Unlike many out there, I can’t blame this on a single thing, third party voters, Benghazi or Email servers. So its probably many things, and frankly, many things we watched happen and observed as they were happening.
- Perception, real or imagined, that the primary was rigged. Not helped by persistent, snarky toned, “hit pieces”ion the likes of the WaPo and the NYT. How silly his proposals were, when some of them were championed by Hillary and clearly dear to the left leaning electorate a la Single Payer. And the stated campaign objections read a lot like a Newt Gingrich speech from 94, leading to additional charges of “Republican Lite” and alienating the “Bernie or Bust” folks.
- Perception, real or imagined, that she was hiding something, probably sourced to some extent by the refusal to release the transcripts of those speeches. Then there was the pneumonia episode. Then the foundation donors. And of course the “private email server.” Then back to the DNC collusion. Perceptions and suspicions ultimately born out by Wiki Leaks in many cases as not entirely fiction. Fair or not, that was impactful. It drove the moderates on the fence away. It drove the “Bernie or Bust” people away.
- An immediate focus shift after the convention to courting moderate and conservative voters, instead of, perhaps, a full court press to get those “Bernie or Bust” folks to believe the platform. Then a parade of conservative endorsements. None of that made the “republican lite” thing go away. Trump, and to a lesser extent Stein and Johnson ACTIVELY courted those people.
- The FBI, that was not helpful, not even almost. Just added fuel to the fire regarding trustworthiness.
- Guns. Good lord, guns. Doubling down on the thing that alienates the heartland. They already weren’t sure, and ANY mention of that plank, just drove those people away. We learned that in 94. We apparently didnt remember this lesson. Add to that the shiufting demographics of gun owners, women, minorities, and a decrease in the average age, and you get a bunch of folks that start pondering single issue voting. Then they act on it. These people worried about the Supreme Court.
- The perception that the election itself is rigged, see above. If it could happen to the DNC, then could it happen in the general? The foregone conclusion of the polls, and the media, brought people out to vote and simultaneously drove another segment to stay home. Worse, since it was a foregone conclusion, I suspect that made people vote R down ticket, if she is inevitable, then we must check her power with congress.
By not pursuing the electorate that would have voted D if they had come to the polls, or if even a little attention was paid to the fears of those folks, HRC lost them. Either to apathy or another candidate. And sometimes to Trump himself. Instead, HRC tried to play the fear game (DJT is indeed scary), and it wasn’t enough.
Or maybe it was, since as of this writing, the popular vote still is in her favor.
Despite all of that, some of us STILL voted for her.
Who is really responsible? the 4% of the electorate who voted 3rd candidate? That’s a lot of power in a few people. Maybe instead of deriding them prior to the election, someone should have courted them? Maybe, someone should have taken that amazing policy expertise and applied it to the disaffected. Maybe someone should have gone and talked to those 3 million missing Obama voters and asked them what it was going to take to get them to the polls? What policy position will bring you out of your funk? Why is it their fault for voting their conscience?
If it really came down to those few people who voted third party, it seems like maybe some energy might have been spent making sure that small percentage wouldn’t be impactful?
Maybe instead of blaming them, we need to unite with them and figure out what to do next.
We’re closer to them than we think.