Things I Blame For Hillary Clinton’s Loss, Ranked

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Here is my response to the Slate article, “So We’re Still Blaming Jill Stein and James Comey, Huh?”

This is a partial list of the things I blame, ranked.
(As always, the opinions on this blog are mine alone and do not reflect my employers.)

1-199. MISOGYNY

This is why they chant “lock her up” and “Trump that bitch,” it’s why people can’t quite put a finger on it, but they just don’t like the cut of her jib. It’s why they see her as shrill and scolding and corrupt; not sufficiently warm, not the kind of person they want to grab a beer with. It’s why, following a tried-and-true pop culture paradigm—from Lady Macbeth to Claire Underwood—they see her as hungry for power and willing to do anything—even murder—to get what she wants. It’s why 2016’s answer to most election-related questions is, “It’s the misogyny, stupid!”

200. BERNIE SANDERS

I know this is going to piss a lot of people off, but so be it. I think Sanders, who fortified the recurring narrative that Hillary was a corrupt neoliberal and part of a rigged system, did more damage than anyone else. He turned millions of young people against Hillary—and countless independents, no doubt, too.

Yes, he ultimately campaigned for Hillary, but did so half-heartedly, through pursed lips and slumped body language, bashing Trump but rarely praising Hillary. One could almost see the thought bubble over his head: “This should’ve been me.”

201.FAKE NEWS

This, like almost everything on this list, is a subset of the misogyny. But these were among the stories that were circulating on the web—and that people believed—about Hillary Clinton during the campaign.

  • She’s got Parkinson’s or MS and is covering it up.
  • She has a body double, whom she trots out when she is too ill to appear in public
  • She murdered a DNC staffer, among many others
  • She exchanged “signals” with Lester Holt from the debate stage.
  • She runs a child pedophilia ring out of pizza parlor in D.C. (No, really!)

I could go on…

202. JAMES COMEY

When FBI director James Comey announced that his office would not be filing charges against Hillary Clinton, he did it in the most scolding, damning language possible. His statement, where he called her “extremely careless,” was unprecedented. Nonetheless, the Clinton campaign took this embarrassing public reproach and thanked him, happy the whole thing was behind them. Oh, if only they had been so lucky. Not content to have damaged her reputation with his public statement, Comey waited until 11 days before the election to announce that he was reopening the case, investigating new emails related to Anthony Weiner. (The Weiner bit was a particularly damning touch, reminding people of Bill’s infidelities.) As the Trump campaign celebrated and gloated— and Americans were essentially told: This is who Clinton is, a woman who will be forever dogged by scandal—a hasty release was issued a day before the election, clearing Clinton (again!) of all wrongdoing (the emails on Weiner’s server were duplicates). This was the biggest November Surprise in the history of November Surprises and it never should’ve happened.

203. RUSSIA/WIKILEAKS

I love how we’re all pretending that Russia didn’t have a clear horse in the race—Trump—and didn’t do everything in their power—hacking the DNC, hacking John Podesta, disseminating fake news—to get him elected. While we weren’t looking, Russia just won an information war against us.

204. THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA

Eventually, they got better at calling out Trump for his lies, incompetence, and corruption, but they continued to act as though Hillary’s emails were an equally big deal (they spent three times as much time discussing her emails as they did on all of her policy proposals combined), and continued to let Trump’s surrogates run roughshod over cable news, assassinating Hillary’s character (remember the handcuffs?) and lying about her, smugly, sanctimoniously, and with impunity. Quite simply, the media failed us.

205. JILL STEIN

That light-weight, publicity-seeking bourgeois hippie gave disenchanted Bernie or Busters a place for their protest vote, and continued the absurd narrative that Hillary was just as bad as Trump.

Yes, this matters, despite snide Slate articles suggesting otherwise:

screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-2-58-45-pm

205a. You’re on my list too, Susan Sarandon.

206. THE 96 MILLION WHO DIDN’T VOTE

What the hell is wrong with you people?

207. VOTER SUPPRESSION

Some people who wanted to vote couldn’t. Without the protections of the Voting Rights Act, Republicans were able to suppress the vote in several key states.

208. HILLARY’S MESSAGE

Bernie made promises: Free college! Trump made promises: Build that wall! Save American jobs! But Hillary, a policy wonk who understands the nature of incremental change, could never bring herself to spout slogans. I don’t think she should’ve made false promises, necessarily, but perhaps a few concrete soundbites would’ve gone a long way.

209. HILLARY’S CAMPAIGN

They should’ve had her hold rallies in Wisconsin, ffs. They took their eye off the ball.

210. HILLARY’S SUPPORTERS

We took to the corners of the Internet for a variety of reasons—mostly because of (duh) the misogyny. But we should’ve been louder and prouder and worn our allegiance in public, shutting down the narrative that we were unenthusiastic. I was a pretty public supporter. But that being said, I can’t tell you how many times I expressed my devotion to Hillary—and my anger at the unfair, widespread anti-Hillary tactics—in a locked FB group when I should’ve been screaming it from the rafters.

Things I don’t blame:

1. HILLARY HERSELF.

She won every debate. She came up with well thought out, concrete plans to govern. She carried herself with dignity and grace, despite all the endless, misogynist shit that was hurled at her. She was nothing short of heroic.

2. IDENTITY POLITICS

Because seriously, fuck that.

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22 thoughts on “Things I Blame For Hillary Clinton’s Loss, Ranked

  1. I definitely agree with this, but the ones I agree with most are Susan Sarandon and Bernie Sanders. The Susan addition definitely made me laugh though because this election cycle has shown how awful she is as a person.

    • Silvia M Tineo-Perez

      Bernie Sander took too long to support her. She was no only running against Trump. She runs against the cable news, The FBI, her gender Bill Clinton Affairs and I can’t
      still believe that so many women support Trump.

  2. YES ALL THIS FOREVER

  3. The ButtHurt is strong in this one. Blame everyone except yourselves. We would have won if it weren’t for those meddling kids!

  4. Agreed! Thanks for this.

  5. Bravo!!!!

  6. Silvia M Tineo-Perez

    Agree with you 100%

  7. Well said, thank you. I also really enjoyed your letter to Sanders. I bought about sending a similar letter after the election. I was always with her, but I respected Sanders his leadership. When he said he was “disgusted” that the “white working class” weren’t reached by the Democratic Party I was really disappointed in him for a whole bucket of reasons (like the working class is women and POC and the WWC is not more important), but also if he thought this was his demographic, then he should have campaigned harder to draw this group in for Hilary.

  8. Logical Not Emotional

    When Hillary threw out the “First Women President” reason to vote for her, she was trolling for opposition. What a stupid reason to say people should vote for you! You are an idiot if that has any bearing on why you support someone to be the leader of a nation. Video “This is who is to blame for Trump.” is a much better summery of why HC lost.

  9. Can I add one thing to the list? This is from the few Trump supporters I still speak to, the ones who I honestly don’t think are all troglodytes.

    Health care.

    The election was 2 weeks after everybody got their notices of 2017 increases for Nov 1 open enrollment. The Republicans did an excellent job as painting everything health-insurance-related as “Obamacare,” even employer-sponsored policies. So even though rate increases were through the roof before the ACA, and lots of people have insurance that couldn’t get it before, and some were subsidized from the greatest impact, and many of the things which needed fixing were the Republicans’ fault because they wanted it to fail, none of that mattered: it was Obama and Hillary’s fault that people were forced to have insurance they could not afford, and learning right before the election that there was now a hole in your family budget of several hundred dollars in premiums was a deciding factor. I know a lot of progressives who had a really hard time with this even though they would never vote for Trump, and it’s the kind of very personal impact that would convince you it was important to vote for someone who pledged to fix it. (Obviously whether he can or will is another matter, but he certainly has Congress on his side.)

    Dems knew in the summer that the timing was going to be really bad on this point, and didn’t have a good message ready to counter it. If the appropriate research was done post-election, I think the impact was significantly greater than Comey’s Weiner-related announcement, or that the two issues (which hit at the same time) had a synergistic negative effect. Everyone wants to dwell on Comey or millennials or Rust Belt strategy….what if there’s a simpler Freakonomics-style explanation that’s being almost completely overlooked?

    • Yes, yes, excellent point. And this is another media botched thing, IMO. Most of the failings of Obamacare are because of concessions made to Republicans in order for the legislation to pass. ALSO, even a struggling Obamacare is better than what we had before. Again, these were mitigating factors that never got mentioned by the press. But I think you are 100% right.

  10. I’ll tell you the exact moment she lost it. It was in that first debate, the one where most pundits said she cleaned his clock. But in the first debate, Trump called NAFTA “the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country” and “one of the worst things that ever happened to the manufacturing industry.” And her devastating response? “Well, that’s your opinion”. And in that moment, she sounded to all of those Rust Belt workers whose once-good paying jobs were shipped across the border and who are working at WalMart for 31 hours a week or driving Uber with no benefits, like she was some modern-day Marie Antoinette. It was of course reinforced when she wouldn’t personally campaign in their states, spending the bulk of her time in Florida, or with corporate donors raising money for attack ads, while he was all over their states. I agree with some of your factors and disagree with others, but she lost states no Democrat since Mondale had lost. And I feel if none of your other factors were present, the most it does is shrink the electoral margin. Voters in Wisconsin struggling to put food on the table were not going to make their decision based on Bernie reminding them she voted for the Iraq war or took millions of dollars from Wall Street (both of which by the way, she did. Was he supposed to be a “gentleman” and not actually refer to her record?) He steadfastly refused to criticize her on her emails. Do you think if Trump would have laid off on a primary opponent who had that kind of baggage? Or for that matter, do you think Bill Clinton would have? And those same struggling voters didn’t make their decision because Comey wrote a letter saying he found more emails. And has it occurred to anyone that if Huma Abedin had told the truth when she swore under oath she turned in all her devices – OOPS, well except THAT one), that there never would have been a Comey letter?

  11. I would put misogyny and the mainstream media as equally at fault. I would next put the 30 years of Democratic leadership failure to compete with the GOP’s 24/365 propaganda machine with clarity about Democratic values and policies in simple english, to all areas of the U.S. Focusing on cities only is wrong from an ethical standpoint, and stupid from a strategy standpoint.

  12. Things I blame for Hillary’s loss. #1 – 300. HILLARY.

  13. And the misinformation that coupled Hillary with “yanking babies out of the womb.”

  14. Michael Geizhals

    The Democratic Party. Her dismal performance as Secretary of State. The Clinton Foundation.
    Many people did not vote for Trump but voted against Hillary. It is time to understand the idea that “The buck stops here”. Hillary lost the election because of Hilary. Why is that so hard to understand ?

  15. 202a. Bill meeting with Loretta Lynch in Phoenix. Could also be classed with misogyny, and a campaign staff unforced error. Or maybe Bill’s guilt gets its own number.

  16. DWS. Bernie supporters felt screwed by the Dems and Schultz. They didn’t give him a fair shot. So you can blame Bernie, but you SHOULD be blaming those who screwed Bernie instead. He NEVER said it was rigged, but it was rigged. He took the high ground.

  17. Bernie Sanders never called Hillary corrupt. NOT ONCE. He, along with most of the electorate were BOTHERED by her “speaking fees” from Wall Street. Bad optics never seemed to bother Hillary and it showed. Too bad it cost her bundles more than her speaking fees. What Bernie DID do was hand her the biggest political favor in her entire political career or ANY Presidential election by removing the entire “e-mail” debacle completely off the table and out of the entire primary election debate when he could have made oodles of political hay out of it. What’s more, Bernie Sanders campaigned a helluva lot harder for Hillary Clinton than Hillary EVER did for President Obama- and to suggest millennials are mere programmable automotrons is insulting. There were reasons Hillary Clinton lost. Some were not her fault and some were most certainly her fault. What you’re really saying is that you’re pissed at Bernie because he dared to get in the way of a ”coronation”. Unfortunately for YOU, our democracy is set up to hold primary elections for open debate to bring forth the best candidate with the best ideas to represent the party and not to “crown” a candidate because it’s his or her turn.

  18. The problem with this list is that too much of the key issues are external to Hillary. Bottom line, it is Hillary’s fault that she did not win not Bernie Saunders, Misogyny, or any other external issue. It is like saying, “I did not get that job because of ageism”. No, you did not get that job because you were not able to convince that hiring manager that you were the best fit.

    And Hillary made two key mistakes. Calling Trump supporters “deplorable” and ignoring the rural sector of the US thinking that the urban Obama support would vote. Those are conscious decisions she intentionally made and were clearly (in retrospect) mistakes.

    I agree all the factors listed were issues but blaming external issues is not taking responsibility for not getting what one wants.

  19. This: “I think Sanders, who fortified the recurring narrative that Hillary was a corrupt neoliberal and part of a rigged system, did more damage than anyone else” is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read.

    1. Secretary Clinton IS a corrupt neoliberal. See also: backchannel deals to install a corporate-friendly junta in Honduras on behalf of US mining and hydroelectric corporations; Boeing deal for SA (thousands of Yemenis could tell you about that one, if they weren’t, you know, dead); donations to the Clinton Foundation from some of the most brutal, human-rights-violating regimes in the world; over a million and a half $USD for speeches given to banks funding the Keystone XL Pipeline and not coming out against said pipeline until it was already Not Gonna Happen; countless millions of dollars in speaking fees and donations from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Citibank, and other playas…I could go on, but won’t.

    She IS part of a rigged system. See also: collusion with press to push “Pied Piper candidates” who would (they hoped) draw the GOP over the cliff with someone unelectable like Donald Trump (hahaha!)

    2. Was Bernie Sanders NOT supposed to run against her? NOT supposed to point out why he was the better candidate, if you didn’t want more of the same (i.e. corrupt neoliberals who are part of the rigged system)?

    HILLARY CLINTON AND HER CAMPAIGN CREW lost the election. She did. They did. Against the most ridiculous buffoon of a candidate, a man with no political experience, a man with cartoonishly hateful policy proposals that stopped just this side of “kill everyone we don’t like”.

    For Bernie, for almost any other candidate, beating Trump would’ve been a f*cking cakewalk. Bernie had the young and Indie votes tied up. He’d have had the election done and dusted by 10 pm that Tuesday night. Team Hillary broke this. And now they own it.

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