President-elect Donald Trump’s stunning victory Tuesday night has sent terror into the ranks of Democrats, liberals, the Washington bureaucracy, sanctuary cities, proponents of Obamacare, illegal immigrants, ISIS, Russia, China, on and on. Hillary Clinton allies are not only in shock, many are now fearful for their futures.
Clinton allies were blaming one another over the election of the generations. Even before the former Secretary of State took the stage at the New Yorker Hotel ballroom, those around her were casting blame on one another, the political climate, their analytics, even the damaged candidate they had chosen to lead their party.
A sampling of the frustration was a comment by a Hillary aide; “It was a mismanaged campaign from the start, 150 percent. There was so much stuff that needed fixing. I thought we might have learned some lessons from the primary, but as you can tell from last night, probably not.”
The jubilant scene at the post-election results party at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York turned from mad laughter and confidence to a scene from a sad and grieving funeral. The operative word was incredulous. The crowd wondered how they could have lost so badly, why they didn’t see it coming, and how the Democrat could have lost to Trump. How could a majority of the national polls have been so wrong?
The understatement of the night was one nameless Hillary aide who said the poor sampling models and analytics that the campaign was so reliant on failed miserably. The traditional tracking polls for the last month were inaccurate. The aide pointed to an arrogance that came from the top.
So what did happen?
Hillary didn’t pay enough time in Michigan where Bernie Sanders had defeated her in the primaries. Michigan put Trump over the top Tuesday night. Another understatement came from a Clinton friend, “We underestimated the Midwest.” That’s code for Hillary had great disdain for white, working class Americans she had previously called “the deplorable Trump supporters.”
Clinton lost Wisconsin. She was the first Democrat to lose the state since 1984, and the first since 1988 to lose Michigan and Pennsylvania. A Clinton friend said, “I don’t think we ever understood the political climate there. I know some are questioning why we never went there in the final days.” Wisconsin represented the broader point that there was a disregard for that part of the country.
Then there was the daily news about Clinton scandals, the FBI and her high negatives for trustworthiness. The campaign was haunted by the looming controversies surrounding Clinton’s use of private email during her time at the State Department and potential conflicts of interest with the Clinton Foundation.
Two other controversies in October tripped the election to Trump. One was the re-examination of Clinton’s emails, found on a laptop owned by aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner. That alone took the momentum out of the campaign like a pin popping a balloon. Trump never looked back, although the left-leaning media blamed FBI Director James Comey, who had been their hero the day before the announcement.
Secondly, the constant leaking of her campaign chairman’s hacked emails by WikiLeaks caused a major distraction. Instead of explanation, apologies or any form of communication with the voting electorate, the campaign and the media chose to ignore this huge trust issue. That failure can be attributed to her campaign chairman John Podesta.
Those were the major issues, but the Clinton campaign didn’t grasp the huge significance of voter anger related to the Brexit vote in Britain that removed them from the European Union. The world was changing quickly to conservatism and the Hillary campaign was promising more free things from the government. Her campaign’s traditional liberal approach played right into Trump’s message of “Make America Great Again.”
Trump gave the growing movement the Hillary campaign ignored; a voice and a leader. The utter bewilderment of the Clinton campaign was provided in Hillary’s concession speech. She expressed regret for not making the finish line. She said, “This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country. But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together.”
Hillary miscalculated the mood of the electorate. They did not want more of the same, and what she really missed was the intelligence of the American people who were crying out for real change. Donald Trump outplayed her from the start, and Hillary thought he was nothing more than a carnival act. Wrong.