Back in November, 2012, I wrote a couple of election post-mortem columns for my local paper, trying to help the Republican Party regroup and do a better job of attracting voters in 2016. Funnily enough, Republicans also performed a painful self-autopsy and arrived at the same basic conclusion, that they must try to be more inclusive in their policies to attract minorities, immigrants, young voters, and women to their cause.
Donald Trump ignored our scholarly counsel, tightly targeted white males with his campaign, and won the presidency. So the question now on everybody's lips is: "How, on God's green earth, did that happen?" And yes, that's no mere paraphrase, but a direct quote from absolutely everybody, on both sides.
Sure, every pundit and Bob, your uncle, has weighed-in on this, but these election post-mortems are near-sacred rituals and since we're facing harrowing political headwinds, we all need to dearly embrace our established and revered cultural traditions, such as this.
Obviously, one of the reasons Hillary Clinton lost this election was her danged emails. The media gave that story much longer legs and greater gravitas than it rightfully deserved. Why? Since Trump was screwing up anew, every day, and Hillary wasn't, reporters may have felt they needed to add a dash of false equivalence to their articles for "balance."
FBI Director James Comey's highly inappropriate October 28th pronouncement that the Clinton email inquiry would be reopened caused Hillary's national polls to fall from a 6% lead to less than 3% within days of the election. It immediately let the air out of Clinton's campaign balloon and it blew directly into Trump's sails, perhaps, as planned.
The polls played a major role for many people, in deciding whether or not to get up off their keisters and go out to vote. Hillary has it all wrapped up, right? Why bother? Well, now you know why.
We'll never know how many citizens wanted to vote, but couldn't because of the lack of "proper" ID, the reduction in the number of polling places in minority precincts, they were purged from the voter rolls, or were just plain intimidated away. We may never know what effect Republican voter-suppression tactics had on this election, but rest assured we can all look forward to a vast expansion as the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice take a hard right turn under President Trump.
There are many more points to cover, like the grand ascendancy of belief over facts in America; still-angry, self-immolating Bernie supporters; phony internet news sites; Russian meddling; the Electoral College; hate; fear; and the complicity of the gutless news media, neglecting their sacred duty to the public by not continually calling-out Trump's incessant lies, position conflicts, and lack of substance for the sake of ratings (money) and the very real fear he would deny them access. Admittedly, informational speeches outlining Hillary's plans, though pertinent, were boring.
But the main problem was that Hillary handed the working man's vote to Trump. She needed to make sure they knew her plans, however boring, for infrastructure, healthcare, and clean-energy jobs, and that the Democratic Party is their party. She should have focused on the workers left behind by globalization and technology because America's slowly-rising economic tide has not lifted all boats. Trump talked directly to those sitting in sunken boats and promised them the moon and stars while Hillary focused on how utterly unfit Trump was for the presidency. In the end, many people believed change, however irrational, was more important to them than an unfit president.