Clinton failure was preventable

Tyler Mortimore, tmortimore@lmcexperience.com

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“For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”
This was Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s bold prediction in July. Those moderates, sickened by the boorish bigotry of Trump, would rush out to vote for the Democrat they’ve spent three decades loathing.
This moronic plan — which would only provide a pyrrhic victory for a would-be President Hillary Clinton before sinking her in 2020 — blew up in Democrats’ faces four years earlier than expected.
Clinton’s loss might go down as the most preventable defeat in modern presidential history, with Clinton managing to lose about four million of the votes President Obama won in 2012.
There are many reasons why she lost, but two follies stick out in particular — her decision to ignore the white working class voters who twice helped elect Obama and her failure to motivate black and Latino voters.
In 2012, Obama released a series of powerful ads regarding Romney’s dealings with Bain Capital and resulting devastation.
They featured interviews with white male boomers who lost their jobs and had their pensions stolen to pay for Romney’s car elevator. According to the New York Times, Bill Clinton suggested the 2016 Clinton campaign target these voters, but campaign staffers laughed him off. Clinton would go on to lose Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by a total of about 100,000 votes.
Liberal pundits have waved off this criticism, saying Clinton shouldn’t have reached out to racists. But ignoring a demographic majority is nothing but a plan for failure when competing in electoral politics.
“We have to compete everywhere,,” said Obama after the election. “The key for us… is to say your concerns are real.”
Which is to say, Democrats don’t have to return to the dog whistle racism of the Clinton era, but they do have to appeal to the working class, white and otherwise. Clinton’s economic proposals were in many cases better than Trump’s, but, as voters proved, being better than the worst isn’t exactly appealing, and this showed in her strategy with minority voters.
Clinton believed she could appeal to non-white voters with a blasé anti-racism platform. She did this while telling voters how noble past Republicans were, and how aberrational Trump is. She did this while video of her calling black boys “super predators” was shared on social media. And she did this while not offering much in the way of economic flair.
This is what sunk her — running against bigotry she once promoted while pushing vanilla economic policies to a working class who still aren’t up and running after a historic depression.
America has a fascination with non-establishment candidates, and Democrats chose the most establishment candidate in history to run against one.
Democrats have to reckon with a (shrinking) white majorit if they want to win elections over the next couple decades. They can still have a robust anti-racism platform, just like they can support marriage equality while courting more conservative black and Latino voters, but if you write off the vote of everyone with personal biases, you’d end up with fewer votes than the Green Party.
Democrats need to start protecting the working class again — workers of all races. It’s time for Democrats to earn back those white blue collar votes in Pennsylvania and to give black women in Milwaukee something to vote for, not just someone to vote against.
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