Something I’ve never understood in all this michegas is how the primary campaign was supposed to be rigged. The type of contest most likely to be rigged is the caucus. HRC got beat in most of those contests. In many of them she lost handily. If the whole thing was rigged why would the powers-that-be allow it drag on so long and for Mrs. Clinton to lose so many contests and by such wide margins in places like Washington State where she lost the caucus by over 50 points?
The plain fact of the matter is that she won the big primaries where the greatest number of pledged delegates were at stake. She reached the majority of the pledged delegates threshold with room to spare and did not need the much-maligned superdelegates.
If memory serves me correctly it was Senator Sanders all but imploring those superdelegates to switch their alliances and support him for the nomination because of the “seriousness” of the e-mail investigation. In other words, overturn the will of the voters to give it to the person who finished well back in 2nd place.
Mrs. Clinton won the primary popular vote count by about 4 million votes. This wasn’t a Florida 2000 redux with hanging chads and microscopic margins separating the two candidates. She won the popular vote in a landslide and won quite easily among pledged delegates.
The way delegates are apportioned during the primaries is kind of insane if you ask me. Lots of rules that are seemingly tailor-made for long and drawn-out contests that have the potential to harm the eventual nominee. My guess the long primary season and the leftward lurch by HRC to nail down the nomination eventually did her in for the general election. She was forced to take positions that alienated voters who might plump for the Dems on kitchen table issues but who step off the bus on cultural matters. In a year of working-class nationalist anger it was unwise for the two leading Dem candidates to compete to see how many people they were going to release from prison once in office.
The left as a whole seemed to miss how far the American voters had gotten in their disenchantment with the neoliberal economic and trade order that has held sway since Reagan. Sanders tapped into the economic angst but didn’t seem to tumble to the cultural factors involved. Mrs. Clinton didn’t either. The “blue wall” didn’t hold. Places like Scranton, PA and smaller cities and towns across the Midwest doomed HRC’s chances. Whether the voices of anger and fear weren’t heard or were just ignored we may never know. Post-election pieces have been done by various media outlets over the last several months and it is amazing to watch these folks from small towns and cities in the Rust Belt talk about not voting for Clinton and the oftentimes large margins she lost by in contrast to Obama either winning them both times or keeping things pretty even.
This lawsuit seems more than counterproductive. The upcoming midterms and the 2020 contest are unique opportunities for Democrats to gain and hold power for many years to come, maybe even to relegate the GOP to long-term minority status. Though if Democrats are fighting each other in legal actions and potentially draining resources away from the upcoming electoral contests, that is tragic.
One big lesson from this last election for Democrats, whether conservative or moderate or liberal, is that the first step is winning. Run the right candidates in the right places and leave litmus tests behind. Don’t take the utter incompetence of the opposition to be the sign of a sure victory.
Look what happened in November. Understand where the voters are coming from. Learn what their true hopes and dreads are and build your campaigning around that. Better polling by the Clinton campaign and the Democrats as a whole last year would have shown them that all the negative campaigning about the louche morals and sexist attitudes at the top of the other ticket just didn’t have the impact one would have expected. The boorishness just didn’t matter to a significant swath of voters that were looking for a change of direction and the promise of better economic times ahead.
A more effective tactic would have been to undermine the working-class bona fides of the opposition and expose how little they cared about the “little guy.” A great many working-class, and generally socially conservative, voters, even among working-class white women, simply ignored the character issues in the hopes that a new type of president would reverse a long-term slide in their social positions. That slide can be traced to the globalization of the U.S. economy for a big percentage of these voters. Tariffs and tearing up trade deals appealed to these voters. Reopening steel mills and iron works and other heavy industrial sectors was music to the ears of a lot of voters in OH, PA, MI, WI and other places. Sure, these voters got sold a bill of goods, but they couldn’t know that then, but it should be dawning on them about now.