WASHINGTON, June 1, 2017 ⏤ Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lost the election. She casts around to pin the blame, but she did it herself.
In an interview Wednesday, Clinton continued to lay blame elsewhere. She said that her (illegal) handling of her emails was a “nothing burger.” The real nothing burger was her campaign.
She lost the 2016 presidential election for two reasons having nothing to do with anyone else:
- She did not have a positive message; she ran a negative “not Trump” campaign.
- Rather than emphasizing positive actions that she would undertake as president, she promised to continue the increasingly unpopular policies of the Obama administration.
American voters, many of whom she labeled “deplorable,” believed that the eight years of the Obama administration had sent the country in the wrong direction as the once powerful U.S. economy stagnated. President Obama was the first American president to serve an entire term in office without seeing economic growth reach at least three percent for at least one year.
The Great Recession put a record number of Americans on government assistance through enhanced unemployment, welfare and food stamp programs. The nation’s growth rate under Obama barely exceeded the rate of population growth. That meant there was little opportunity for American workers, a problem exacerbated by Obama’s effectively open borders policies.
College graduates who might have once chosen between competing job offers upon receiving their diplomas were lucky to get even one. They often got part-time jobs with minimal pay.
Some experts argued that college degrees were no longer worth the cost; in many cases they offered negative returns on investment.
Internationally, the foreign policy “reset” pursued by Obama and his first Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a disaster. In almost every country⏤Iraq, Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Libya⏤their policies made things worse, sometimes tragically.
Clinton lost because she had no positive message. She took for granted victory in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, so didn’t campaign much in them. In Wisconsin, she didn’t bother to campaign at all.
After eight years of the Obama administration’s costly, failed policies, American voters wanted a change. Donald Trump, with all of his imperfections and political inexperience, was far more appealing to voters and directly addressed their concerns on the campaign trail.
Instead of putting other countries’ interests ahead of American interests, Trump emphasized a robust “America First” approach to governing. Instead of putting the needs of the few ahead of the needs of the many, Trump promised to re-establish American traditions of patriotism and hard work.
Trump said he would repeal the already downward-spiraling Obamacare legislation that helped 20 million Americans but damaged 250 million. Instead of continuing an economic policy that redistributes income away from people who earn it and toward people who don’t, Trump promised to restore growth to the American economy so every able-bodied American could earn enough to support themselves.
Trump’s approach resonated with the voters in America’s heartland leading to his surprising electoral college victory. Clinton campaigned as if her victory were in the bag. It wasn’t. Now she has mounted a “Resistance” campaign to absolve herself of any blame for her own stunning loss. She continues her longtime habit of refusing to look in the mirror. Instead, she searches for or invents excuses and seeks others to blame for her defeat.
The truth is that average Americans did not trust her. Whether she is eventually prosecuted or not, she broke the law when, as Secretary of State, she used an unsecured email server, which eventually held thousands of documents. Many were classified “secret” or above, and none should have ever resided anywhere but on federal government servers. Her private server, as we now know, was hacked by at least five foreign governments.
FBI Director James Comey ultimately advised against prosecuting Clinton for her violations of federal law, preempting the Justice Department to announce the decision. Comey said he did not see intent in Hillary’s actions, but the law does not require intent.
This gross negligence by a government official in handling classified material allowed that material to end up in the hands of foreign countries. It is highly unusual that it was not prosecuted. The entire episode is quite far from being a “nothing burger.”
Since November, Clinton has resolutely blamed the press, the Russians, the FBI, the Democratic National Committee, the Obama administration, Cambridge Analytica and content farms in Macedonia for her defeat. She steadfastly refuses to take the blame herself.
There is a developing pattern whereby losing Democratic presidential candidates place the blame for their loss anywhere but upon themselves. In 2000, Al Gore blamed the “hanging chads” in Florida for his loss to George W. Bush. In 2004 losing Democrat John Kerry blamed “proxies” for President Bush for allegedly rigging many voting machines. Today, Hillary is following in that tradition.
Gore, Kerry and Clinton lost because they had the wrong message for American voters. All three should accept their losses as Republican candidates Romney (2012), McCain (2008) and Dole (1996) did after theirs. But, clinging to a sense of historical and party entitlement and inevitability, these Democrats simply cannot.
It is difficult to watch Hillary Clinton continue with her endless blame game of excuses. Instead of facing reality, Clinton takes a delusional view of her defeat. Sad.
*Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with LegalInsurrection.