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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/12/16

Hillary Deserves Her Fair Share of Blame for Losing Decisively in the Electoral College

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) November 12, 2016: Make no mistake about it, the 2016 presidential election was a referendum on so-called "second wave" feminism that emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s that ushered in decades of so-called "political correctness."

Both as a contender in the Republican presidential primary contests and then as the Republican Party's 2016 presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump's major strategy was to assault the spirit of "political correctness." In addition, he made out-sized promises -- and threats -- as further assaults on the spirit of "political correctness." Each assault was reported by the media, thereby giving him an enormous amount of unpaid-for-publicity.

For her part, Hillary Rodham Clinton decided to run for president even though she knew that she was not a charismatic speaker, as former President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama are. In the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, then-Senator Barack Obama demonstrated by a reasonable doubt that he was a charismatic speaker. As a result of her loss to him then, she should have learned that she is not a charismatic speaker. Perhaps she was betting that the Republican Party's 2016 presidential candidate would not turn out to be a charismatic speaker either.

In any event, Trump emerged as the Republican Party's 2016 presidential candidate, and he is not a charismatic speaker. As noted, his major campaign strategy was to repeatedly assault the spirit of "political correctness."

Hillary's strategy was to express indignation at his various hyperbolic assaults on the spirit of "political correctness." Talk about taking the bait!

No doubt Hillary's expressions of indignation at the hyperbolic statements with which Trump successfully baited her into replying to, appealed to the Democratic Party's feminist base. However, by taking Trump's bait and expressing indignation repeatedly, she was preaching to the already converted feminists in the Democratic Party's base. But what was her message to non-feminists who do not necessarily subscribe to all of the attitudes and views advanced by the spirit of "political correctness"?

For the record, both white men and white women voted for Trump, including both white men and white women in crucial battleground states that Obama had carried in 2008 and 2012.

In light of Trump's success in winning several battleground states by turning them from blue to red, Hillary should also reflect on why she did not learn anything, evidently, from Senator Bernie Sanders' successes in the Democratic presidential primary.

However, in early contests in the Democratic presidential primary, Senator Sanders himself declined to compete against Hillary in the South. This shows that he understood full well that he appealed primarily to white people, just as Hillary understood full well that she is not a charismatic speaker. This also shows that Senator Sanders would not have been as strong a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party as Hillary was.

Now, if we assume that Hillary herself made the calls in her own campaign, then we should wonder about her campaign's misadventures in fantasizing about Arizona (wouldn't a big landslide victory over Trump be great?), for example, toward the end of the campaign, while Trump was in the process of turning key battleground states from blue to red. Toward the end, her campaign made some serious tactical mistakes, and as a result, she lost decisively in the Electoral College, which is part of the system of checks and balances in our federal government.

In light of Trump's decisive victory in the Electoral College, despite the fact that he also is not a charismatic speaker, and despite receiving fewer votes in winning in 2016 that former Governor Mitt Romney received in losing in 2012, I would say that Trump succeeded spectacularly in turning the 2016 presidential election into a referendum on the spirit of "second wave" feminists such as Hillary, and he managed to appeal to enough white women voters in crucial battleground states to turn it into a victorious election for him in the Electoral College. (As I write, Hillary has a small lead over Trump in the popular vote. As expected, she won in non-battleground blue states.)

No doubt Hillary's 2016 candidacy was motivated by the fantasy of being the first woman to be elected president of the United States -- despite her handicap of not being a charismatic speaker. No doubt another woman will eventually be elected president in the future.


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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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