Two days after the worst shellacking of the last eight years, neoliberal Democrats are still clawing away in desperate attempts to hang on to power they haven’t deserved since, oh, 2012.
Losing the House in 2010 was bad. Losing the Senate in 2014 was bad. Not regaining the House or even some governorships in 2014 was especially bad. During that midterm election, President Obama was asked to stay away. He did, and the Clintons, both of them, campaigned with the candidates they picked. None won and the Senate was lost.
Now, in an election year from hell, one in which not only should the Democrats have kept the White House, given who it is that ran opposite the nominee, but the Senate was pretty much a lock. Was. Past tense. Everything that could have been lost was lost.
Center-right Democrats are shamelessly blaming Bernie Sanders voters. Some in the media have even gone as far as blaming Barack Obama’s “struggle to speak to the entire nation.” Imagine that! The Black man still gets the blame, according to the Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe and Juliet Eilperin. But wait! Who was it that ran for president? GTFOH!
Reuters does some honest reporting in “How Hillary Clinton’s white voters melted away:”
“McAndrew, who voted for Obama in the two previous races, was intrigued by Trump, but decided eventually that “all he does is insult everybody … women, black people, white people, rich, poor. He’s an idiot.” He considered Clinton, but was concerned by the scandal over her handling of classified material on a private email server as secretary of state.
“I hated both of them, so I just said, ‘the hell with it,’” McAndrew said. His wife, also a life-long Democrat, went to the polls without him – and voted Republican.
“First time ever,” he said.
Trump’s ability to flip reliably Democratic counties like Northampton helped drive his victory in the presidential election this week. It was critical to his win in Pennsylvania and other Rust Belt states, a bulwark in the Democrats’ electoral strategy for winning the White House, and it helped fuel his victories in critical swing states, such as Florida and North Carolina.”
Imagine that! These are blue collar whites in their seventies who’d voted Blue all their lives, until Hillary Clinton, not once, but twice.
Hillary Clinton lost because she couldn’t bring herself to compromising on her neoliberal views. She lost because the only part of the electorate she bothered to campaign in was upper middle class white women, the vast majority of the time, interspersed with a few appearances in traditionally Black areas to keep up Black women’s support. And Black women did support Clinton! Clinton lost because she didn’t appeal to young people – not white or Black millennials. Hillary lost because in the face of daily WikiLeaks, she couldn’t bring herself to come out, apologize, and vow to keep her campaign promises. She could have. She chose not to.
From that same Reuters piece:
“It’s not that Trump’s economic populism and “America First” messages generated widespread enthusiasm; he won some of those counties with far fewer votes than Mitt Romney captured as the Republican nominee in 2012. Nationwide, Trump’s 59.7 million votes are about 1.2 million behind the 60.9 million Romney got when he lost four years ago, based on initial projections.
But Clinton’s troubles holding on to Democratic voters were far more stark. Some crossed party lines for Trump or backed an independent.
Many just stayed home.
Clinton won the popular vote with 59.9 million votes, 6 million fewer than the 65.9 million Obama won in 2012. And her weakness in traditionally Democratic areas helped cost her the electoral college that chooses the winner of the election.
Clinton came across as a status quo candidate unlikely to shake up the Washington establishment, says Mike Sly, 74, a retiree and independent voter in Pinellas County, Florida, who backed Obama in 2012 and voted for Trump this year. Clinton’s message failed to convince him that she would address his concerns about the state of the economy and rising health insurance premiums under Obama’s Affordable Care Act.”
Add to that a distrust of the media by an increasingly large portion of the public, consistent with a waning trust in our institutions. As the media trumpeted much better times, voters were skeptical. How skeptical were they? Very. Why? Because, as I explain in my post-mortem, you cannot tell a hungry person to close their eyes and pretend they just had a meal.
Hillary Clinton, the candidate who ran against the caricature of a candidate; a buffoonish, sexist, misogynist, racist stereotypical “Ugly American,” couldn’t manage to pull out a win.
White people stayed home or crossed parties out of self-interest. In an economy that still hasn’t rebounded for everyone who isn’t upper middle class, voters’ only concern is for their future. Clinton didn’t learn from her experience during the primary. It has been widely reported that the Clinton camp was shocked at Bernie Sanders’ success. That is why Clinton pivoted left, but did so without understanding that she needed to stay left in order to keep these voters interested. As the WikiLeaks email dumps started coming in, she never even attempted to allay the fears of millions of voters who are a part of a new social class called precariat. As a consequence, those people chose not to give her their vote. It’s that simple.
So don’t go blaming Black women, Black millennials, white millennials, Hispanics… As Hillary, herself, said: “I failed.” If there is any hope for the party to be reformed and recover by 2018, the leadership of the Democratic party needs to resign. Nancy Pelosi shouldn’t lead House Democrats. She’s as much a part of the problem as Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Democrats need to remain engaged and push hard for change. It isn’t enough to vote every four years. Get involved. Stay involved. The next four years will require all of us to actively push back against what undoubtedly will be series of setbacks from Congress and the Trump administration.