Opinion: How Clinton lost

Stephen D’Abreau

Stephen D'Abreau

President-elect Donald J. Trump – what a weird thing to hear.

It’s quite surreal.

After all, how did Hillary Clinton lose? How were the polls so wrong? Why did this happen?

One thing that many Clinton supporters are saying is that America has chosen bigotry; that Americans voted for racism, misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia and the like. They are categorically wrong, and this is a large part of why she lost.

Trump did something thought to be impossible: He not only won battleground states like Ohio and Florida; he flipped several firm blue states red. Trump won Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — states that haven’t voted Republican since 1988 or even 1984. About 30 years of conventional politics vanished overnight.

So does that mean racism and bigotry won? No, that’s not what happened. All five of the states mentioned above voted for now-President Barack Obama, twice. That means, logically, people who voted for Obama either didn’t believe in Clinton enough to turn out, or they voted against her via Trump or third party. Yes, it is very likely some of the people living right here in the Midwest and Northern states who voted for the black, self-proclaimed feminist, running on a platform including gay marriage in 2012, voted for Trump in 2016.

There was no influx of Alabaman, gay-hating, misogynistic Klansman that just stole this race from Clinton. The Democratic Party failed with its own voters, some of who may not have even been born the last time their state voted Republican. Many blue-leaning voters went for Trump, the third party candidates, or stayed home by the millions.

Why? Liberal politics have alienated not just the American people, but their own past supporters. The constant sanctimonious pearl-clutching at the evils of Trump made liberals look like amazing hypocrites in light of the corruption of their own party (from how the Democratic National Convention treated Sanders to the inconsistent morals of the Clintons).

The unending character assassination of the Clinton campaign stopped talking about the issues, and failed to give any reason to love Clinton – assuming the words “racist” or “misogynist” held enough sting in them to still make a difference and make people hate Trump.

The Democrats lost touch with the blue collar Midwestern working class – men and women, black and white, and otherwise. These were the votes that made this election what it was, not the few farmers who have voted the same way since the ‘70s. These are the votes that switched sides or stayed home, sinking the Democrats’ hopes for Congress, the Supreme Court, and executive offices all at once.

The lesson for Clinton supporters I have is one I actually warned of earlier: Stop shouting racism, misogyny, and bigotry at everything, and actually talk about the issues and your policies. You have worn down those virtue signaling blades to absolute dullness, so now even Trump is immune. It’s the boy who cried wolf, and now your wolf has actually come and eaten your government.

For Trump supporters — well, the real work begins now. Let us see if you really will make America great again, or bring disaster to us all.

Stephen D’Abreau is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].