By Nikhil Vaish
Anyone who believes Mrs. Clinton lost because she is a woman needs to wake up. There is no question that misogyny played a role, but she needed to win in spite of this because she was attempting to break a glass ceiling in what is, for now, still a man’s world. The facts clearly show that women did not unite against Mr. Trump because of his lewd and misogynistic comments, just to vote for a woman. “Instead, they voted more or less as they always have: along party lines.” (NYTimes).
Also, consider that Trump won white working class voters in “many of the areas where Mr. Obama fared best in 2008 and 2012. In the end, the linchpin of Mr. Obama’s winning coalition broke hard to the Republicans.” (Source: NYTimes).
He also won almost 30% of Hispanics (more than Romney or McCain did); and overall did “…better than Romney among blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans, making it more difficult to claim that racial resentment was the dominant factor explaining Trump’s support nationally.” (Source: Washington Post).
Let’s be clear that people don’t suddenly wake up one morning, turn on a racist switch and vote for hate. If that is true then we may as well pack our bags and abandon this great experiment called democracy. If we can get past the media’s hysteria and selective narrative, we will see that simply dismissing Mr. Trump’s victory as racism and misogyny (there was absolutely an element of it) is not just an over-simplification but dangerously naïve.
The next step is trying to understand, and fix, why Democrats and Mrs. Clinton lost, despite the fact that Mr. Obama had a higher approval rating than Mr. Reagan did at end of in his second term; another fact that makes it hard to blame racism. So, why did Mrs. Clinton lose?
She lost because the Democratic Party showed it had been taken over by a mafia and they were willing to use brute force to propel her candidacy, even though the base was clearly screaming for a different voice to represent them.
She lost because she came across like a Queen seeking a political coronation and someone who had become a member of the special interests and wealthy elites she promised to fight.
She lost because the majority of the world has lost faith in politicians of all stripes, and they are looking for outsiders who will use brute force to break the system, not politely try to navigate it.
She lost because she was complacent and took for granted that changing demographics would work in her favour. She simply assumed that minorities, women upset with Trump’s offensive statements, and left-leaning millennials would carry the day for Democrats.
She lost because she changed her position numerous times on the minimum wage, on TPP and on trade; issues that most mattered to her voters.
She lost because she was completely tone deaf to the screams of the wider electorate, an electorate screaming for economic dignity. The kind of dignity that only a well-paying job can provide, and a sense of self-worth that comes from being able to provide for your family and promise your children a good education and a bright future.
The reason she lost is because she did not offer a vision for how she would help create decent jobs for all Americans; she forgot that it’s still “the economy, stupid”.
Her campaign was entirely rooted in trying to convince voters that Trump was an evil demagogue who is unfit to govern. But people needed to know how she would help them put food on the table, afford healthcare, find a job, get an education and lift themselves and their children from economic indignity; Mrs. Clinton failed to provide this narrative.
Instead, Mrs. Clinton and Democrats chose to stay in their bubble and ignore the growing working class cries for help. As a result the Democrats not only lost the White House, Senate and the House, but were also decimated across the board in Governor and state legislative races. Voters clearly and soundly rejected current party policies at every level of government; Democrats would be wise to take heed.
Democrats now have a clear choice to make. They can waste time and energy filing futile petitions, funding protests and calling for vote recounts. They can continue blaming Comey and Putin and they can continue to scream and cry about Trump being racist and misogynist they can also refuse to work with him once he takes office. By doing this, they will once more bury their heads in the sand and, like the GOP did, become a party with no vision, no rallying cause and end up with an internal civil war of their own, led by various extreme factions within the party.
Or they can come out of their bubble and spend time trying to understand why so many blue collar voters and minorities, who have historically been a guaranteed part of their base, felt so excluded and isolated that they needed to find such an extreme alternative.
They can work with President Trump to further the economic cause of all Americans while ensuring that hate never permeates the mainstream arteries of our democracy, and they can champion an alternative vision, one that is more economically inclusive of all voters in 2020.