WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) — Bill Clinton, after casting his vote as a New York elector for his wife, carped to reporters on Monday about the multiple reasons why his wife lost.
The Russians. The FBI.
In mid-December, Hillary Clinton said much the same when she met with worried and burned donors who funded her billion dollar presidential campaign at a New York hotel.
What they got for the billion is a campaign that never had an economic message and ran on identity politics.
There is no doubt FBI Director James Comey inserted himself into an election in an unprecedented way. And yes, the Russians clearly hacked into computers and extracted emails that were put out publicly.
That’s all we have heard from many in the Clinton camp in the last few weeks.
But before any of that happened, Clinton decided on a campaign strategy to demonize her opponent and disqualify him.
It didn’t work.
She scolded Donald Trump for what he said and stitched together groups from African Americans to Latinos to a legion of gay men who devoted themselves to her because they identified with her toughness and fighting spirit.
But that’s not a campaign message.
And presidential campaigns are always about the future. Always. Period.
What’s perplexing is the Clintons know that. Bill Clinton’s first campaign theme song was “Don’t Stop thinking about tomorrow.”
But what Hillary Clinton did was take the American voters to the past. One because she is a figure largely identified by the 90s. And two because she constantly reminded voters what Trump said and did years before the election.
James Carville and others after the election remarked how Clinton didn’t have an economic message. So you have to ask yourself: where were they before the election?
The voters, in key states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, where the Electoral College was decided, apparently didn’t care much that Trump called a beauty contestant Miss Piggy or that Trump University allegedly bilked people out of tens of thousands of dollars.
They didn’t care he disqualified a Mexican judge in a case important to Trump because the judge was Mexican. Nor did they care about the optics of his proposed Muslim entry ban. In fact, a good number of them said hurrah.
And it turns out they didn’t even care about the vile Access Hollywood tapes where Trump said things about women that don’t need repeating.
You see none of that had anything to do with their pocketbooks or where to find a job. None of it had to do with their own economic security.
Let’s not forget Clinton won the popular vote by about three million people. Her identity politics theme worked in that regard. California, Illinois and New York liberals voted for her in droves but where she needed to win she failed miserably.
Clinton didn’t lose because of the FBI, the CIA, Vladamir Putin, Wikileaks or the sort. She lost because of a campaign that miscalculated the times just like she did in 2008 when she ran against Barack Obama. In both campaigns she counted that experience would win the day and she got beat by two change candidates.
It’s not easy to look in the mirror and admit you lost because of your own mistakes. Mistakes that happened long before all the late October shenanigans.
One hundred years from now history is probably going to look on Clinton much more kindly as she was the first women nominee of a major political party and was secretary of state, a U.S. senator and first lady. That’s a combination that is unlikely to be replicated.
As for now, she may be wise to focus on new endeavors because when voters elected Trump they chose to largely retire Clinton from public life. Voting for president is a personal choice because unlike a senator or congressman you’re basically inviting a president into your living room on a daily basis.
Four more years of the Clintons didn’t represent change in a change election. And voters sent that message in a clear fashion not even a billion bucks could beat.