The Epic Nature of Hillary’s Collapse
by Michael Tracey
New York Daily News (November 12 2016)
Most devastating electoral defeats in United States history at least had some mitigating circumstances. In 1984, Walter Mondale got blown out by Ronald Reagan, a popular incumbent President presiding over an improving economy. Barry Goldwater lost the 1964 election by a large margin, but his opponent was another incumbent President with extensive resources to marshal.
Hillary Clinton’s stunning collapse is different. It’s hard to think of a historical analog that could come close to resembling the magnitude and depth of the failure. She had a popular incumbent President campaigning for her furiously; the popular First Lady did likewise. The economy is far healthier than it was eight or even four years ago.
The elite media almost universally loathed her rival – a conformity of opinion that we’ve never seen before in modern American politics. Wall Street was 99% behind her. The polling industry put out a constant deluge of bogus data pronouncing Donald Trump’s certain defeat.
With all these massive advantages, Hillary still somehow managed to lose to the guy from “The Apprentice”, a political novice who said and did things we were constantly told were outrageous and dangerous, and some of which actually were irresponsible.
It’s staggering, and could well be the most remarkable electoral implosion of all time.
On Election Day, Hillary’s much-touted “ground game” was missing in action (“MIA”), despite months of media bloviating about her organization being second-to-none. Remember when Trump was supposedly doomed because he didn’t hire enough professional operatives to run get-out-the-vote efforts? It turned out to be just another phony pundit talking point.
It was likely Trump who ended up having a superior ground game: He ran up stunning numbers in places like Southeastern Ohio and Northeastern Pennsylvania. In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Trump improved on Romney’s 2012 vote total by a whopping 34%. It should come as no surprise that Trump held multiple huge rollicking rallies in the area, and the tactic – long derided by media know-it-alls – paid off. He won Pennsylvania by one percent.
Clinton partisans were in denial about the true breadth of Hillary’s electoral liabilities. Throughout the Democratic primary process earlier this year, they ignored that the FBI’s criminal investigation into her official conduct as Secretary of State would be politically salient. They chastised anyone who brought up the specter of Clinton Foundation scandals, which also erupted down the home stretch and damaged her standing with voters.
By the end of the campaign, Hillary and Trump were equally despised. It’s in keeping with a trend that bedeviled her from the beginning: The more she is in the public eye, the more the American people tend to disdain her.
Maybe that’s why, instead of going out on the campaign trail over the summer, she opted to hobnob at wealthy donor confabs on Martha’s Vineyard and in the Hamptons.
In their arrogance, Clinton operatives projected that a “demographic firewall” would propel her to victory no matter what. But this was yet another boneheaded assumption. Obliterating conventional wisdom, Trump outperformed Mitt Romney among black and Hispanic voters – at least if you believe exit polls. (If you had suggested that might be the case several months ago, you’d have been denounced as a total lunatic.)
Meanwhile, Hillary’s support among black voters, who were long heralded by the media as her most reliable base, plummeted – paving the way for Trump to secure unbelievable upsets in Wisconsin and Michigan.
The Clinton loyalist crowd will try to blame anyone else for the failure: Bernie Sanders, James Comey, the media, Vladimir Putin, and on and on. But the crux of the failure lies with Hillary herself.
Maybe that’s why Hillary’s top aide, Cheryl Mills, did not want her to run at all. Mills apparently knew that the unsanctioned private email server issue was more damning than initially met the eye, and could bring her down.
Notwithstanding this, due to a combination of hubris, ego and gall, Hillary ran anyway. She and her loyalists, convinced with a faith-based devotion that she was the only person for the job, stifled a genuine populist insurgent in Sanders, and then ran a tin-eared general election campaign whose principal message was little more than “Trump is bad”.
They blew it, big league.
Tracey is a writer and researcher in New York.