Written by: George Burns III
That’s the question that a lot of us are asking… Why did Hillary lose the election? Most pollsters lead us to believe that Hillary was going to win the election by a very comfortable margin in the Electoral College, only to leave us disillusioned on election night. I cannot stop thinking about why we all were lead to believe that Hillary would finally plow through that highest glass ceiling, and then about how disappointed I was 18when I woke up last Wednesday morning.
I have seen a Clinton Campaign “post-mortem” from just about every major news outlet, and I’ve managed to not read a single one. I really do not want to hear why everyone else thinks she did not win, because then I have to deal with reality. Well, as much as I resist it, I need to face reality. I need to figure out what Hillary and the Democrats did, and why those event lead us to where we are today.
Many have reacted to the election by saying that selecting Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for President, by an almost de facto process, that the party shot themselves in the foot from the beginning. While many Democrats believe Hillary to be a fantastic candidate, and more than qualified to be President, she had many things working against her from day one. Add to that the number of Bernie supporters who felt like Bernie was cut out of the process and denied a true shot at the candidacy, and the numbers really do start to add up.
First of all, traditionally, Americans tend to dislike anything that is viewed as a political dynasty. Further, whether you want to admit it or not, Hillary came at this contest with a sense of entitlement that, honestly, she needed to drop. Remember Al Gore anyone? He was guilty of the same air of entitlement, and, ironically, the same election result.
The American electorate wants to see someone prove to the public that they are qualified for the job, not hear someone who believes that compared to their opponent, there is no comparison in quality. Secretary Clinton’s experience in public policy, in the legislature, as a former First Lady, and as an executive with the Clinton Foundation (which we will touch on again) should more than qualify her for office. So, with all of that experience, how did she have such a hard time proving her worth?
Well, that’s a complicated question. First of all, this election has shown us that the majority of American treated this election as an impetus for change. Hillary presented an extension of the Obama Administration, whereas Donald Trump showed us that he wants to change, basically, everything. At times it appeared that Mr. Trump was for change solely despite Hillary. Mr. Trump’s internal polling, obviously, was asking the right questions to tap into the true desires of the American electorate.
Beyond policies that did not seem to resonate enough with the electorate, parts of her campaign were, really, just bad. Mr. Trump made a few fantastic points to this end, specifically when he compared his daily schedule to hers. Trump’s daily campaign schedule often had him in several states, leading multiple rallies each day, giving multiple speeches, and shaking countless hands. Hillary’s schedule usually had her at one event per day, and the rest of her day was spent in meetings.
Next, look at Wisconsin as an example; her campaign took their anticipated “blue firewall” for granted, and after Primary season ended, they never stepped foot back in the State of Wisconsin. Yet, their path to an electoral win depended on all of Wisconsin’s electoral votes going for Hillary. Think about it, this campaign season was LONG – it seemed to drag on forever. During that time, Hillary wasn’t able to make it to Wisconsin, a state practically in the center of the country. She flew over it countless times, but, never made a stop, and that seems like a very obvious missed opportunity.
Now, let’s look at a more obvious weakness in Hillary’s campaign – Most people simple do not trust her. Something about her caused people to question a lot of what she said, even when the facts were on her side. And to add to it, I have one word – Emails. AHHHH… even just SAYING it makes me cringe. I mean, come on…. I’ve worked in a regulated industry for more than a decade, and even I know that I confidential information needs to be stored and transmitted in very specific ways, and we do not even deal in State secrets! Where I differ from most, however, is that I believe she did make an effort to keep confidential information contained, but when you occupy public office, everything you do is under the country’s largest microscope (often called Congress), and every decision and practice will be under scrutiny. Even in my industry, I would never chose to run my own server for my own convenience. And, if my boss asked me to set that up for him, it would be my job to explain to him why that would not be an appropriate course of action. Executives ask for everything (read, EVERYTHING), and it is the job of a responsible advisor to provide them with information that either properly support to challenge those requests.
Keeping with the theme of trust, we need to touch on the Clinton Foundation. Using the same argument, every interaction, transaction and opportunity that the Clinton Foundation experienced would, knowingly, be under the highest of scrutiny. There is no denying that the Clinton family is one of considerable influence, but the family seems to almost ignore that, at least publically. They know that they are powerful, and everyone knows that money talks, so when your organization is accepting million-dollar plus donations from foreign countries, companies and officials, most people are going to assume at least a casual connection between the two.
How should the Clinton family have handled the business of the Clinton Foundation? Placing the foundation into a blind trust is the first idea that comes to mind. Having Hillary, and possibly Bill and Chelsea, step away from the board and any other positions within the organization, also would seem to have quelled the level of public outrage. Altogether, this seems like a glaring omission in planning by the Campaign; one that ultimately could have been a non-issue, in my opinion.
In the end, the Clinton Campaign really failed to tap into the true wants and desires of the American public. Looking back, a lot of the campaign really felt complacent to me. Maybe I should take a deeper look back, and make a list of specific things that I would have done differently if I were in her position. Hmmm…… that’s not a bad idea.