Many of us have yet to recover from the shock that Cheeto Jesus, the singularly worst candidate to ever run for President, beat a clearly more qualified Hillary Clinton last week. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get she got more votes, but that fact, along with $3.65, will get you a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks). I did my first post mortem using my own observations, but stories are now leaking out from the inside about clear failures on the part of Hillary World to recognized clear signs that her margin in the midwest was fading fast in the last weeks of the campaign. Sam Stein published a piece yesterday about that very thing, where state operatives used the term “arrogance” to describe Hillary’s senior staff for their belief that she had Wisconsin and Michigan in the bag. They refused to fund paid canvassers in those states, and indeed she had only 10% of the number of canvassers in Michigan that John Kerry had there in 2004. She lost Michigan by 12,000 votes and turnout in Flint alone was down 26,000 voters from Obama voters in 2012.
Wisconsin was similar. Hillary didn’t campaign there, nor did any of her big surrogates besides Chelsea. The campaign assumed they had the state in the bag, and didn’t take the threat of low voter turnout seriously. She lost Wisconsin by around 70,000 votes.
Stein put the miscalculation of the Clinton campaign this way:
The more universal explanation, however, was that the data that informed many of the strategic decisions was simply wrong. A campaign that is given a game plan that strongly points to success shouldn’t be expected to rip it up.
“We all were blinded, and even at the end, we were blinded by our own set of biases,” said Paul Maslin, a Madison-based Democratic operative and pollster.
Back in September, Glenn Thrush called it in a post for Politico about how Hillary was blowing it. His words were prescient. In that article he said,
“Which just goes to show: No one — not the bullpen of the New York Mets, not the French army, not Wile E. Coyote, not even Al Gore — is better at squandering a commanding lead than the Queen of Coasting, Hillary Rodham Clinton. [emphasis mine] And nobody is better at handing her adversaries talking points to undermine trust, on emails, on the Clinton Foundation, on her own refusal to do something as simple as talking to the reporters who cover her every day.”
The lesson here, I believe, is that a candidate should take nothing for granted. And, they need to fight every battle all the way to election day. Polls are never 100%, and should be viewed with skepticism, especially against a candidate that was so far out of the norm as Cheeto Jesus.
Was this a tough campaign where even the Russians tried to interfere with the election? Certainly. Did the FBI interfere? You bet. Does this and other attacks let her off the hook?
Most certainly not. She blew it.