The hush of shock has descended on my liberal neighborhood. The funereal quiet is equivalent to when the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl in the final seconds to the despised machine-like New England Patriots. On the streets that night after the game you could hear a pin drop. It was the same last night.
The Democrats have some soul-searching to do, but how can they do it? They tomahawked Bernie Sanders who likely would have won in the Rust Belt that was Clinton's undoing. In a different age there would be a pogrom at the Democratic National Committee. But we know from experience that, zombie-like, present leadership will stumble on (and that includes Richard Trumka at the American Federation of Labor).
The postmortem by Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith is terrific:
The election outcome was based not just on Clinton being a terrible candidate on the merits, but on the abjectly poor conduct of the Clinton campaign.
Let us not forget that Clinton had every advantage: Presidential campaign experience, the full backing of her party, a much bigger ground apparatus, oddles of experts and surrogates, the Mighty Wurlitzer of the media behind her, an opponent widely deemed to be world-class terrible – utterly unqualified, undisciplined, offensive, with a mother lode of scandals – and what historically was deemed the most important asset of all, a large lead in fundraising.
Yet Clinton was a lousy campaigner and strategist. By all accounts, she was a micromanager who regularly overrode her staff’s advice. All the big-ticket Madison Avenue spin-meistering could not get the dogs to eat enough dog food.
You don’t win voters by telling them they are stupid and beneath contempt. That is tantamount to saying you have no intention of representing them.
You don’t win voters by failing to offer a positive vision and selling only fear.
You don’t win voters by trying to get them to believe you’ll suddenly behave differently and take positions contrary to the ones you’ve held for decades to extract cash from the the richest and most powerful.
You don’t win voters with a record of failing upward.
You don’t win voters by saying your opponent is a sleaze, even when undeniably true, when you are at least as sleazy yourself.
And readers in Lambert’s live blog last night read Clinton’s defeat the same way:
John:The Red Wave is rolling across this country because
the Democrats wont listen to their base.
Waldenpond:Trump’s election is completely due to the incompetence and arrogance of the D elite.
Scott: It’s really amazing to see how little of the blame is going to Clinton herself. It was her decision to set-up a private email server. It was her decision to serve as Secretary of State while accepting millions from foreign governments. It was her decision to get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars while unofficially running for President. It was her decision to call millions of Americans deplorable.
Uahsenaa: The liberal histrionics and gnashing of teeth (especially on twitter) are actually just making me mad now. So, you sat out the fight from 2008 to the present and suddenly NOW the world is coming to an end. Where were you when Occupy was scuttled by your precious Democratic administration? Where were you when Secretary Clinton was negotiating away the last vestiges of labor rights in this country? Where have you been while state after state has passed right to work laws? Where were you when the current administration ramped up deportations? Where were you when the DoJ pumped weapons into Mexico just to see what would happen? Where were you when a sixteen year old American kid was blown to pink mist in Yemen? And the list goes on…
Smith thinks Trump is headed for the kind of one-term calamity Jimmy Carter experienced in the White House. She thinks the GOP will only be willing to work with Trump on the massive tax cuts he proposed. Smith is waiting to see if Trump will really go after Clinton; in particular, the Clinton Foundation:I should make this into a card that I hand to every single person tomorrow who blubbers about the coming apocalypse. The world was already on fire. Now the veil has been lifted. I’d hope to see these fresh discontents on the picket lines, but something tells me that’s unlikely.
There is one more Trump campaign promise that will serve as an important early test of his seriousness as well as his survival skills: investigating Clinton. Even if Obama pardons her, as our Jerri-Lynn Scofield has predicted, it will be critical for Trump to carry out a probe of the Clinton Foundation’s business while Clinton was Secretary of State.
If Trump is to cut the cancer of the neocons out of the policy establishment, he has to have them on the run. It is a reasonable surmise that Clinton’s enthusiasm for war was due at least in part to heavy Saudi support of the Foundation. Showing that American’s escalation in the Middle East, which Obama tried with mixed success to temper, was due in part, and perhaps almost entirely, to the personal corruption of the Secretary of State, would keep the hawks at bay, particularly if other prominent insiders and pundits were implicated in Clinton Foundation influence-peddaling.
It will be hard for Trump to do much to alter the course of the military-surveilance complex unless he can hamstring the warmongers. Just as Warren has argued relative to bank regulations, “personnel is policy.” If Trump is a fast learner, he’ll see that that is just as true on the foreign policy front.This assumes that Trump aspires to be a transformational leader, which I don't think is or ever was his intention. He is a pitchman who wanted the White House, and, because the duopoly is crumbling, he won it. He's smart enough to keep people distracted. The question is for how long.