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Friday, June 2, 2017

Hillary Is Missing The Main Point Why She Lost

During the last two days, America has been watching Hillary Clinton give a long list of reasons why she lost.  It seems as if she's on her "It Wasn't My Fault" tour.  It was the Russians.  It was the failure of DNC data.  It was lack of funds from the DNC.  It was sexism.  It was.....  you get the picture.  She just can't bring herself to say "I did this wrong."

Clearly, Hillary was a flawed candidate.  She had no message.  Even today, when I think about Hillary's announced plans for growing the economy, I can't come up with anything other than raising the minimum wage and improving pre-school.  The former would actually hurt by pricing some workers out of their jobs.  Neither would provide help to the vast middle income group of Americans who both need economic help and decide all American elections.  Hillary also was clearly dishonest.  Even her comments of the last two days show this again.  Everyone knows she failed.  Nearly everyone knows she at least shares the blame for her loss, but she just cannot be honest about it.  Trump was never a paragon of the truth, but he also did not come across as a calculating and constant liar.  That was Hillary.  Even Hillary blaming the lack of funds from the DNC is part of this.  Her campaign outspent Trump by two to one or more.  She had over a billion dollars raised.  That's not a lack of funds; rather, it's not knowing how to use the funds effectively.

There is, however, one important point that Hillary and much of the media seems to have missed.  There was a big change in turnout in 2016.  It was not that the number of voters declined; it really did not.  No, it was the composition of the electorate that changed.  White voters turned out in numbers about 3% higher than in 2012.  Hispanic voters grew by a bit more than that.  So did Asians.  On the other hand, the African American vote fell by just over 8% compared to four years earlier.  These voters who came out for Obama did not do the same for Clinton.  In states like Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, these changes swung the results to Trump.  On top of that, Trump pretty much doubled the share of the black vote that Romney got in 2012.

So why did this change happen?  The obvious reason is the lack of Obama at the top of the ticket.  But was it more?  Did Trump's outreach to the African American community win him any votes?  Was that enough to dissuade some in that community not to vote for Hillary (or Trump)?  Was it the lack of any message by Hillary that made sense to African Americans?  I don't know, and I doubt we will ever have the answer to those questions.  Oh, we'll have plenty of speculation, but we won't know.

It did not take a genius or an expert to understand that the black vote would be crucial to Hillary's chances.  Ahead of election day, we heard over and over about the Democrats' vaunted get out the vote machine.  They had the money to run a major operation.  They could have focused more effort on the black community.  They did not.  It is a reason that should not be overlooked.

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