Dear Democrats: Don’t Listen to Hillary Clinton’s “Advice" on Winning

I voted for Clinton in 2008. She has no right to lecture others about winning after losing to Trump.

Hillary Clinton recently came out of the political wilderness to give advice on how the Democrats can win, using the same strategy that caused her to lose. Twice.

Which would be great if her 'lurch to the right to win over moderate Republicans' strategy worked in the 2008 primary and in the general in 2016. It didn’t and I say this as a former supporter of hers.

My Political Evolution

It was my first election and my first ever vote. I was in a classroom filled with about 70 people huddled into two different camps deciding on who we would vote for in the upcoming Presidential Caucus. One side of the room was a group of young voters my age and on the other was a side of older people, the former was for Barack Obama the latter was for Hillary Clinton. I thought about who to vote for and to the surprise of everyone I voted for then-Senator Clinton.

I was more fiscally conservative at the time and although I was aware Clinton’s vote to authorization the invasion of the failed War in Iraq, I cast my ballot because I believed she had a more comprehensive healthcare plan while Senator Obama didn’t. I didn’t agree with her hawkishness at the time, but I believed back then she would listen to a brain trust unlike Bush who lied to everyone about the reason for invading Iraq.

It was during the Obama years that I gradually moved from the center to the left as I witnessed an administration fail to prosecute Bush officials for authorizing torture, give into every demand of the Republicans despite holding 59 Senate Seats and 258 House seats, and a scale up of Bush’s foreign policy. And most importantly failing to prosecute a single banker who helped crash our economy wiping out many of the hard earned saving my friends had collected to try to pay off their student loans.

Warning Signs

This anger at the injustice with the big banks and under-promising to deliver real change fueled populism in the United States the led to the rise of a reality tv star named Donald Trump. As President Obama continued to push for TPP (which included the investor state settlement dispute to allow corporations the ability to overturn national laws) that populism began to swell in the United States which neither Clinton nor Obama seemed to address. The void was filled by Donald Trump. Despite his businesses having a history of exploiting women from Honduras and paying them less than what they’re worth, his economic populist message about bringing back domestic jobs and withdrawing from the unpopular TPP was very attractive in the rust belt.

$1 Billion and Ignorance

Hillary Clinton raised $1 billion and ignored the warning signs that she was losing ground in previously Democratic leaning states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The last one she never visited once after the primaries were finished. She ran 60% negative ads against Trump on personality instead of what voters really wanted to hear about: policy. Her team (especially Robby Mook) ignored warning signs from former Sanders delegates and even union officials in Michigan as Trump held rallies all over the place gaining steam. Sanders delegates even volunteered to hand over a list of organizers who could help her win swing state voters but were repeatedly dismissed and mocked.

“They mocked us, they made fun of us. They always had a… model that was supposed to save the day. We were street activists and they don’t get that. And that’s a fundamental divide. They ran a check-the-box, sanitized campaign. And voters don’t think like that. You don’t win elections that way.” — Nebraska Democratic Party Chair and Sanders Delegate Jane Kleeb

Bernie Sanders held 39 rallies for her in 13 states leading up to the election, three times more than the 12 she held for Obama in 2008. Sanders did it with grace and respectfulness despite knowing that Clinton’s team actively undermined his campaign, he was willing to put all that aside and she still acts ungrateful towards him.

Clinton Lost to Someone MORE Unpopular

How? How could you outspend your opponent two to one with higher favorability ratings and STILL lose to them? That fact seems to be lost on the part of most journalists and the media. Although both candidates were historically unpopular all she had to do was call out his hypocrisy on trade, on immigration, and denounce her husband’s free trade agreements. Instead, she ran solely on an anti-Trump platform and a policy free campaign hoping to get disaffected Republican voters. And it resonated with nobody outside her circle. Her team were so confident they were going to win they popped open champaign just hours before the polls had closed.

I’m a believer in genuine democracy and one of those values involve accepting and reflecting on what you did wrong. You’re the candidate that lost to Donald Trump that is nobody’s fault but your own. Pause, reflect, and thoughtfully tell the people who worked their ass off for you why you failed to win the White House to someone 8% more unpopular than you. It’s not easy to admit failure, but it’s better to take responsibility and accept than consistently blame others for your tone-deaf campaign.

A person that really enjoys writing about food, culture, politics, justice, climate change, relationships, and other interesting topics.