The election is over and the Monday Morning quarterbacking begins. When all is said and we look at the results, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and lost the election in the electoral college.
The final results were as follows: Hillary Clinton lost and Donald Trump won, the Democrats picked up 2 seats in the Senate and at this point of the process, they have picked up 6 seats in the House of Representatives. Republicans picked up 3 Governorships.
The results are a reflection on how divided our country is. Let us look for a moment at the numbers within the numbers. For the talking heads on Tuesday they were shocked and surprised at the results, but the results should not have come as a shock to anyone who was paying attention. The rust belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania told the story. Donald Trump was genius in recognizing the opportunity that these states offered him in his quest for the Presidency.
Her failure was not to solidify her base and to virtually ignore them. It has been reported that her husband wanted the campaign to make it more about the economy and to talk to the people who he so understands. He was not called Bubba for nothing. They should have listened to his advise. He did win two elections after all. Instead it was as if they looked down upon the supporters of Trump in some elitist way, as if somehow they were superior. The fact is each vote counts no matter who is voting.
Hillary Clinton made a fatal mistake in ignoring the serious concerns of those individuals in America who do not live in the cities and in the suburbs of our major cities. The people who lived in the cities were already the converted, a friendly audience that she continually worked to try to increase turnout in her expected victory. But quite frankly, she forgot one of the basic tenets of any campaign and that it is the economy stupid. Of all people, Hillary and her staff should have been aware of this clear and unmistakable error, because it was Bill Clinton who once coined that phrase.
A major clue for her potential loss in these rust belt states is the fact that Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan have Republican governors. Hillary took these states for granted. The fact that these states have Republican Governors indicates that there could be a majority of the state that will not agree with her on policy.
Each state has a large portion of the electorate share in the commonality of having a great deal of economic insecurity. The economic recovery that the rest of the nation might be experiencing is not being felt in the hamlets, towns and small cities of the red portions of these states. If I might say the campaign was tone deaf to the heart felt concerns that the people in the red portions of these states have. You can not expect to win many elections if you just ignore a good portion of the state’s population. These Americans have seen their jobs flee to other countries, they have seen their jobs replaced by robots. They have seen company towns that depended on one company for their incomes and financial support go out of business.
We are watching a shift in the electorate. Trump took advantage of Hillary’s lack of communicating enough about the economy to win in state’s that should have been part of her base.
Another major mistake that the Hillary campaign made that lot of her message was spent on attacking Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton needed to concentrate more on why people should vote for her rather than why people should not vote for Trump. Her political ads were all about increasing the negatives regarding Donald Trump.
Harry Truman when he was running from behind in 1948 decided to go on a whistle stop tour of America on a train, to see the not so often seen parts of America and to connect with the voter by showing people that he was just a plain spoken guy. His campaign was a success and he won in an upset. George Bush senior won an election despite running as a third term successor to Ronald Reagan. The only other time in American history that we have seen a candidate win when he or she ran in would amount to being a third term of the prior President was when Van Buren won election after Andrew Jackson was in office for two terms.
A bright spot for Democrats is the fact that some of western states became more blue and less of a battleground area. Nevada saw two congressional districts go blue, while they also elected the first Latina woman to the U.S. Senate, Catherine Cortez Masto. Colorado was no longer a swing state, and New Mexico voted Democratic once more. The coast was solidly democratic as California, Oregon and Washington were once again Democratic states.
One black hole for democrats is that Republicans now occupy 35 Governorships.
The conclusion that one can reach was that the race for the White House was unique compared to the other contests on November 8th. The House and Senate saw a slight change. You had the two candidates with the highest negatives in our history. Whether these candidates deserved their negative ratings regarding trust remains for history to decide. Perhaps with two candidates that were disliked by so many it was not a coincidence that the outcome was so close. It was said that the Presidency was Hillary Clinton’s race to lose, and on that final weekend when those who were undecided voters made up their minds, they chose change over competence and Donald J. Trump. Donald Trump is now our President elect. May the transition begin and our democratic traditions be continued.