I’m no expert, but I read a lot, so I’ll try my best with what I know, and if people disagree or have something to add, I want to hear.
Why’d Hillary lose? Not so much why did Trump win, but why did Hillary lose? I ask in that way, because there’s no reason anyone should lose to Trump.
Did sexism play a part? Absolutely. Racism? Yes, hands down. The white nationalists.. ahem, fascists. The fascists feel empowered and emboldened by his win. Xenophobia played a part. The worst parts of society were brought out into daylight.
Also playing a part though was voter turnout. Five million less people voted for Hillary than did Obama in 2012, and eight million less than 2008 Obama. Those votes didn’t go to Trump though, nor the third parties. They just didn’t vote. Black voter turnout was down a lot, as was Latino voter turnout, even with Trump’s deportation threats.
Then you get to how they voted. Hillary should have easily won the women voters, but she didn’t. More white women voted for Trump than Hillary. However, blacks and Latinos voted for Trump at a higher rate than they did for Romney. So something isn’t right.
You could try to blame the third parties, but looking at the facts, in four of the six big swing states, Jill Stein’s vote total didn’t cover the difference between Hillary and Trump, meaning even if you gave Jill’s votes to Hillary, she’d still lose the electoral college b/c the two states where Hillary would’ve won wouldn’t have been enough. If you gave all of Jill’s votes to Hillary nationwide, she’d be ahead in the popular vote right now by just over 1.9 million votes. However, if you give Jill’s votes to Hillary, you must also give Gary Johnson’s votes to Trump. In that case, in the six big swing states that were close, Trump actually would have won far easier, even with Jill’s votes to Hillary, because Gary got about four times the votes Jill did. And nationwide, giving Gary’s votes to Trump, means that Trump actually would’ve won the popular vote by around two million. So if anything, the third parties actually helped Hillary win the popular vote, and made it closer in the swing states than it otherwise would have been. The third parties helped cover up how bad Hillary actually lost. So you can’t really blame them.
I guess what I’m really getting at is, you can’t blame the voters. Even if you could, it wouldn’t help for future elections. Blaming the voters is a losing strategy. You could say half the country is racist and misogynist, and that’d be a fair point to make, but then you’re conceding that the 60 million who voted Trump are all that way, that none of them have legitimate concerns. And anyways, even if they are all racists and sexists, they’re not half the country. We have about 330 million people. Just over 220 million are eligible voters. 60 million voted Trump. That’s just above 25% of voters, and 18% of the overall population. If all of the 60 million who voted Trump are indeed fascists, they are a minority, a small, but now powerful and dangerous minority.
My opinion here though is, don’t write off all those voters. Don’t blame them. There are those that can be won over. It’s not anybody’s fault for Hillary losing but her own. As I hear leftists always pleading for liberals to do, punch up, not down. The only person and people who should be blamed for Hillary losing are herself and those who ran her campaign. That’s generally how elections work, that’s how you learn from defeat, is figuring out what your candidate did wrong, what their campaign did wrong. Yes, you also have to ask, was our candidate the wrong candidate to run against the opposition’s candidate. Some candidates are just not good candidates, and others are.
When five million less people vote for Hillary than Obama, you have two options. You can punch down and blame the voters for not coming out, or you can punch up and figure out why Hillary wasn’t as appealing as Obama at the time. If at that point, your conclusion is that it’s because the voters are sexists and want a man but not a woman, you’re punching down. If you conclude that voters were inspired by Obama’s message at the time but not that of Hillary’s message, then you’re looking for the answers.
When less Latinos turn out for Hillary than Obama, even with Trump, you have problems. So again, why? Is it because they don’t trust Hillary either, because she has supported a border fence? Is it because she’s said we need to send the children back to Honduras and other places? Is it because, NAFTA not only hurt working class Americans but it also crippled the working class in Mexico? Is it because of the assassinations of environmental activists in Honduras by the military regime, which Hillary as Secretary of State helped put in place by overthrowing the then democratically elected leftist government? It’s known I don’t like Hillary, but if you want to know why she lost, why people didn’t vote for her, these are the things you have to ask. You have to consider that it was indeed Hillary’s great many flaws which did her in. That she did herself in by being such a compromised candidate.
Same thing with blacks. Were they full of privilege for not voting for Hillary, or did they not trust her because she’s supported mass incarceration in the past and called black people super predators? Is it because she doesn’t support the full legalization of weed, thus ending the drug war, which has and continues to hurt people of color. I mean, there are black people who consider Hillary to be a racist. So if it’s a racist running against a racist, maybe not voting is the best option?
What about the young voters though, of all genders and colors? I’ve heard that in 2008 around 60% of millennials turned out to vote, most of them for Obama. This year, barely 20% came out to vote. Why? They loved and still love Bernie a shit ton, they came out for him but not Hillary for some reason. Is it that millennials are lazy and/or full of privilege, or is it because they didn’t like what Hillary stood for? Did Hillary and her campaign’s constant Bernie bashing drive them away? Was it Hillary’s rejection of his ideas, which weren’t really his ideas but rather it was Bernie understanding what voters, especially millennials, wanted, and adopting those ideas. Hillary couldn’t even fully adopt a $15 minimum wage. She wanted tweaks to Obamacare, not a public option or Single Payer, which everyone wanted and wants. Nobody believed her opposition to the TPP was sincere, and the DNC leaks confirmed it was just a flip flop to get elected. Nobody believed Hillary would get money out of politics, because she’s basically the embodiment of it, she benefits from it.
Onto Hillary’s corruption, or the idea that she is corrupt. Was it all just a vast right wing conspiracy like she and her campaign would say, or were there merits to it? Bernie’s supporters, and the left, believed she was and is corrupt. Well so maybe they’re all sexists, holding her to a different standard than everyone else. Except, that’s punching down. Nobody, not even Republicans, accuse Michelle Obama, or Elizabeth Warren, or Kshama Sawant, or Jill Stein, of being corrupt. So why is Hillary thought of as corrupt? Is it, maybe, the Wall Street speeches? Is it the Clinton Foundation? But wait, Clinton would say, there’s no proof of quid pro quo, even though that’s a right wing defense against corruption. When Saudi gives $1 million for Bill’s birthday, and immediately after, Hillary signs a weapons deal to Saudi worth billions of dollars, well, that’s corruption. That’s as close to quid pro quo you’re going to get without actually proving it was a bribe. It’s known as legalized bribery. Hell, for all the threats about Russia, Hillary as SoS sold most of America’s uranium to a Russian company because they gave millions to the Clinton Foundation. And in Haiti, Hillary and Bill, with the power of the state department, influenced their elections so the Clinton Foundation could do business there following the earthquake. There’s more examples that show Hillary was and is corrupt, but basically, it was not a vast right wing conspiracy. Many people had legit reasons for seeing Hillary as being corrupt, and thus did not come out to vote for her.
On foreign policy, I won’t stay here for long but yikes. Many were deeply concerned that Hillary being elected would lead us into World War 3, because of her rhetoric against Russia and her past record indicated she is completely crazy for war. Sometimes those on the left jokingly referred to her as the Queen of Chaos. For Muslims, Hillary didn’t value their lives except in the context of being agents of the state to fight terrorism. They loved Bernie, because he actually valued them and at least acknowledged the suffering in Palestine, the economic inequality there and the lack of medicine and clean drinking water.
Another of Hillary’s mistakes was her campaign strategy. One could say she was arrogant? In the primaries, she lost Wisconsin and Michigan to Bernie. Bernie and Trump, though very different, were both running populist campaigns, and agreed on some things, mainly trade. The loss of jobs from NAFTA hurt most the rust belt states. Both Bernie and Trump were strongly against the TPP, while Hillary wasn’t sincere in her opposition to it. Yet she didn’t bother to campaign in Wisconsin or Michigan, even though she lost them to Bernie which should have been a warning sign that Trump could take them.
Also, her campaign slogan. I’m with her. She made it about herself, and not the people. Her campaign wasn’t about America, it was about her. Hate it and mock it all you want, but Trump’s Make America Great Again was about America. Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’ was about us, as in we, as in America. Bernie’s was about a people’s revolution. The people. Heck, Ronald Raegan was about the sun rising on America, the dawn of a new day. The campaigns that win put the center and focus on America, on we the people. They are about us. Hillary’s campaign was about everyone being with her, not her being with us. A better more likely to win campaign slogan and message would have been She’s with us, or #sheswithus, or something like that. She’s with me, she’s with you, she’s with us, something that makes the center of her campaign we the people. Instead the focus was on her. She wanted to be president because she wanted power, and wanted everyone to be with her. She wasn’t running to be of service to the people, it was all about her desire for power. Narcissism is how some have described her. There’s more examples of how her campaign fucked up their strategy, but the point is, even if Hillary was a good candidate, she had the wrong strategy for winning.
So in the end, what I’m really trying to say, if I haven’t got the message across already, is, even for those who love Hillary and are sick and tired of the whole “she’s a flawed candidate” argument.. well.. that’s the biggest reason why she lost. Not so much because she was a flawed candidate in itself, but because of the ways in which she was a flawed candidate. Although I think a better way of saying it is that Hillary was compromised as a candidate. To put it bluntly, she was a bad candidate who ran a bad campaign. That’s why Hillary lost.
With that said, yes, she did win the popular vote. Yes, we absolutely should get rid of the electoral college, as impossible as that seems because it’d require changing the constitution, no easy thing. However, fact of the matter is, Hillary had to operate with the system as it is, and failed to have a good strategy to win the states she needed to win. That’s on her and her campaign, and nobody else. I’ll write about the electoral college in another post though, because I do hate it.
Long story short though, if you want to blame someone for Hillary losing, well, blame Hillary. Blame her campaign. Question them. Criticize them. Figure out the mistakes they made and learn from them. That’s how you’ll avoid repeating her mistakes.