in one word

…For me … I summarize it in one word … TRUST…Hillary was not trusted…

How Hillary Lost: The Big Factors That Cost Her the Election … Ambivalence on the issues cost Hillary dearly.

By Stanley Greenberg / The American ProspectOctober 3, 2017, 11:26 AM GMT…..Hillary Clinton’s tragic 2016 campaign faced withering criticism in the press, social media, and now, in Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’s inside account, Shattered. From my vantage point as lead pollster for the Democratic nominees in 1992 and 2000, part of the closing clutch of pollsters in 2004, and invited noodge in 2016, I have little quarrel with the harshest of these criticisms. Malpractice and arrogance contributed mightily to the election of Donald Trump and its profound threat to our democracy. So did the handling of the email server, paid Wall Street speeches, and the “deplorables” comment. And her unwillingness to challenge the excesses of big money and corporate influence left her exposed to attacks first by Bernie Sanders and then by Donald Trump and unable to offer credible promise of change.

Yet the accounts of Hillary Clinton are very incomplete, miss the reasons for her ambivalence, and miss most of the big structural forces at work that made it hard for her to commit to a different path. That is where we learn the most about the progressive debate ahead.

The Malpractice…The Trump presidency concentrates the mind on the malpractice that helped put him in office. For me, the most glaring examples include the Clinton campaign’s over-dependence on technical analytics; its failure to run campaigns to win the battleground states; the decision to focus on the rainbow base and identity politics at the expense of the working class; and the failure to address the candidate’s growing “trust problem” or to learn from events and reposition.

Base and Identity at the Expense of Class….Clinton and the campaign acted as if “demographics is destiny” and a “rainbow coalition” was bound to govern. Yes, there is a growing “Rising American Electorate,” but as Page Gardner and I wrote at the outset of this election, you must give people a compelling reason to vote. I have demonstrated for my entire career that a candidate must target white working-class voters, too.


Not Addressing the “Trust ProblemClinton’s “trust problem” grew as the campaign progressed. Large numbers of voters didn’t trust her. But her campaign was reluctant or frozen in addressing it. Why? Bill Clinton, after all, faced cascading controversies in 1992 around Gennifer Flowers, his draft avoidance, and marijuana, with large majorities thinking he didn’t have the character to be president. The right had marshaled attack squads, and other Democratic candidates were pummeling him for telling voters whatever they wanted to hear in the primaries.

America’s Progress and Pain …Hillary Clinton fully identified with President Obama’s vision on identity, opportunity, honest government, inequality, the economy, and America’s upward direction, viewing his campaign and governance as successful. She stocked her campaign with his consultants and those who had worked in his White House.

Clinton’s default position was Obama’s refrain about America …Clinton’s default position was Obama’s refrain about America, but she did invite real discussion of these issues and got close to embracing a change posture during some economic speeches and her convention address, and in the debates. But when the campaign got rocked, she reverted to the Obama narrative.

Embracing Pocketbook Pain—But Not Enough  …After that, I was asked to look at drafts of Clinton’s economic speeches before and after the convention, as well as drafts of her convention acceptance speech. Podesta had me share my emails with Jake Sullivan and Dan Schwerin and later asked me to write a short text in her voice that uses “stronger together” but also hit my “level the playing field” points. I was asked to brief Mandy Grunwald, who was managing the debate prep.

Complications, Distractions, and the Campaign Off-Message ….The Russian-hacked emails and FBI Director James Comey’s re-opened investigation put the Democrats at growing risk, particularly with Clinton largely silent on the economy. Bill Clinton told Carville that the campaign, maddeningly, believed Hillary “couldn’t win the economy,” and Podesta told me, “Mook believes we got nothing for all that time on the economy.” When I told him that Clinton was performing relatively well with white working-class women well into October, he said their data didn’t support that. I now realize this conclusion was based on Mook’s flawed analytics, not real polling. At Podesta’s urging, I wrote to Mook on November 1:

The Structural Forces: The Politics of Identity  …Hillary Clinton devoted a lifetime to battling and winning rights for groups that are at the heart of the liberal project, and she speaks for herself and a lot of progressives when she says that this is America’s unfinished work. So when she got slaughtered in New Hampshire by Sanders, who hammered economic inequality and political corruption, she won strong applause when she declared:

I believe so strongly that we have to keep up with every fiber of our being the argument for … human rights. Human rights as women’s rights, human rights as gay rights, human rights as worker rights, human rights as voting rights, human rights across the board for every single American. Now that is who I am.

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