Why Hillary Clinton Lost the Electoral College: She Failed To Focus On Herself
There is so much impassioned sadness right now after the American election, so much fear that the rest of the nation is so misogynist that what little safety women have accomplished has been abandoned, but there is that niggling message of fairness in my brain that is telling me to look at the issue critically, to realize that Clinton ran a poorly constructed campaign.
I am devastated to see Trump and President in the same space. I am so sad that even winning the popular vote, Hillary Clinton couldn’t win the election, and like any one person, I have been left to wonder what went wrong. How was it that Clinton failed to connect with so many people? Fox News claimed there were underground “Trumpers,” people who wanted Trump but didn’t want to tell anyone. Other pundits claimed Clinton was a “weak” candidate, which I can’t believe. No one can make it through the campaign trail like that and still be a weak person.
She didn’t campaign in Wisconsin, a normally Democratic state, as in didn’t. campaign. at. all. She lost Wisconsin. She tried to capitalize on putting Trump down when she should have been appealing to her voting constituents. In other words, she bought into the trap, focusing her energies on trying to top Donald instead of campaigning for herself. And, sadly, it worked. She never stood up for herself, focused on herself. Here is where women across the U.S. put their heads down on their tables and cry, because we all know that feeling, and we have found out that even a Presidential candidate who focuses too much on one man can lose herself. If she can do, what hope do we have?
In the Halloween edition of The New Yorker, on page 48, Clinton states that voters want a narrative, they want someone to blame. And this probably, more than any other statement, defines Clinton’s perspective. She understands that voters want a narrative they can believe in, but then she is incapable of delivery. Her next step is to blame voters, almost for their stupidity, and it’s this condescension, this combination of a little bit of glimpse followed by blindness that hindered Clinton. Clinton stated she wanted to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour, but it this past election, multiple states raised the minimum wage higher than that, and it didn’t take an act of Congress or a President to do it. In other words, Clinton couldn’t give them what they felt they needed.
To extend that logic, how is it that Trump gave people what they needed, and how humiliating is it that Trump gave so many people what they needed? It appears that the working class are sick of being working class for lower and lower rates of pay. The man with the most money wins. He gets immunity, and this feeds into their most base feelings of victimization.
Of course, other countries have elected clowns. Look at Italy, at Berlusconi, at the way he paid for prostitutes with state funds, and then the way the EU pushed back, imposed austerity measures. One could say that the world fought back, but I wonder who paid the price, the Italian people? So it is with all of us that we fear being punished for the evil clown.
Other evil clowns? Putin, whom nobody in Russia mentions without making the sign of the cross. Putin has said he wants to renew relations with the US, and according to my daughter, Trump will give him a sloppy face lick and declare “friends,” oblivious to the danger of meeting a fellow sociopath. And this element of grandiosity, the lack of fear is what scares the hell out of all Americans who didn’t vote for him.
Trumpers never pledged to do anything to “make America great again,” completing their victimization tears, they were content to let Trump take care of them, bask in the paternalism of scary money. Clinton supporters, on the other hand, always felt that they had work to do, but it was misdirected work. No one wants to take up the mantle of liberating the masses, because that seems like too much work. Better to hand that off to someone like Trump who predicts empty promises.
What could Clinton have done? She could have focused on herself, on her platforms, instead of responding to Trump every time. She could have been emotionally available to greet her voters, come right out and asked for support. She could have asked for help, asked others to talk about voting for her, asked people to come out and support her. I am sad to say that Clinton’s mistakes are often the mistakes of women who aspire to power but don’t ask for help, don’t focus on themselves, on what they bring to the table. Lesson learned. Leaders, and especially women who lead: focus on your strengths, not what people say about you. Focus on your accomplishments. Tell people what you have done well. Tell people how you will make life easier for them. Don’t try to compete with pussy-grabbing comments, because no one wins. You don’t have to say it’s disgusting because everyone knows it–move on. Be proud. Fight for what you want.
Clinton didn’t question the electoral college like Trump vowed to, and Clinton never challenged the biggest chance she had to become President. Perhaps the electoral college would have found in her favor, but we will never know, because she didn’t fight for it, and she had a perfect right to do so. Al Gore did more than Clinton. It is at this juncture that Clinton could have shown what kind of leadership she had and questioned the machine that dealt her an unfair hand, could have pushed for the American voters that elected her by popular majority. Now, the world will never know what would have happened had the machinations played out according to the system, because Clinton gave in. Most likely she would have lost, but she would have held the system accountable, stood up for the people who voted her into office. It is in this, in her silence, in her capitulation, that Clinton’s leadership qualities have never been so deafeningly quiet.