Even if Clinton manages to come out with a lead in the popular vote when California’s results are added to the evening’s totals1, the results are a stunning repudiation to pollsters, the punditocracy, the mainstream media, professionals in both major parties, and most important, to Hillary Clinton herself.
I seriously considered shorting the market first thing yesterday morning, and have the e-mail record to prove it. And this wasn’t confirmation bias since I decided not to vote for any Presidential candidate.
It was based on the fact that every single bit of anecdotal information I had from real people ran against what experts and the polls were saying. For instance, the overwhelming majority of Hispanics I ran into, once I gave them latitude to express their views by saying I hated both candidates, made clear they were seriously entertaining a Trump vote, including a van driver in Dallas. The upper income, 30s to middle aged guys in my gym, all of whom save one had been Sanders voters, were voting for Trump (I added another one to that tally tonight). A 70 year old college educated friend in Dallas, never married, who’d lived ten years in New York running a major department at Christies and joked that she was the only one of her girlfriends not to carry a gun in her purse, said apologetically that she thought both candidates were terrible but Trump might be a tiny bit less terrible. The 40-ish partner from Apollo who sat next to me on the plane to Dallas (a rare sighting, private equity partners rarely slum by flying commercial) was reading the New York Post and checking Drudge on his iPhone and thus clearly not going to vote for Clinton.
So even though my sample was small (and I have more examples), it said the closeted Trump voter was a real phenomenon and likely bigger than anyone was allowing for.
The election outcome was based not just on Clinton being a terrible candidate on the merits, but on the abjectly poor conduct of the Clinton campaign.
Let us not forget that Clinton had every advantage: Presidential campaign experience, the full backing of her party, a much bigger ground apparatus, oodles of experts and surrogates, the Mighty Wurlitzer of the media behind her, an opponent widely deemed to be world-class terrible – utterly unqualified, undisciplined, offensive, with a mother lode of scandals – and what historically was deemed the most important asset of all, a large lead in fundraising.
Yet Clinton was a lousy campaigner and strategist. By all accounts, she was a micromanager who regularly overrode her staff’s advice. All the big-ticket Madison Avenue spin-meistering could not get the dogs to eat enough dog food.
You don’t win voters by telling them they are stupid and beneath contempt. That is tantamount to saying you have no intention of representing them
You don’t win voters by failing to offer a positive vision and selling only fear
You don’t win voters by trying to get them to believe you’ll suddenly behave differently and take positions contrary to the ones you’ve held for decades to extract cash from the the richest and most powerful
You don’t win voters with a record of failing upward
You don’t win voters by saying your opponent is a sleaze, even when undeniably true, when you are at least as sleazy yourself
And readers in Lambert’s live blog last night read Clinton’s defeat the same way:
The Red Wave is rolling across this country because
the Democrats wont listen to their base.
Trump’s election is completely due to the incompetence and arrogance of the D elite.
It’s really amazing to see how little of the blame is going to Clinton herself. It was her decision to set-up a private email server. It was her decision to serve as Secretary of State while accepting millions from foreign governments. It was her decision to get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars while unofficially running for President. It was her decision to call millions of Americans deplorable.
The liberal histrionics and gnashing of teeth (especially on twitter) are actually just making me mad now. So, you sat out the fight from 2008 to the present and suddenly NOW the world is coming to an end. Where were you when Occupy was scuttled by your precious Democratic administration? Where were you when Secretary Clinton was negotiating away the last vestiges of labor rights in this country? Where have you been while state after state has passed right to work laws? Where were you when the current administration ramped up deportations? Where were you when the DoJ pumped weapons into Mexico just to see what would happen? Where were you when a sixteen year old American kid was blown to pink mist in Yemen? And the list goes on…
I should make this into a card that I hand to every single person tomorrow who blubbers about the coming apocalypse. The world was already on fire. Now the veil has been lifted. I’d hope to see these fresh discontents on the picket lines, but something tells me that’s unlikely.
We have very little idea of what a Trump presidency will amount to. My best guess has been that he will be a Jimmy Carter cubed in Berlusconi packaging.
Recall that even though Carter has been the best former President of the modern era, he came to Washington as an outsider with his Georgia team. Despite having ben a governor and thus knowing how to draft legislation and get bills passed, he famously got little accomplished despite having a Democratic party majority in the House and Senate.
Trump is likely to spend his first year, and conceivably his entire Presidency, with all of the Democratic party and enough of the Republican party against him to stymie him, fighting for the right to govern. And that assumes he has an agenda beyond the very few goals he has articulated consistently: getting out of “bad” trade deals and entering into better ones; reducing immigration and deporting many undocumented immigrants (and building his famed wall); investing heavily in infrastructure; making NATO members pay their share of its budget (the theoretical level, 2% of each nation’s GDP, is largely footed by the US); cutting back our involvement in overseas conflicts; cutting taxes; and repealing Obamacare.
The only initiatives where the Republicans might back him solidly are cutting taxes and ending Obamacare, and even then, given the lobbying power of Big Pharma and the health insurers, the Republicans might not be as willing to pull the trigger on Obamacare as all their kvetching would lead you to believe.
There is one more Trump campaign promise that will serve as an important early test of his seriousness as well as his survival skills: investigating Clinton. Even if Obama pardons her, as our Jerri-Lynn Scofield has predicted, it will be critical for Trump to carry out a probe of the Clinton Foundation’s business while Clinton was Secretary of State.
If Trump is to cut the cancer of the neocons out of the policy establishment, he has to have them on the run. It is a reasonable surmise that Clinton’s enthusiasm for war was due at least in part to heavy Saudi support of the Foundation. Showing that American’s escalation in the Middle East, which Obama tried with mixed success to temper, was due in part, and perhaps almost entirely, to the personal corruption of the Secretary of State, would keep the hawks at bay, particularly if other prominent insiders and pundits were implicated in Clinton Foundation influence-peddaling.
It will be hard for Trump to do much to alter the course of the military-surveilance complex unless he can hamstring the warmongers. Just as Warren has argued relative to bank regulations, “personnel is policy.” If Trump is a fast learner, he’ll see that that is just as true on the foreign policy front.
Finally, those on the left need to turn the blame cannon aimed squarely at them back on the professional hacks who are truly responsible. Despite their tiresome chest-beating about meritocracy, these Acela corridor bubble-dwellers are constitutionally incapable of holding their fellow club member accountable. Their preening self regard repelled hard-working Americans who’d done the right thing, as in gotten an education, and if they were older, launched a career, bought a house and started a family, only to struggle harder and harder while seeing any vestige of security and hope of improved living standards erode. And unless they were at the top of the professional classes, they felt defeated by not being able to pay for their kids to go to college and being uncertain as to how to advise them with their educations and job prospects.
The Democrats under Clinton and Obama abdicated the duty of the elites, which is to improve the conditions for, or at least limit harm to, the members of the communities they lead. Even Bill Clinton did remember that the most important duty for a Democrat is to create jobs, even if he did so by presiding over a rise in household debt and a stock market bubble.
Young people, who poll well to the left of their elders, have inferred a lesson that the labor movement forgot: the exercise of power includes being willing to inflict punishment in the form of withholding support. Look at how diminished organized labor has become by casting its lot with the feckless Dems who’ve sold them out again and again. Hillary tried the Clinton “They have no where to go” trick one time too many, kicking the left after she only narrowly beat Sanders. And the left decided to return the favor. She made clear she has no intention of representing them. They heard her message loud and clear and acted accordingly.
As reader aab:
The big question to me is, take over the hollow shell of the Democratic Party, or crush it with a new party. Is it possible to take over the Ds — as weak as it is now as a party — without being corrupted and co-opted? I now hate my former party to such a degree, I find myself recoiling at having anything at all to do with it. But given all the institutional constraints, it still may be smart to try; the answer is above my pay grade, as they say.
This is an important question to consider as we see how the Democratic party responds to this well-deserved defeat.
1 As of 6:00 AM, the Wall Street Journal still shows Trump as leading in the popular vote, but only marginally: 58,728,425 versus 58,637,055.