump all of his closest circle in favor of reasonable, intelligent, thoughtful people. I only voice this because it is tough for me to think Trump will put up with lack of performance and as the ultimate dictator he won’t have to suffer the fools presently surrounding him. The fact he is pragmatic, and has all the power any political strongman needs, may just allow him to blossom into something other than a blooming idiot.

    Little consolation, but whoever is next in line for this office will be held to a very high standard and I hope she is an atheist with blood in her veins.

    • Hi, Ian!

      He started dumping people today. Chris Christie was replaced by Mike Pence as transition team lead.

  • Strongtium

    Trump’ll be constrained by the constitution eh. As enforced by who? The Republican congress? The Supreme Court, as staffed by Trump’s appointees? By the rapidly pro-Trump FBI? And if they try to reign him in, you don’t think he will use every lever at his command to get back at them and level the score, and intimidate them into not doing it again?

    Open your eyes. America has elected a proto fascist. Rules are for the little people.
    America has handed its nuclear codes to a thin-skinned narcissist who attacks everybody who doesn’t suck up to him, from political opponents to the friging Emmies.

    And when he cancels obamacare and dumps 30 million people off having health insurance, is that part of the price you are willing to pay for a purer Democratic party? When some of those people die from lack of diagnosis and treatment, that is a price that you are willing to pay?
    When he pulls back America’s soldiers from protecting Japan and South Korea, and leaves them to develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves (as he’s promised to do), then a more nuclear armed world is the price you are willing to pay too? For a better purer democratic party?

    That’s mighty big of you to be so willing to sacrifice the lives and livelihoods of thousands of other people, so that you can get the version of your political party that you want.

    • Tim Cahill

      “America has elected a proto fascist.”

      Funny. Sounds exactly like the rabid right wingers when Obama was elected. Kids were going to be frog-marched into Muslim indoctrination camps. The military was going to take everyone’s guns. On and on with the terror.

      Get a grip or you’re gonna blow a blood vessel.

  • michaelwme

    I read your comments in the New York Times (actually, I read the top 10 or 20, and yours is usually up there), but this is my first trip to your blog.

    I just wanted to say this column was outstanding.

    And Prof Krugman remains clueless.

    • Michael,

      Thanks so much! If you follow me on Facebook using the link on this page, you can get direct links to my NYT and WaPo comments, and include me in your news timeline, as my blog pieces get posted to Facebook. If you sign up to receive notifications from the blog, you will get an email each time I post.

      My comments were not to the liking of the readers this past year. The media propaganda was very effective and few were those who were open to reading anything that ran contrary to what the establishment was putting out. That is likely why you didn’t see my posts. Glad you found me, though! Thanks again,


  • ChipsPOV

    Rima – if you have a sec – please tell me you are alright. I care. Thanks

    • Sorry it took me so long. I got hammered with lots and lots of mail. Thanks so much for being here and leaving such thoughtful comments!

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  • ChipsPOV

    Tim I see a corrupt political duopoly that is set up to oppose one another when in fact the party’s are more alike than not. I say they are similar because both parties have an almost symbiotic relationship with the wealthy donor class.

    The Clinton’s like many other party elite have close ties to the rich. Their greatest talent may lie in their ability to fund raise. I would guess that the Clinton’s bring in more money to their party than any other politician. They are invaluable to the Democratic Party and quite frankly the Democrats would be extremely handicapped in winning seats without the support of the donor class. So until the influence of money is purged from politics, Clinton-type great fund raising politicians will always have the undying support of the party. I suspect the reason the progressives in the party including Elizabeth Warren could not support Sanders had everything to do with keeping the money coming into the DNC.

    Your views about Hillary may be right but the big picture is in understanding why the party will always support the bread winners. In defense of Hillary and Bill the Republicans have spent an inordinate amount of time and money trying to destroy the Democrat’s biggest fund raisers and most viable choices for the presidency. Obviously Bill succeeded and Hillary almost succeeded.

    With Republicans, power is everything and they will do anything to get and keep power. Democrats, not so much which is difficult to understand until you remember how campaigns are funded. Republicans have a huge advantage because their platform always favor the wealthy – supply side economics, tax cuts and breaks for the wealthy, privatization, and reducing government interference in business. Supporting the 99% is not something that the rich likes to see. They want it all and they are not going to be happy until that day happens. I would say given the results of this election, that day is coming soon.

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