If you ask Google for articles that analyze Hillary and the 2016 election almost 23 million choices are offered up by the search engine. Everyone has something to say about this. Some back their analyses with data, official results of various pre- and post-election polls, and some just wail away with their observations during and after the election, which I believe is also valid as long as they were paying attention. Obviously there were things going on that were flying just under the media radar and, although some of us may have sensed that both sides were not equally guilty of the viciousness of the 2016 election, we had no real proof and no clear voice. Hillary’s campaign was using standard operating procedures which can be dirty up to a point, but which usually do not skirt our laws and our Constitution.
Hillary is hardly a revolutionary. She likes progressive ideas but is too much of a pragmatist to think that asking for a lot is the best way to get some. She knows too much about law-making and about the Federal budget. Bernie said things that were more wishes than realities, as far as Hillary was concerned. She did not believe his “people’s agenda” was suited to the economic realities of the times. She is too “bourgie,” people said. People were in the mood for drama, for revolt, for theater. She was too much the policy wonk. This goes a long way towards explaining why Bernie was such an explosive figure in the 2016 election.
The fact that Democrats were split both along age and gender lines did not help Hillary at all. Bernie Sanders had the millennial vote and his followers were passionate and idealistic. They were ready to get big money out of government. They were ready to give Capitalism a bit part in the American story going forward. They were going up against a muscular Republican Conservative order that was organized, rich and overwhelmingly in favor of Capitalism and the prominence it held in the economies of modern nations. Most Conservatives don’t seem to have a communal, barter, new economy bone in their bodies (except maybe David Brooks who misses the sense of community of the post-World War II era).
It would have been hard enough if Hillary only had to run against a “true believer” from the GOP. Fox News and Talk Radio and the Supreme Court had prepared the way so well. And Hillary made human errors that were unintended gifts to the Republicans. The Grand Old Party had been demonizing Hillary since the Clintons were in the White House. They could forgive philandering because many of them had “slipped” into sin, but they could not forgive getting caught and caught in such a “sacred” place as the Oval Office. The sins of the husband are also the sins of the wife in the judgment of many. Republicans played it all up. They never shut up about the Clintons. They hammered away for decades and the effects kept intensifying so there was no reason to stop and we got Benghazi and when Benghazi looked like it would fizzle a bit too soon, Trey Gowdy pulled the email “scandal” out of the Benghazi investigation records and so, something that was basically a clerical decision, worked like a powerful accusation to pursue Hillary with because it could be tinged with a whiff of “treason”.
The GOP loves to accuse their opponents of the very things they are doing themselves to deflect attention from their own misdeeds. And when they pulled in James Comey just before Election Day, they delivered their coup de grace and it offered up even more propaganda magic, especially if you add it to all the other skullduggery in this campaign. And Hillary wasn’t running against a “teabagger”, a typically wingnut Republican. She was running against a true nut with a penchant for really dirty fighting and no political background to rein in his imagination with tradition. She was running against someone who said that he could shoot someone in Central Park and he would not be hurt by such an act. And he was right. I was even afraid for Hillary sometimes in this travesty of an election.
Fake news did not appear on my radar until just before the election. At least not the truly scandalous fake news. I was more than aware of the media on the right and their fake news, but the truly horrendous stuff never appeared on my Facebook page, perhaps because someone knew it would end up in an article. I did not realize that Hillary was being accused of pedophilia and human trafficking or even of taking part in ceremonies with the “13 families” or whatever where babies were eaten. I got a few odd comments from readers that accused Hillary of having ulterior motives for her work with women and babies, but I had no context with which to understand them. I guess from the alleged “murder” of Vince Foster Hillary just graduated to someone whose teeth literally dripped blood.
I’m not sure how people came to believe that the Clinton campaign had a hand in hacking the computers at the DNC but for someone so obviously evil it was just a baby step to go this far. We all thought it was odd that Trump sweet-talked Putin but we were, for the most part, unaware of all the connections between his campaign people and Russians or Ukrainians or Turks. We may have felt a frission of fear, a little shiver down the spine to have Russia so prominently present in election debates but the true scope of involvement would not bubble up until after the election.
Hillary does not bear the biggest burden of guilt for losing the election in 2016. It was hardly an ordinary election. The stakes were very high and the GOP very determined and better organized than ever before. They had carefully planned to stage their coup and it got trumped. But they pulled their ashes from the fire and rode the mad train into control of all three branches of government. It looks like they will finally get most of what they want and heaven help us all. To me “we the people” will suffer some tragic loses because we could not coalesce and ignore the noisy distractions and elect Hillary Clinton.
Why did the media desert Hillary and the Democrats? I cannot forgive them for the jumping on the email bandwagon and pumping up Hillary’s sins despite the fact that they seemed laughable next to the sins of her opponent. People like Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell piled on to the demonization of Hillary because, I guess, they just don’t like her. Weren’t they even once honest with themselves about what a Trump presidency would be like? They had to have realized the extreme political measures that the Republicans had taken to come out on top in the election. Did they start to lean right themselves because of their own really very moderate beliefs?
I no longer listen to mainstream news. I trust Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Joy Reid. Occasionally I listen to PBS or the BBC. Everyone else is culpable for Hillary’s loss in the 2016 election and they put us all in the grip of a madman and a rogue political party. We can resist but damage will be done. Where were all the people who bemoan Trump’s election before November of 2016? Almost everyone bears more guilt for Hillary’s failure than Hillary does and I don’t buy that she lost the whole thing because she didn’t go to Michigan or she didn’t pour enough heart into campaigning. She may have just been too moderate for the 2016 election or too carefully demonized, or both. I thought that it would be revolutionary enough to elect a woman. However it’s now obvious that men were in no way ready to share power in the US at that lofty level. Hillary Clinton is who she is and I do not blame Hillary for Trump at all.