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Clinton Campaign's Complacency Doomed Hillary's Chances

Updated on November 25, 2016
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Hillary Went Low and Donald Went High

Complacency crushed Hillary Clinton once again. In believing the mainstream media-hyped narrative about her rock solid lead in the battleground states, she took for granted some significant Midwestern states that ended up deciding the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

How did we get here? Hillary went low and Donald went high.

Instead of focusing on how she was a better prepared candidate for the office, Clinton hammered on about how her opponent was a mean man who does not have the temperament to handle the duties of the presidency. In an anti-establishment year, Clinton discussed her 25 year-plus tenure in and around federal government. Meanwhile, Donald kept his priority on the American people and made the case as to how he can help make their lives better.

Not following her own strategy, Hillary went low and played dirty against the Donald, who went high in the final weeks of the campaign. Donald gave people reason to vote for him. Hillary rattled off reasons why you should vote against the Donald as opposed to for her. However, it’s hard to make a moral argument against your opponent when you are under investigation multiple times by the FBI during the campaign.

This election was historic in more than one fashion.

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But What Went Wrong?

A string of significant mistakes doomed the Clinton campaign in 2016, possibly closing the history books on the Clinton machine for good. The most damaging of these errors was to continue attacking Trump’s character as opposed to his positions. By poisoning the discourse and doubling down on this classic political strategy, she helped feed Trump’s rise by fitting perfectly into the crooked Hillary career politician personality he crafted for her.

Clinton could not see that her party’s base was thirsty for some real political and economic change. Something that would have come with an insurgent Bernie Sanders nomination. Good thing for Trump, the Democratic National Committee was rigged for an establishment character like Clinton, as proven by the wonderfully transparent WikiLeaks. Despite former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s insistence that she and her colleagues were “neutral in the Presidential Democratic primary.” A laughable assertion. At the end of the day, Clinton could not drum up enough excitement for her even though her party handed her the nomination to the dismay of millions of socialism-loving Sanders supporters. Therefore, Clinton suffered from a notably smaller turnout on November 8th. Trump did not.

“What you can’t do is you can’t manufacture enthusiasm,” said David Axelrod, Chief Strategist of Obama’s two successful presidential campaigns. “There was an assumption that antipathy toward Trump would be enough to mobilize the base . . . a certain lethargy that sets in when you’ve had the White House for eight years. Your troops are just not as hungry.” In addition to not being hungry, the Democrats banked on their coastal influence and control of the mainstream media being enough to get them to 270 electoral votes, ignoring the many states and counties in between Washington DC and San Francisco. As Axelrod added, “too much was assumed in the industrial Midwest.”

Clinton did not make a single stop in Wisconsin during the general election. Trump eked out a win by one percent, voting in a Republican for president for the first time since 1984. Clinton assumed she would win Michigan. Trump won by just over 10,000 votes. She took Pennsylvania for granted. Trump won the state. Ohio somehow always seemed to be going Trump, a state no Republican has ever lost and still won the White House.

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The Blue Wall Cracks

Clinton struggled to put together an overarching message for her campaign. While Trump had a message for those who have seen their jobs disappear and their incomes remain flat. His advocacy for “fair rather than free trade,” was one reason why Trump won, according to Victor Davis Hanson. The others were “his insistence on enforcement of federal immigration law, and promises to bring back jobs to the United States” which indeed “brought back formerly disaffected Reagan Democrats, white working-class union members, and blue-dog Democrats—the ‘missing Romney voters’—into the party.” Trump’s scattered messaging throughout the general election campaign was enough to keep enthusiasm up and to bring the big blue wall down in vital swing states from Florida to Wisconsin. And he was able to expand the Republican base by reaching out to alienated Democrat voters while Clinton seemed to rely on her existing liberal base.

Perhaps the Democratic party’s voters and Americans overall are tired of being talked to based on what skin color they are. The identity politics of pandering to the Latino vote, the black vote, the women vote, or what have you, was in fact not what most minority Americans were looking for. Still, Hispanics and African Americans continue to vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic party.

When an old rich white woman is attempting to lead the party, that kind of pandering rhetoric just does not have the same sway as it does from someone like Obama. Clinton still won the African American vote by 80 percent. But Obama won them by 87 percent in 2012. Trump won 2 percent more blacks than Romney did four years ago. Trump also won whites by about the exact same margin as Romney did. Even more insightful is the fact that Trump cut into the lead for Hispanics as well. Romney lost Hispanics by 44 percent to Obama in 2012. Trump, on the other hand, lost Hispanics to Clinton by just 36 percent this year.

Time to build that wall!

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The Places that Made Trump President

It is important to take a look at some of the places that made Donald Trump president. One of those was Luzerne County in Pennsylvania, near Scranton, Joe Biden’s hometown, and north of Philadelphia by about 100 miles.

Luzerne County accounted for approximately 40 percent of Trump’s roughly 65,000 winning vote margin in the state. Pennsylvania resembles many other formerly industrial states in the Midwest that shifted over to Trump. These states all suffered from a significant decline in manufacturing, smaller populations, a fraying of social cohesion, and a rise in immigration. All of which made fertile ground for Trump’s simple and concise message of making America great again. These voters suffering in Midwest states do believe that America has seen better days. And they believe Trump could help us get back there.

One of these Trump voters was Tamika Shupp. Tamika works at Mom & Pop’s Pierogis in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She told The Wall Street Journal that she had voted for President Obama not once, but twice. And yet, she pulled the level for Mr. Trump this year. That still makes her a racist, right?

Luzerne County suffers from an unemployment rate well over six percent, generally exceeding the national unemployment average since 2000. Additionally, manufacturing employment is down by about one-third over that same time period. Due to this bleak economic reality, many young people are leaving the region in search of jobs elsewhere. This left a much older and more conservative group in its wake.

A weaker economy has leaked into the social dimensions of the community as well. Over the decades, church attendance has been down, addiction to opioids is at all-time highs, and participation in civic organizations like the Rotary Club and others have had trouble recruiting younger members.

The same story of disappearing jobs and complacency on the part of the Clinton campaign played out in the nearby state of Michigan. In the closest race for president in Michigan’s history, Donald Trump hung on to a 10,704 vote lead over Hillary Clinton. The counties of Michigan recounted the votes this past week, which gave Trump a less substantial win, but a win nonetheless.

Trump’s win speaks to the power of his persona as well as the declining significance of old media such as television and radio. As Holman Jenkins wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal, Trump simply went over the heads of the media and spoke directly to voters, especially through social media. “He figured out early that his voters didn’t need any more explanation or justification. His argument was completely embodied in ‘Make America great again’ plus his outsize public persona. He only needed to keep his fans jollied up, and fired up, for the long wait ’til election day.” And wait they did. And come out to vote they also did. Unlike unenthused Clinton supporters, Trump voters had a reason to vote for their candidate and were excited to do so.

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Happy Days Are Here Again

The Trump supporters have been told by a Clinton-supporting mainstream media for the past year and a half that they are supporting a racist and bigoted homophobe, with little to no evidence supporting this assertion. Therefore, voters were scared to admit to say they were voting for him. They were ashamed to tell the truth.

"People were scared to say they were voting for him," said Audrey Kaatz, a 27 year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, as she worked away in an upscale salon.

Even now when people hear she supported Trump, said the 28-year-old Ashley Wright, who also works at the same salon, "They think, 'Oh, so you must be a racist,' and that isn't fair or true." This extension of calling Trump voters racists and bigots like the candidate they claimed he was, is illogical yet continues to bring liberals to tears across the country. Over two weeks past election day and liberals continue to call the President-elect and his supporters racists. The left sees Trump as a clown who cannot be trusted with the most powerful office on the planet. And that’s fine. What is not okay is calling everyone who voted for him a racist. It’s just not true.

Americans seem to either love or hate President-elect Trump. His supporters “see an outsider unbeholden to a corrupt and rotten political system and brave enough to stake bold positions,” as Mark Barabak and Nigel Duara wrote in The Week recently. They consider him fearless enough to defy the confines of political correctness. They view him as a vastly successful businessman, but possessing a common touch: a workingman's billionaire.” To Trump supporters and conservatives nationwide, his victory brought a relief like none other.

Joyce Riley, 65, was one of these people who felt a sense of joy following November 8th. Riley, who sells real estate in Florida's Panhandle, did not realize how bad she felt about where America was going until she finally felt that things were getting better. "This is the first time I've been optimistic about the country in many years," she said. "I've been walking around singing 'Happy Days Are Here Again.'”

Some recent data reveals that Joyce is not alone in her optimism. A recent University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index report revealed that consumer confidence is rising across the U.S. The lift shows that Americans were heartened by Trump’s victory, or at least happy that it’s all finally over. Broad gains in confidence were seen across all incomes, ages, and regions, according to the report.

The report concludes that Americans are more than optimistic, they are hopeful. In some cases, Americans are the most hopeful they have been in more than a decade. For the first time since 2006, 37 percent of households said they expect their personal finances to improve in 2017.

This wave of optimism is sweeping the country. This is further proven by polls showing that America is waking up to the fact that Trump will make a fine president. According to a survey conducted by POLITICO/Morning Consult from November 16-18, 45 percent of voters now have either a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of Trump. This is a dramatic uptick since November 8 when Trump’s favorability was 9 points less in a similar poll. To compare, his unfavorability rating dropped 15 points, from 61 to 46 percent.

Wall Street is liking the prospects of a Trump presidency as well. Just last Friday, the DOW Jones Industrial Average rose another 69 points to close at a record high of 19,152. Similarly, the S&P gained almost 9 points to an all-time high of 2,213.


America Will Be Great Again

Misunderstood by an arrogant and extremely biased mainstream media, Trump’s supporters have been just as misunderstood as their candidate. Maligned by a country with liberal elites attempting to run the country from the West and East Coast, the deep red middle had other plans for the future of our great country.

Americans care about liberty and freedom. Trump unites all kinds of Americans. He brings people together by focusing on how we are all Americans. Not whatever is best for a miniscule section of the country. As Saturday Night Live put it so eloquently recently, “The dating app Tinder announced a new feature this week which gives users 37 different gender identity options. It’s called Why Democrats lost the election.”

It is amazing to see how bitterly divided our country really is in the aftermath of this historic election. Also, our political discourse has never been so rotten as we continue to talk over each other. Thankfully, our founding fathers foresaw this complex situation working itself out eventually, giving us the electoral college for protection so that all fifty states can be represented equally in Washington DC and a handful of major cities do not rule the country.

Trump won an astounding 7.5 million more votes than Clinton in 3,084 of the country’s 3,141 counties or county equivalents in the heartland of America. This edge translates to a resounding 7 point victory in those counties over Clinton, 51 percent to 44 percent.

Clinton, on the other hand, enjoyed an incredible 8.2 million vote margin on the coastal cities and five “county equivalent” cities stretching from San Diego to Seattle on the West Coast and Northern Virginia to Boston on the East Coast. Included in these liberal enclaves are 52 counties. In these counties, Clinton received 70 percent of the 18.4 million votes cast in these elite cities on the coast. To contrast, Trump only received 25 percent of the vote in these same counties. In the socialist capital of the U.S., Seattle, Washington, only 8 percent of the city voted for the Republican nominee.

In areas littered with more federal workers and contractors than others, mostly the counties in and around Washington DC, Clinton won by margins ranging from four to one to two to one. However, votes in the elite coastal counties where Clinton dominated only accounted for 14.4 percent of the almost 128 million total votes cast in the country.

America is a big country with lots of people.

Trump supporters know America has seen better days. Trump supporters realize that Obama’s uber-liberalism at home and flailing foreign policy abroad were not right for our country. Trump supporters know all too well that political correctness is eroding our society. Trump voters are confident that President-Elect Trump will in fact make America great again.

Aren’t you already feeling a little greater?

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    • profile image

      Hxprof 12 months ago from Clearwater, Florida

      Enjoyed the read.

    • planetprop profile image

      Shahnawaz 12 months ago from Bangalore

      Nice Article..

    • Bobby Shanahan profile image
      Author

      Robert Carbery 12 months ago from Seattle, WA

      Thank you both for your comments. But let’s please keep the discourse dialed in on the issues and analysis presented in this hub. Thanks!

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 12 months ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      So what's your goal here, to hijack Bobby's hub page to satisfy your personal vendetta? I've debunked so many of your loony comments, after which you always disappear without reply, you just can't stand to be shown wrong, over and over again so you attack me.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 12 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Someone with more than 150 hubs. Your comment here is proof enough of what you are contributing.

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 12 months ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Aha, who is it that is trolling this hub page not even commenting on the content but attacking a legitimate comment totally factual with false accusations and demeaning the commenter. I think it is obvious who doesn't belong here and it's not me.

      You should try actually learning something, when hub pages are even open to comments by non members of hub pages you have a lot of nerve criticizing anyone for commenting! Why can't you contribute something other than a personal attack?

      I know, it's because you know nothing you can even say without being called out for it's inaccuracy or being a blatant lie.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 12 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      DTMB: Are you ever going to write any hubs? Or are you just hear to spew your venom. Contribute or go some place else, please.

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 12 months ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Well done on your analysis.

      I have to say Hillary had no choice but to go low. She had virtually no accomplishments despite a lifetime in office (if you count first lady), a laundry list of scandals and advocacy of policies which were no better than another 4 years of Obama's and arguably the most palatable of which was killing babies as they are being born (yuck). Her only chance was to invent and/or dwell on the weaknesses of Donald Trump's persona since he had no political record of failure like she was burdened with.

      Ok, that's Hillary, we all know her and what a crime family the Clinton's are. It's no surprised she handled Trump just like she handled the Bimbo eruptions she was in charge of squelching for her "husband" (that's if you really believe their arrangement is a marriage, were she not married to Bill we wouldn't even know her name).

      But what about her party? They were fed up enough with the Clintons to dump her in 2008, how in the world did anyone in that camp think it would be a good idea to run a candidate who destroyed subpoenaed emails and compromised national security with an unauthorized email server and lied about it and Benghazi? That just doesn't add up which leads me to believe the Clintons blackmailed leadership (Obama the leader of the party) of the Democrat Party into running her or suffer the revelation of secrets Bill and Hillary have about the Democrats, all of them. It's the only thing that makes any sense and we know that is how the Clintons operate.