WARNING (No really. It’s a warning.): IF YOU ARE A LOYAL HILLARY SUPPORTER AND BELIEVED THAT SHE ONLY LOST THE ELECTION DUE TO NO FAULT OF HER CAMPAIGN OR HER OWN CONDUCT, AND WAS SOLEY A VICTIM OF MISOGYNY AND PREJUDICE AGAINST HER, PLEASE PASS OVER THIS POST. TRUST ME. DON’T READ IT. REALLY. YOU WON’T LIKE IT.
Since about 1 am on Wednesday morning I’ve been imbibing a remarkable volume of adult beverages and raging at anyone who’ll listen, including Juanita Jean, about the injustice of it all. She has told me to get it off my chest, so here we go, like it or not. I’m wandering into a political minefield here, because I have things to say about Hillary, her campaign, and why I believe she lost the 2016 electoral vote to the worst candidate for the presidency in US history. And if you believe I’m a misogynist, you can stick that right where the sun don’t shine. It ain’t so; I calls ’em as I sees ’em, and chromosome differences don’t count. All comments making that accusation will be deleted, no arguments. My advice in advance about this piece: Don’t like it? Don’t read it.
All that said, a few facts about me:
- I’m a progressive, but not a Democratic party loyalist.
- I support candidates I believe can win, and refuse to support those who I believe are losers.
- I believe the DNC and Texas Democratic Party is in rigor mortise with a fossilized leadership that has supported the same old, same old, for decades. A cynic would say they do that to line their own pockets, but I won’t make that accusation. I will say, however, that they do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. A top to bottom house cleaning is due in DC, as well as in state and local parties. After the purge, a heavy application of disinfectant would be appropriate to avoid re-infestation.
- Lastly, to reiterate, I don’t care what people think, and will speak my mind, like it or not.
Now, to the campaign. I opposed Hillary Clinton’s run for president from the very first moment. In 2008, I supported Barack Obama, and thought Hillary was a terrible candidate for President then, and felt more strongly about that when she decided to run again for 2016 especially in light of the email nonsense. Notice I didn’t say unqualified; I said terrible candidate. While very experienced and a dedicated public servant, she carries tons of baggage. That baggage may or may not be fair, but it is baggage nonetheless. Going further, let’s be blunt – the Clintons have lived on the edge of ethical limits for decades. She also has a less than compelling campaign presence, a key to success for any office, much less President of the United States. You can dispute that and call me stupid, but the evidence is compelling.
The obvious issues with Hillary were these:
- Emails: The damage concerning her email was 100% self inflicted. Despite all the prevaricating, she set up the private server for one reason and one reason only…to avoid public scrutiny. C’mon, we all know that, so don’t even try. She arrogantly ignored the efforts of the Obama administration toward transparency, and, against contrary advice, put her email on the former president’s server. She didn’t want to be “inconvenienced” with multiple email accounts (like the rest of the developed world). It was stupid, and her staff enabled that stupidity. Were it not for the email controversy, Hillary would likely be President Elect tonight, despite all the other nonsense surrounding Clinton World.
- The Clinton Foundation Pay to Play: This one is more subtle, but no less compelling. It’s clear to everyone but the most loyal supporter that they used foundation fund raising as a tool for access to Hillary and Bill. Again, c’mon. Anyone who’s been around foundation work by by public figures understands that this is just simple fact. To deny that fact is to ignore reality.
- Secretiveness: This one is especially prickly and a vicious circle. Bill and Hillary have been targets of wild conspiracy theories for decades, fueled by behavior like in the two points above. Because of the conspiracy theories, Hillary is very secretive and keeps a small, tight group around her. Because she’s secretive, she does stupid things like keeping a private email server that causes conspiracy theorists to…you get the point.
- Presence: Hillary has a weak public presence. I’ve been around her a couple of times (at high dollar donor events), and she’s personally charming while talking to party insiders and big donors. When it comes to connecting to the masses, however… er, uh, not so much. Don’t get pissed about this, especially since she admits this weakness. Connecting with voters is the lifeblood of a candidate, and she’s anemic in the inspiration department except to radical loyalists.
- Machine Politics: Hillary and Bill are traditional machine politicians whose positions evolve according to traditional polling. Because of this, she has a reputation for flip-flopping, switching her positions according to audience and politics. Yes, yes, a lot of politicians do the same, but Hillary has raised the skill to an art form.
- Zippergate: Directly unrelated to Hillary’s run; however, her vicious attacks on Bill’s accusers were used against her in this campaign. Fair or not, it opened her to broad criticism. Just sayin’.
- The FBI: Clearly, operatives within the FBI intentionally leaked information to the press about Hillary, and one could say, with strong evidence, that Comey intentionally issued his letter to Congress 11 days before the election to intentionally damage her. Termed Trumpland, the FBI seemed to clearly oppose a presidency by Hillary.
None of these weaknesses in isolation is a huge problem, but roll them all up? The bundle simply represents a fatal flaw in Hillary’s image obvious to everyone except loyalists. Period. Despite these obvious weaknesses, though, the big story in 2016 was massive disillusionment in the heartland that everyone, including pollsters, the media, and Clinton World missed. The white middle class, after post-war decades of rising prosperity, was abandoned in the ’70s and ’80s by conservative trickle-down economics and stagnating wages that has continued to today. The middle class dream of a home and an education became a cruel joke under increasingly conservative political leadership.
In the 1990s, the Democratic party was overtaken by neo-liberals (the Clintons), and the working class continued to become an increasingly disenfranchised segment of America. This disenfranchisement gradually lured the middle class into voting against their own interest by responding to demagogic rhetoric intended to divide the white working class from those considered as “other”; immigrants, Muslims, and African Americans. It worked, better than conservative operatives ever imagined. The tragedy, though, was that neo-liberals tried to hang onto influence by abandoning policies that supported the working class, advocating corporate friendly policy that benefited the elite class at the cost of everyday folks. It worked, and, combined with the after effects of the Civil Rights Act, the decline of the Democratic Party began, even as it tried to morph into GOP-Lite. Bill and Hillary were on the leading edge of this movement, followed by the Democratic establishment, abandoning the very constituents they claimed to champion. Let’s be blunt about this fact: Hillary’s positions, especially before Bernie Sanders pulled her to the left, are essentially those of an Eisenhower Republican.
The Shock that Few Saw: Conventional wisdom said that Trump (Cheeto Jesus) was a loser. Even Republicans abandoned him, fearing backlash from his outrageous rhetoric and tweet storms. What they didn’t calculate, though, were his celebrity, and that the middle of America had had enough. Cheeto Jesus, a career carnival barker, spoke to them on the level to which they responded and no one in the establishment, especially Hillary World, could counter. To make matters worse, his followers distrust the establishment and every part of the government even to the extent of refusing to talk to pollsters. They chose to follow a man who admitted to sexual harassment, shouted racial and religious slurs, and made a career of stiffing banks, investors, and contractors for his own personal gain. The more outrageous his behavior, the more he endeared himself to a broad base of disaffected Americans. Even though the GOP had essentially created and fed this problem for over 30 years, they have generally been the beneficiaries of this tactic except for the 2008 and 2012 Presidential cycle. Cheeto Jesus played supporters like one giant Stradivarius.
Cheeto Jesus blew the whole thing up, and Hillary fell to a populist uprising. Yeah, yeah, yeah, she got the popular vote (thanks to turnout in big cities) but she lost the electoral vote, which is the only vote that counts. Would Bernie have done better? Maybe, but we’ll never know, since he was crippled early on by Hillary operatives who had been embedded in the DNC for years (the subject of a future rant). I continue to believe, had not Biden been scared off by the big Hillary wall erected against him, could have beaten Cheeto Jesus, due to his own populist appeal that Hillary certainly lacked.
By now, if they got through this post, Hillary loyalists will be seething and shouting “Nuh Uh” into their computer screens and furiously typing rebuttals in the comments section. But, facts is facts. Hillary, despite her obvious technocrat qualifications for this job, was a terrible choice as the Democratic candidate. Terrible. No, it’s not fair, and yes, it’s a missed opportunity for us to have the first woman President. In the end, though, there are two irrefutable facts:
Politics ain’t beanbag, and life’s not fair.