USA POLITICS: Why Did Hillary Clinton Lose?

Politicoscope
By Politicoscope May 11, 2017 03:00

Related Coverage You May Like


Current Political Article Highlights


Hillary Clinton faced unique circumstances, but there are lessons from these polls for the 2020 Democratic aspirants.

Continue below with the full current political topic.

USA POLITICS: Why Did Hillary Clinton Lose?

Why did Hillary Clinton lose? Everyone seems to have a theory as to why the presumptive favorite in the 2016 presidential race lost a close contest to Donald Trump. Some attribute it to FBI Director Jim Comey’s unprecedented, public intervention in the race just days before the voting. Others cite the Clinton campaign’s failure to put enough resources into blue states like Wisconsin and Michigan, which flipped to Trump red on November 8. Still others look at the failure to boost minority turnout, one that might have cost Clinton the mere 80,000 or so votes she needed to win the electoral college.

The topic is likely to be debated for years.

Already, though, a host of recent articles and studies have offered insights into the election that are worth considering even if they’re not conclusive. Let’s take a look.

It’s Not the Economy, Stupid. A new analysis of the election from The Atlantic and the Public Religion Research Institute avoids the usual emphasis on economic anxiety, instead focusing on what it calls cultural anxiety to explain the real estate mogul’s strength among voters. It found, perhaps not surprisingly, that fears about immigration—feeling like a stranger in their own country—were much stronger predictors of whether someone would vote for Trump than worries about the economy. The study also found that party loyalty counted for a lot. Despite predictions that a significant number of Republicans would break from Trump after the divisive GOP primaries and after so many prominent Republicans—from the Bush family to MItt Romney—deciding not to endorse him, party ID was highly predictive. If you were an identified Republican, white working-class voter, you were 11 times more likely to vote for Trump than if you weren’t.

The report presents a torrent of interesting statistics. More than half of the white working-class voters surveyed said they believe whites face as much discrimination as racial and ethnic minorities—a view that’s sharply at odds with college-educated Americans, of whom more than 70 percent believe racial and ethnic minorities face greater discrimination.

The bottom line: Democrats may not be able to win back these voters simply with an appealing economic message, but may have to address their concerns about immigration and the changing culture.

Black turnout dropped especially in swing states. A new study using a slew of voter data and neighborhood information suggests that the black voting rate dropped dramatically nationwide, while the white rate inched up from 2012—and that trend was accelerated in swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. (Asian and Hispanic voting increased, too.) It was enough so that Hillary Clinton would have won had it not happened.

Precisely why the black rate dropped is matter of interpretation. The left-leaning Demos institute is pointing to data that indicate the black drop-off rate was greater in states with restrictive voter ID laws that disproportionately affect minorities. We can’t be entirely sure what accounts for the dropoff in minority voting in the study itself, but any increase in white voting and decrease in minority voting is bad for Democrats. No Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of the white vote since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

It was the Comey Letter. Nate SIlver, the famed analyst behind fivethirtyeight.com, has been pointing to the dramatic effect on Clinton’s poll numbers of James Comey writing his letter to Congress essentially reopening the investigation into Clinton’s emails. Comey’s move was unprecedented, and it violated Department of Justice guidelines about making any moves that would interfere with an election. Just last week the FBI director defended his letter and his comparative silence about the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia. For her part, in her first public appearance to discuss why she lost, Clinton accepted responsibility for mistakes in her campaign, but also put the blame squarely on Comey’s intervention as well as on the release of hacked documents from her campaign distributed by Wikileaks. This week, a new report in ProPublica suggested that Comey misstated the facts he cited to support his rationale for intervening in the case. He claimed that “thousands” of classified emails ended up on the unsecure computer shared by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband at the time, former Representative Anthony Weiner. The new report suggests that the number was relatively miniscule.

Nate Cohn, an analyst at The New York Times , is raising questions about the it-was-Comey thesis, pointing to a poll that showed Clinton starting to shed support in advance of the Comey letter. Is it possible that Clinton was heading for a fall anyway? In a series of exasperated tweets, Silver contends that the data show it really was the Comey letter and that any pre-Comey dropoff in the polls was the kind of outlier data that are normally found after election—not a previously unrecognized bit of proof that Clinton was heading for a fall anyway.

Causation is always harder to prove than correlation. Knowing precisely what caused Clinton’s excruciatingly close loss to Trump in the electoral college even as she won the popular vote by a margin of more than 3 million votes will likely be debated for some time. There’s no question that missteps by the campaign and a longtime problem with her trustworthiness that was exacerbated by sloppy media coverage made Clinton more vulnerable than she should have been after the convention. The dump of purloined emails, which U.S. intelligence agencies claim was led by Russian sources, muted the effect of release of the Access Hollywood tape on which Trump is heard discussing the sexual assault of women. The Comey letter was the coup de grace that cost Clinton the election. Like a game of Clue or an Agatha Christie novel, there are countless suspects in who killed a Hillary Clinton presidency, but unlike those murder mysteries there’s really more than one actual murderer. Silver makes a compelling case that without the Comey letter she likely would have won. Clinton is right that Wikileaks also led to her loss. But it’s also true that had she run a stronger race, she might have survived those heavy blows. Autopsies in politics are seldom conclusive.

Clinton faced unique circumstances, but there are lessons from these polls for the 2020 Democratic aspirants. White working-class anxiety won’t be assuaged by a growing economy or an “economic message” alone, a la Bernie Sanders, because much of it is based on cultural anxieties about immigration, affirmative action and a sense that America has changed for the worse. And trust problems—often more fostered by GOP charges and fueled by the press—are very hard to overcome for any Democrat. In addition to Clinton they plagued presidential nominees Al Gore and John Kerry, who also came tantalizingly close to winning their races. (Kerry, it’s often forgotten, came within around 100,000 votes in Ohio of winning the presidency.) It took all of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s exceptional political skills, meanwhile, to muscle through charges about their honesty, and they were elected and re-elected because of their ability to galvanize minorities while holding on to enough white voters.

– News Week


Up Next on Politicoscope

Share this Article: "USA POLITICS: Why Did Hillary Clinton Lose?"
Since You’re Here, We Would Like to ask You for Help
There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
If everyone who reads our news content, likes it and helps to support it, we can have future guarantee to offer you with the best daily news content and other amazing features, all for free.
"I visit Politicoscope everyday to read my daily news in world politics. I'm glad it's all for free. On my part, I'm happy to donate monthly so as to continue enjoying these free content because it's actually a small amount from me compared to paid subscriptions by other news organisations. I want to help Politicoscope grow more so that I and other readers can continue to have access to free and exclusive daily online news." - Denise H., from LA, USA.
Help keep Politicoscope alive and grow stronger for you.

Donate Online Today


Politicoscope
By Politicoscope May 11, 2017 03:00

You May Also Like


Since You’re Here, We Would Like to ask You for Help

There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
If everyone who reads our news content, likes it and helps to support it, we can have future guarantee to offer you with the best daily news content and other amazing features, all for free.
"I visit Politicoscope everyday to read my daily news in world politics. I'm glad it's all for free. On my part, I'm happy to donate monthly so as to continue enjoying these free content because it's actually a small amount from me compared to paid subscriptions by other news organisations. I want to help Politicoscope grow more so that I and other readers can continue to have access to free and exclusive daily online news." - Denise H., from LA, USA.
Help keep Politicoscope alive and grow stronger for you.

What's on Your Mind?