Why Democrats Lost

Kenneth Whitley, WPA poster, 1939

I voted for Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama was absolutely right when he said that there was no candidate better qualified to be president than Hillary Clinton. So, why did Democrats lose?

When asked about raising the minimum wage–while Bernie Sanders was calling for a $15.00 an hour minimum wage–Hillary took the politically safe route and said we should pursue “incremental changes.” Holy crap. My head exploded. Talk about poor optics. Talk about being completely out of touch with your base of support. Let’s do another fundraiser with Wall Street bankers in the freaking Hamptons. Can you imagine how that sounded to a single mother trying to feed her kids on a $9.00 an hour job? Incremental change? We don’t need incremental change. We need someone to call 911. We’re dying here.

Hillary Clinton lost one million Democratic and independent women voters in 2016. Imagine that.

So here’s the not-so-secret answer to why Democrats lost in 2016: Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t a radical fringe element. They are the Democratic Party. They are the ideological heirs of FDR, John F. Kennedy and LBJ. They are the same social democrats who created social security, medicaid, passed the civil rights acts, and protested the unnecessary wars and the military-industrial complex. They didn’t abandon the Democratic Party. They were abandoned by the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has strived to become more conservative and politically safe. And in doing so has become politically irrelevant.

2 thoughts on “Why Democrats Lost

  1. I don’t care which end of the spectrum the candidate comes from, I’ll vote for the Democrats straight up and down until the day I die…which may be sooner than later thanks to Republican’s awful replacement of Obamacare.

    Whether it had been Hillary or Bernie, they wouldn’t have had a congress to work with. Democrats were also unable to gain majorities in either house.

    Living in a red state, I understand the problems Democrats face when voting for local and state representation. Gerrymandered out of the game, has given Republicans such an advantage that in many cases, there aren’t Demcorats willing to put up the money to run candidates for a minimal chance at a close second.

    I attribute much of the nonsense we are dealing with, to right wing talk radio. I happen to listen to it every night and know exactly where ther right wing talking points are coming from. Are they being told lies? Yes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is always a pleasure to hear from you, old friend. I understand what you’re saying and I agree. I’m a big “D” democrat too. If you have a capital “D” in front of your name I’ll probably vote for you. I voted for Sanders and I voted for Clinton.

      Like so many Democrats, I’ve been grappling with understanding what happened in 2016 and how we can avoid repeating the error in the future. It’s obviously pretty important that we get this right, so that America is never again threatened as it is today by the forces of greed, ignorance and hatred. America is under an unprecedented attack by its domestic enemies. These are frightening times.

      Democrats being in serious denial about the election doesn’t help. Many factors went into determining the election outcome, but some of the most significant are getting almost no recognition.

      My little editorial was aimed at underscoring the role that economic forces played in the outcome of the 2016 election, how a conservative agenda has overtaken the Democratic Party, and the utter failure of the Democratic Party establishment to appreciate the forces that drove the populism of the 2016 election.

      Gerrymandering certainly played a significant role in 2016, as did voter suppression efforts. But overemphasizing the importance of these factors is to see American politics through a hyperpartisan lens in a way that simply doesn’t matter to a third of the electorate.

      How do the current political memes explain why so many Obama voters went for Trump? And why so women who voted for Obama didn’t vote for Clinton? Racism? Misogyny? These are ridiculous explanations.

      I live in a deep red state too. How does one explain a great progressive Democrat like Brad Henry being elected to two terms as governor in ultra-conservative Oklahoma by the same voters who then elect a clueless tea party sweetheart like Mary Fallin to the next two terms? It can’t. Traditional big “D” versus big “R’ political analyses completely ignore the independent voters who actually decide the outcomes of elections.

      And if it isn’t bad enough that the Democratic Party has been ignoring these all important independent voters, we now have a party establishment that actually treats a majority of their own voter base as some kind of undesirable radical fringe element, because these voters had the audacity to favor a primary candidate that was not hand-chosen by the DNC.

      When we have a candidate as overqualified to be president as Hillary Clinton and still lose an important election to a circus clown, then we really do need to rethink our game.

      Like

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