Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hillary's Flights of Fancy

In recent interviews, Hillary Clinton has "accepted full responsibility for her loss" then immediately blamed other people. She still hasn't accepted that she lost outright and that she, herself, is the person most to blame. Here's some of her claims:

If the election had been ten days earlier. This isn't much of an excuse. Yes, if the election had been held when she was ahead in the polls she might have won. But if the election had been held nine weeks earlier then Trump would have won the popular vote as well as the election. Hillary believes that the letter FBI director Comey sent to Congress, which was immediately leaked to the press, caused her to drop in the polls, costing her the election. This may be true (polling at the time indicated the announcement only caused a three-day dip and she'd been cleared before election day regardless) but the Bill Bush tape hurt Trump much more that the Comey letter hurt Hillary. All losingcandidates wish that the election had been held at a time that was more favorable to them but few go as far as Clinton.

Voter Suppression in Wisconsin. Trump won Wisconsin by 20,000 votes. A voter advocacy group calculated that a new voter-ID law in Wisconsin had kept 200,000 people from voting. The assumption is that the majority of those kept from voting were Hillary supporters. The fact-checkers disagree. The "study" came from an openly pro-Hillary group and their methodology was hopelessly flawed. They compared voter numbers in 2016 to 2012 in Wisconsin and Minnesota (which did not have a voter-id law). Turnout was down in Wisconsin and up in Minnesota so they concluded that the only factor was the voter-id law. Among other flaws, this ignores the fact that the Wisconsin turnout was higher in 2016 than in 2008 and that minority turn-out in general was down which accounted for most of the drop in Wisconsin (for some reason minorities were more likely to turn out for a fresh, young black man than an old, establishment white woman). It may comfort Hillary to think that outside forces kept her from winning Wisconsin, the fact remains that she never set foot in the state.

The Russians. Those terrible Russians. They hacked the election by releasing all of those boring Podesta emails. Even Hillary admits that there was nothing damaging in the emails but she still insists that the release was a factor. I can almost forgive her for this one. The emails were a much bigger issue inside her campaign. Every day for a month staffers would have to pour through the latest email dump then report to the campaign what the damage was. This made the emails seem much bigger to those in the campaign than to voters. But by blowing the emails out of proportion, Clinton can advance the idea that she was robbed by the Russians (with dark hints that they colluded with Trump).

Misogyny. Sure some people voted against her because she's a woman. But being a woman was a big part of her appeal. She undoubtedly got more votes because of the gender she identifies as than she lost. She and her campaign staff still complain about a double standard - that men are allowed to be angry but women aren't. Inconveniently, this doesn't apply to other women candidates. Elizabeth Warren is always angry and never accused of being shrill. Maybe the fault is in the candidate instead of society's reception to her gender. As a side-note, Hillary's still pushing the lie that Trump followed her around the stage and loomed over her during the second debate. A close look at photographs shows that Trump never moved from his seat. Hillary walked over to his side of the stage and placed herself between Trump and a camera man. According to Shattered, this was a move she'd rehearsed.

The truth is that Clinton was constantly her own worst enemy. Her decision to have total control over her emails by setting up a private server was an unforced error that came back to haunt her in numerous ways. That lead to the FBI investigation. She compounded this by forwarding emails to her assistant Huma who sent them to her husband, Anthony Weiner, to print. These turned up in an unrelated investigation of Weiner's PC. The hacking of Podesta's emails would barely have been news if the public hadn't been hearing about Hillary's private server for months. It's been said of Hillary that she'll never tell the truth if she can lie instead. She told lie after lie about her email server and each time a lie was exposed, the public lost more confidence in her. (Yes, Trump set a record for statements that weren't true but they weren't seen as self-serving the way Hillary's email lies were.)

Hillary's lack of candor really caught up with her when she collapsed at a 9/11 commemoration. Her campaign had been denying her health problems for weeks and the initial explanation - that she'd become dehydrated - turned out to be a lie. When it came out that she had pneumonia and hidden it from everyone including most of her staff, her campaign insisted that sexism was somehow to blame.

While Hillary had position papers on everything conceivable, no one can truly say what she believes in. In 2008 she was running on a platform of a return to the Clinton years. By 2016, under pressure from Bernie Sanders, she was repudiating all of her husband's accomplishments. She teased for months on the Trans Pacific partnership which she had been involved in negotiating and which she had called the gold-standard. No one was surprised when she came out against it after it became unpopular within her party. The same was true for other issues such as oil and gas pipelines and gay marriage. She always took the most expedient stand on issues and always after waiting to see which position would be most advantageous. She had no real core to her beliefs. This was in contrast with Trump who seemed to care about what's best for Americans.

According to Shattered, Hillary was never able to articulate a reason why she was running to her closest advisors. She simply assigned them the job of inventing something. With no core to her campaign, all she had to run on was negative attacks on Trump. She set a record for negative ads but failed to even attempt to court voters. her campaign was centered on turning out likely voters while suppressing Trump voters as the most cost-effective way of running the campaign. She has to take responsibility for that. A presidential candidate has to inspire by more than simply being a woman and grandmother.

Hillary lost because multiple decisions came back to haunt her. Her email server, relations with Russia while she was Secretary of State. her paid speeches for Wall Street - they all hurt her. With no core beliefs for her supporters to rally behind, there was nothing to make up for her short-comings. While it's true she did win the popular vote, she did it by running up the vote in states where Trump never tried to compete. In the Electoral College, which is all that matters, she was not competitive.

Hillary Clinton lost fair and square. She needs to accept that and be a gratuitous loser instead of the bitter failure that she's become.

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