The gargantuan outburst of sub-intellectual nonsense which began to emerge from the mouths and social media pages of diehard Clinton apologists when it became clear that their candidate had lost the election was, while rather unsurprising, something truly extraordinary to witness. The one thing which everyone should understand about brainwashed ideologues is that they pretty much never take responsibility for anything. Depending on the precise kind of dogmatic idiot you’re talking to, it’s either the fault of the media, or the foreigners, or Mossad…
In the case of the aforementioned Clinton loyalists, obviously, it wasn’t going to be the fault of their deeply unpopular candidate, or by extension them for picking her over someone far more appealing to the general public. Therefore, it was clearly because of the racists, or sexists, or both.
Such an assumption is completely devoid of any intellectual basis and is either a cheap deflection tactic at best or a shameful smear campaign at worst. Were there lots of sexists and xenophobes that voted for Donald Trump? Sure, without a doubt. However, it really should also go without saying that it was neither the KKK nor the readership of Breitbart that ended up swinging this election. Somehow, I find it rather hard to believe that the millions of women that voted for Trump are suffering from internalized misogyny, or that those that inevitably voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016 are actually somehow racist. If you really want to understand why Hillary Clinton lost, the only way to do so is by looking at the electoral college, because no matter how many confederate flag-waving lunatics voted for Trump in Alabama or South Carolina, their votes would not have made the slightest bit of difference to the overall result.
Donald Trump could never have won The White House without winning the Rust Belt: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio. Except for Ohio, in which Trump was the favorite to win, these former industrial Northern states were considered by Democratic strategists as Hillary Clinton’s so-called electoral firewall. Even if Trump had won Florida and North Carolina, which at the time didn’t seem too likely, he would still find himself short of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the election. Essentially, Trump needed to win at least two of the aforementioned four states, and his chances weren’t looking good. According to polling, Clinton had a 77% chance of winning in Pennsylvania, 79% in Michigan, and 83% in Wisconsin. She then proceeded to lose all three.
Why? Well, I suppose it would help to do what the Clinton campaign clearly couldn’t be bothered to and consider what the people living in those states actually wanted. In the entirety of North America, these are arguably the places that have felt the most screwed over by the relentless march of globalization. Former industrial areas that have suffered from incredible population decline and urban decay after thousands upon thousands of manufacturing jobs found themselves outsourced to Mexico and Asia.
Now you can certainly make the argument that this is actually positive for the overall state of the economy, and that might very well be true. However, what some fail to consider is that the hundreds of thousands of blue collar workers that voted for Trump couldn’t care less about the financial interests of Wall Street or Silicon Valley. These people wanted their jobs back, and in a normal election, they would have concluded that the best way to achieve that goal is voting for the Democrats. However, this was not a normal election. This was an election when the Democratic nominee just happened to be a major cheerleader for precisely the kind of trade deals and outsourcing that cost so many their livelihoods. Meanwhile, the Republican candidate was standing on the kind of protectionist platform traditionally favored by the left.
Clinton was utterly convinced that these states would vote along traditional party lines, regardless of the candidate’s platforms, and it was this extraordinary sense of negligence that cost her the election. Personally, I still thought she was the favorite to win, largely because that is what the overwhelming majority of the data showed, however looking back, I can’t say I’m surprised that Trump ended up the victor.
The simple truth is that Hillary Clinton had practically nothing to offer the Rust Belt, as her campaign was based largely on meaningless platitudes and character assassination. For months they put out attack ads which showed Trump saying a plethora of naughty words, interjected with shots of horrified children. However, everyone already knew that Donald Trump was a massive dick, but they voted for him anyway. They voted for him because while he was promising to bring back jobs, all Clinton could come back with was PC outrage and more empty slogans about being “stronger together” and “bringing down the barriers”.
Honestly, put yourself in the shoes of some of these people. You’re a thirty-something-year-old man from Southeast Michigan. You have recently lost your job because the car factory that you used to work on has closed down and relocated overseas. Let’s say you also have a wife, who is a school teacher and gets paid a pittance, and two small children that need to be clothed and fed. Up comes the election, and you have to choose between two candidates. The first candidate is a massively corrupt political insider that voted for all the familiar sounding trade deals that have cost you your job. The second candidate is a massively corrupt sexist asshole that wants to tear up that fucking trade deal. He wants to bring back the jobs. He also wants to make America great again!
“Her Campaign slogan is ‘I’m with her.’ You know what my response is to that? I’m with you, the American people.”
-That was Donald Trump’s single best line from the entire campaign, because while both of them were fervently disliked by most of the population, it at least presented Trump as someone who is on the side of ordinary people, while brilliantly exposing Clinton’s all too evident sense of entitlement and narcissism. Now don’t get me wrong, the Democratic platform was undeniably superior as far as policy substance was concerned. Unfortunately, their candidate spent less time talking about what ordinary people wanted and more time talking about herself.
The decision by democratic strategists to shift the focus of their campaign from policy to personality ended up proving a disaster. It might have worked, that is if the Democratic candidate was actually someone likable. Instead, they somehow decided that the best way to elect the second most unpopular presidential candidate in American history was to focus on her personal virtues. By trying to make the election about the candidates as individual people, they created a situation in which the electorate was left to choose between what they (not Twitter or Hollywood) considered to be the lesser of two evils.
Rather unsurprisingly, the people of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio decided to vote for the candidate who at least represented their personal interest. Sure, he was hardly an angel, but neither was the opposition. Hillary Clinton promised to break down the glass ceiling by becoming the first female president. Donald Trump promised to bring back jobs. In the end, jobs won over a pair of XX chromosomes.