So, I guess we are still doing this.
After three years of vitriol, pointing fingers, we are going to continue to rehash the spiteful unthinking cattiness of who’s to blame for Donald Trump being elected president.
Debra Messing made headlines last month when the television actress reignited a twitter feud over Susan Sarandon’s refusal to vote for Hillary in the 2016, thus implying she was somehow responsible for Trump’s election.
According to these people, Susan Sarandon is somehow the most powerful woman in the country. Apparently one actor had the influence to shift the balance of an entire election and the Mean Girls of Twitter are still taking their pound of flesh.
They were at it again recently.
Here are Zerlina Maxwell, a political analyst for MSNBC and former Director of “Progressive” (insert air quotes) Media for the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign and Armando Llorens, an editor at Daily Kos offering their expert analysis to the pile.
But the Bernie bros that were supposedly sexist.
Why is it that the establishment hacks such as Neera Tanden, Armando and Maxwell, and B-listers like Messing and Kathy Griffin simply will not stop attacking Susan Sarandon, Bernie Sanders & his supporters, or third party voters?
Zerlina was also caught lying last March when she claimed that Sanders didn’t mention race or gender until 23 minutes into his campaign kick-off speech, when in fact his opening sentence declared that the core message of his campaign was that,
“the underlying principles of our government” will “not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious bigotry…this campaign is going to end all of that.”
Still No Post Mortem of 2016
Former NBA basketball player Stewart Granger used to have a saying about missed calls on the court. “No autopsy, no foul.” One might think that losing the biggest upset in presidential election history to a candidate who had never held office might have given the Democrats pause to stop and reflect.
Instead, their outlook was basically what Granger said .
When the Republicans lost the election a second time to Barack Obama, they immediately went back to the drawing board to see how the system of white supremacy had failed them after 400 years. They did a rigorous 100 page autopsy, then set about to reinvent their strategy and reclaim almost every structure of power in America, despite only representing 23% of the electorate.
In other words, when it became clear to them that they were out of touch with the electorate they did a self searching appraisal of where it had gone wrong for them and then set about to reclaim power.
By the end of 2016 the Dems had lost the House, the Senate, the SupremeCourt, 34 state houses, executive branch and over 1100 seats nationwide to the GOP. Instead of doing an honest analysis, the post election narrative immediately was shifted the blame to Russia, third party voters, Bernie Sanders supporters and yes, even Susan Sarandon.
But were they really to blame?
An autopsy was written independently though was never able to command any attention over the cacophony of the new Red Scare. It’s true that Russia may have used social media to try to influence the outcome of the election, but to suggest that Russia, or Susan Sarandon alone were the reasons Trump beat Hillary is a gross dereliction of the facts.
Since then, “Russian troll” and “Putin apologist” have become the automatic rebuttals and terms of abuse to anyone that challenges this narrative. I’m sure some will even accuse this piece of such allegation. Most won’t bother to finish reading it. Cognitive dissonance is a feeling of discomfort that occurs when we are presented with information that contradicts our beliefs. It’s a lot easier to mindlessly repeat the same tropes that reduce a very complicated cumulation of events and conditions to simple sound bytes than it is to examine all the hard truths.
I didn’t want to do this, but my hand was forced by the snide and baseless attacks against a woman who has used her platform to make a difference her entire career. She stood up for the 99% during Occupy. She stood up for Syrian refugees actually joining sea rescue missions in Greece.
When I asked her to join our cause #BankExit cause for Standing Rock in 2016, she helped launch one of the most successful divestment campaigns in U.S. History against the big banks funding pipelines, weapons contractors, private prisons and immigrants detention centers that has cost these destructive institutions billions of dollars.
So here is my autopsy of the 2016 election and 27 reasons Trump won that have nothing to do with Susan Sarandon.
1. Media Malpractice
Imagine what would have happened if the corporate media had not broadcasted Trump’s circus 24/7.
Nothing that’s what.
He would still be just another self-obsessed trust fund baby turned reality t.v. hack.
Leading up to the 2016 race, corporate news ratings were declining fast. In a time when most people were turning to social media for their information, he was like a gift from on high — or below as the case may be.
Throughout the course of the election cycle, the networks gave Donald Trump over $3 Billion in free advertising. They even broadcasted empty stage at a Trump press conference while Bernie Sanders was simultaneously addressing a record crowd of 40–50,000 people in Washington Square Park in New York City.
Here is CEO of CBS in his own words on Donald Trump and the 2016 election:
Leslie Moonves on Donald Trump: “It May Not Be Good for America, but It’s Damn Good for CBS.”
Not convinced yet? He goes on to say…
“Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun…I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going…Donald’s place in this election is a good thing.”
The Cable news’ election-year haul reached upwards of $2.5 billion.
There was once a time when journalists were an integral part of the checks and balances that kept the people informed and able to make decisions based on facts. In 2016 the media is but one of many of the so-called democratic institutions that failed us. Not only did they lie to us to keep the money train going but they laid the ground work for Trump’s post fact world and his famous diatribe, “FAKE NEWS”
Much of what the corporate media has reported about Trump was of course true. The reason“fake news” has become the mantra of Trump supporters to deny anything remotely criticizing their furor, was because it had the ring of truth it. It had the ring of truth to it because they were lying to us and manipulating the facts constantly.
Instead of telling Democrats to fight for every vote, corporate media pundits routinely said that there was no way that Hillary would lose. Rachel Maddow at one point even said that South Carolina was “light pink” and that they were in a dead heat in the deep red state.
She lost that race by 15 points alone.
Here is what the country looked like by the end of election night by county.
The liberal corporate media outlets endlessly told Democratic voters that there was no way Trump could win. Watch the compilation here.
We are supposed to be able to trust in the expert commentary of our journalistic institutions. Beyond elevating Trump, the corporate media was complicit in suppressing the vote in the primaries against the candidate who, according to every available metric, most likely would have won in a landslide.
There were too many instances of media malpractice to recount, but here are a few examples:
· The Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post actually ran 16 negative stories in 16 hours against Bernie Sanders prior to the California primary, according to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
· Mainstream media commentary drove the narrative that the California primary was over before it began based on the fact that almost 400 unelected super-delegates pledged for Hillary before voting even began. They did not mention that super-delegates do not vote until the convention, and can change their allegiance as they did for Barack Obama in 2008.
· Investigative journalist Lee Feng revealed in his Intercept piece that T.V. pundits were often brought on by networks to praise Hillary, but were never revealed to have been retained by Clinton Super-PAC’s.
· The Associated Press announced that Clinton had won the nomination on the eve of the decisive California primary with its 475 delegates up for grabs, before a single ballot was cast.
The impact of this media malpractice was disastrous. Equally disastrous has been the failed #RussiaGate narrative that may cost the Democrats the 2020 election. It will certainly give 45 ample ammunition to fire up his base.
Edward Murrow, who once denounced McCarthy’s Red Scare, would be rolling in his grave. And yet for some reason people keep turning to these outlets for their political opinions. This subject alone could merit it’s own autopsy, and we won’t be able to cover every example of media collusion.
As egregious as these distortions are, perhaps the biggest the corporate media told us was that everything was fine.
Thomas Frank’s book Listen, Liberal should be required reading for every CNN watching democrat in the country. It comprehensive provides the accurate context the pundits forgot, which was as follows:
Supposedly because of Obama’s administration unemployment was down, the stock market was up and productivity increased steadily. For working Americans however the median income did not change since 2007. There were no increases in wages. The cost of tuition and rent has skyrocketed. Health care costs have risen faster than the average annual income.
From the 1930’s until 1980, the bottom 90% of the country took home 70% of the growth in America’s income. Since the time of the dot com bubble in 1997 we have taken home zero percent of the growth, and the country’s financial sector have taken home nearly all of it. Walmart’s Walton family alone owns more wealth than the entire bottom 40% of U.S. citizens which is more than 130 million people.
Hillary ran on the platform that she was a continuation of Obama’s America, when the reality was radically different. Trump saw this and played it to his advantage. Both the Clinton campaign and media focused on fear-mongering identity politics while Trump actually told the truth about the rigged economy. Even if he was lying about caring for the common man, his message resonated because he promised to fight for the American worker against the liberal elite establishment that had made their lives a constant struggle.
The conservative media as played a huge role in creating the conditions that fomented the hatred that could give rise to a demagogue like Trump. In this climate he was able to capitalize on the Obama “birther” conspiracy movement becoming a fringe hero of the racist right.
Fox news regularly drove narratives that Obama was fascist, communist, socialist, and even racist whipping the base into a frenzy. This was compounded by the huge influx of dark money by the Koch brothers energizing the The Tea Party-Evangelical base. This shifted the ideological posture of the right significantly. Three in five Tea Party supporters watched Fox News. The GOP tried to suppress this base and the leaders that rose from it, but eventually the monster they created could not be controlled.
Beyond this, both corporate news wings of the duopoly became so polarized in their narratives and departed so drastically from credible journalism, that outside of each echo chamber the truth was rendered meaningless.
2. Hillary’s Negative Net Favorability
Net Favorability ratings indicate whether the public’s overall sentiment toward a politician is favorable (positive), unfavorable (negative), or neutral.
Net favorables are perhaps the most telling predictor of electability. Trump and Clinton were the number one and two least-popular nominees on record.
Corporate media analysts and pundits almost never alerted voters 70% of all voters thought she was untrustworthy and dishonest.
Clinton and Trump were the most disliked candidates ever recorded. Low voter enthusiasm will always favor republicans. They do everything they can to suppress the vote. In a presidential election after all it is important that they like you, and especially important for liberals and progressives.
note: Sanders, the candidate Susan Sarandon is supporting currently has a net favorability rivaling Obama and Ronald Reagan
3. Cambridge Analytica
Remember those fun little personality tests on Facebook?
Little did we know they would enable a data mining British political consulting firm to collect 5000 data points on every American voter and weaponize them
The company, received $15 million from wealthy Republican donor Robert Mercer and was once run by Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist for Trump 2020 and Dark Sith Lord.
Bannon tasked the firm with identifying the personalities of US voters and potentially influencing how they behaved. Cambridge Analytica was able to capture psychological profiles of these voters by scraping the likes, private messages, and statuses.
They focused on people who the personality data identified as persuadable in swing states, and broke down the target areas by key precincts. According to Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, Trump’s camp tested 175,000 ad variations in a single day.
Which day? The third presidential debate.
The team used the data to fuel his positions and fine tune the message the American people needed to hear in order to trust him just enough to step into the booth and make the call.
One of the most overlooked reasons for the swing in politics was the establishment’s inability to react. Personalized content through blogs, videos, ads until theirs beliefs and opinions were converted to votes.
psy·cho·graph·ics /ˌsīkōˈɡrafiks/ noun the study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, especially in market research.
Guess who else funded Cambridge Analytica’s parent company The SCL Group (Strategic Communication Laboratories)? These psy-op tactics were employed by the US Army, CIA, Special Forces, British Army, Navy, and US State Department for over two decades. SCL’s tactics were proven successful to suppress the vote and tip the balance in elections in Trinidad, Argentina, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Italy, Kenya, Columbia, Ukraine, Malaysia, Kenya, Romania, Ghana and many others.
SCL formed Cambridge Analytica to participate in the election process in the United States. It entered the U.S. market in 2012, and was involved in 44 U.S. congressional, US Senate and state-level elections in the 2014 midterm elections. Before Donald Trump the firm was hired by Ted Cruz’s campaign.
Personality behavior social media micro targeting, in the end won out over conventional campaigning and t.v. ads. The Democratic party played it the exact same way as the last several elections. They failed to innovate, like the big record companies who fought Napster and never recovered.
You can watch the full story on the Netflix documentary The Great Hack. It is well worth the watch. But what does all of this have with Susan Sarandon or Russia?
Not a goddamn thing.
4. Neoliberals & Global Trumpism
“ Donald Trump didn’t create this swamp. He just rose from it” -Bill Maher
During the 2016 election many democrats first learned the word “neoliberalism”. They heard it a lot in relation criticisms of the presumptive nominee. So much so that to many the word lost all meaning.
It is imperative to understand the rise of neoliberal economic policies so that one may understand the conditions that lead to the rise of Trump.
But what is neoliberalism exactly?
It is basically a Frankenstein hybrid of social liberalism and trickle-down Reaganomics. Free-market capitalism. Globalization. De-regulation. Privatization.
The Democrats spent the better part of the 80’s and early 90’s getting their asses kicked by the Republicans so Bill Clinton and his contemporaries decided, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Ideologically speaking.
They formed the Third Way Democrats. There was plenty of drama over abortion and cigars but the two factions became virtually indiscernible save their positions on abortion and guns. Under the Clinton Administration, financial markets and institutions were deregulated. The fallout from the Glass-Steagall Act, and NAFTA his came to define Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
Trump’s victory came as a shock to just about everyone. It was not however a shock to a Scottish professor of international political economy at Brown University.
Mark Blyth had predicted both Trump’s election and Brexit. They were symptoms of a larger phenomena he called “Global Trumpism.” This brand of far right, white nationalist anti-establishment populism was happening all over Europe and to anyone that understood the broader economic context could easily have predicted the outcome on November 9th, after the popularity of Brexit, Alternative for Germany, Marine Le Pen and the National Front, and Matteo Salvini’s neo-fascist party in Italy.
The U.S. election results were not a local event.
Neoliberalism had created enormous wealth for the 1% outsourcing manufacturing jobs to Trump would be elected. The liberal Economic Policy Institute estimates that the median hourly wage has increased only 5.7% since 1973.
Here are excerpts from a post election panel that Blyth appeared on discussing the phenomena of Global Trumpism:
…And there was a moment when people began to figure out, for the past 30 years, going from 1985 until now, huge amounts of money have been generated in the global economy. And as we know from the work of Thomas Piketty and others, most of it has gone up to a tiny fraction of the population. There has been a huge amount of growth, but hardly anyone has seen any benefit.
…So they’re a bit fed up with this. And they’ve decided that any possible opportunity, whether it is Brexit, the Italian constitutional referendum, or anything, to basically give their elites notice: We’ve had enough of this. And that’s what this is.
….In 2015, Wall Street Bonuses, not regular compensation, bonuses, seven years after they were bailed out with the public purse, totaled $29.4 billion dollars.
Total compensation paid to every single person in this country who makes minimum wage totaled $14 billion. I’ll stop there…
Mark Blyth’s prediction and analysis puts the 2016 presidential race in a global context that must be understood if the Democrats hope to address the record levels of income inequality that will also come to define the 2020 election. If you really want to understand where we are at, watch this video, it will blow your mind.
In times of massive income inequality, the strain of survival amongst the people eventually gives rise to populism. Populism is a socio-political world view that appeals to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.
Populism generally manifests on the left as anti-militarism, anti-capitalism, social justice, pacifism and anti-globalization and on the right as anti-environmentalism, neo-nationalism, anti-globalization, nativism, protectionism, and scape-goating immigrants. We saw this prior to the Second World War with FDR’s post depression New Deal in America and Hitler’s rise to power in Europe.
Michael Moore predicted the outcome of the election and tried to warn the left in an article titled, “Trump Will Win”
Donald Trump presidency was “going to be the biggest f**k you ever recorded in human history”
“It’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump. He was the Malatov cocktail that they have been waiting for. The human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.
Hillary’s strategy was to call half of Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.” The problem is that this is referring to 30 million voters that the POTUS is elected to govern. Not exactly the best strategy for attracting voters. The approach for courting the progressive vote wasn’t much different.
Steve Bannon remarked in an interview with Michael Lewis that they won on “Pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.
If 2016 proved anything, it’s that you never run an establishment candidate in a populist race!
You run a populist who has broken all fundraising records with small individual donors, draws enormous crowds, has Obama level net favorability, has marched with Martin Luther King Jr and has been on the right side of history for forty years.
A populist was destined to win the 2016 election. A populist is destined to win the 2020 election. The only question remains, will it be Hitler or FDR.
6. The “Republican” Strategy
“For every blue-collar Democrat we will lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two or three moderate Republicans in the suburbs of Philadelphia,” Chuck Schumer, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate, told The Washington Post
Yup. That was a thing.
In the 90’s the Clinton won by appealing to moderate swing voters. By 2016 the world was a very different place. Social and corporate media had driven the country into hyper polarization. Algorithms had well isolated us into echo chambers. This is what made us so vulnerable to fake troll accounts and Cambridge Analytica.
Did anyone ever stop to think why Ken Bone became such an instant internet phenomenon? Because finding anyone who was actually undecided between Hillary and Trump was like finding a unicorn. According to his Bill Maher interview he said he wasn’t actually undecided at all. None of the panelists actually were. The whole Ken Bone thing was completely contrived.
Plus everyone desperately needed a hokey diversion from the flaming dumpster fire that was the 2016 general election.
The strategy of Democrats playing to the right and center is over. Democrats won back the House in 2018 by running on a bold progressive policy agenda.
Trump won by firing up his base with issues they cared about. Consider this next time you hear someone talking about “ideas that are too radical” or the need to “win the center.” Too radical? Trump won on a platform of building a wall on the southern border to protect us from Mexican rapists stealing American jobs. He has all but shattered the Overton window.
Just as the 2018 midterms proved, liberals and progressives will get out the vote and campaign for policies that will improve the lives of Americans like Medicare4All, tuition free college, or a living wage.
Donald’s online following is a juggernaut. The numbers in the Facebook groups alone are terrifying and their memes are ubiquitous. There is even an entire mythology about how Trump supporters dominated the interwebs with the viral power of their memes. They called it “The Great Meme War”. There is a remarkable podcast by Radiolabs telling the story of how 4Chan came together to defeat Shia LaBeouf in the most spectacular and horrifying way.
Theses communities were deliberately targeted by Trump’s chief strategist and dark lord Steve Bannon, who had once experienced the power of the backlash of the gaming community and realized it was a untapped resource.
“You can activate that army. They come in through Gamergate or whatever and then get turned onto politics and Trump,” said Bannon.
The strange and ubiquitous sub culture that is the internet Trump became a meme God. Literally.
Here is a hard truth. Perhaps the greatest vulnerability on the left is the attitude of self-righteousness. According to recent studies, Americans hate pc culture. Even if we are correct about the myriad forms of oppression that exist, left to our own devises we can be a never ending barrage of pointing out “what’s wrong” with the world most people would prefer to tune out.
I have fallen into this trap often as well admittedly.
The “call-out culture” of the left gave rise to the reactionary anti-SJW (social justice warrior) internet subculture on Reddit and 4Chan. Steve Bannon was able to recognize its potential, co-opt and weaponize into a political tsunami.
Democrats didn’t take this seriously in 2016. If you aren’t taking this seriously yet, you really should be.
8. Social Media vs Ground Game
Clinton ran a very traditional top down campaign. Her digital game never quite connected with audiences and did not generate nearly the traction of Donald Trump.
Clinton spent $143.2 million on television ads, versus only $6.8 million for Trump.
In Florida, Clinton $36.6 million, versus just under $700,000 for Trump. Hillary for America spent 53 times as much as Team Trump. The differences in Ohio were $20.9 million versus $1.8 million, Pennsylvania $18.8 million versus $1.5 million and North Carolina $14.3 million versus $1.3 million.
It was thought that her extensive field operations would have given her a big advantage over Trump, who barely had more than a bare bones campaign staff. Clinton spent almost twice as much money as Trump on her campaign by election day.
But let’s talk about that ground game.
Here was a hot take from Van Jones offered post election:
“The Hillary Clinton campaign did not spend their money on white workers, and they did not spend it on people of color. “They spent it on themselves, let’s be honest.”
“…They took a billion dollars, a billion dollars, a billion dollars, and set it on fire, and called it a campaign! That wasn’t a campaign. That’s not a campaign.”
“…A billion dollars for consultants. A billion dollars for pollsters. A billion dollars for a data operation, that was run by data dummies who couldn’t figure out that maybe people in Michigan needed to be organized.”
“…First of all, you need to give the money back to the people, period. Quit getting rich off people’s struggles.”
We’re looking at you Neera Tanden and Adam Parkhomenko.
Van Jones was one of the only analysts that tried to warn people about Clinton’s vulnerabilities in the Rust Best and her low net favorability. Keith Ellison also tried. Mark Blyth called it. Fourth Reich media pundit Ann Coulter called it.
They were all laughed at.
So why no mention of Hillary’s campaign being to blame? Because the ones trying to distract voters with these narratives are the ones who took a billion dollars of Democrat donations to give bad advice.
As part of that campaign strategy, Hillary spent literally no time in Wisconsin, whereas Trump repeatedly campaigned in the state. Consequently the Badger State, which was supposed to be part of the Democrats “blue wall”, turned red. While the Clinton campaign was focusing on t.v. ads and not campaigning in battle ground states, Trump was holding giant rallies in those states and his digital team was running a much more sophisticated social strategy.
Accord AdAge article
“Both campaigns spent heavily on Facebook between June and November of 2016,” the author of the internal paper writes, citing revenue of $44 million for Trump and $28 million for Clinton in that period. “But Trump’s FB campaigns were more complex than Clinton’s and better leveraged Facebook’s ability to optimize for outcomes.”
Trump ran 5.9 million different versions of ads during the presidential campaign and rapidly tested them to spread those that generated the most Facebook engagement, according to the paper. Clinton ran 66,000 different kinds of ads in the same period.
Facebook’s elections advertising allowed campaigns to take lists of registered voters drawn from public records to target those people on Facebook. The Trump campaign also was able to suppress the vote with ads like one aimed at African American voters that was an animated version of Clinton talking about “juvenile super predators” in 1996, with the caption: “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators.”
You are also not hearing much mention of Facebook being to blame, even though they were well aware of what was happening and raking in the cash.
These were the top performing hashtags of 2016
· #CrookedHillary (3,560,321 posts)
· #ImWithHer (6,245,205 posts)
· #FeelTheBern (7,349,980 posts)
· #BlackLivesMatter (9,115,158 posts)
· #MAGA (Make America Great Again) (11,433,550 posts)
By 2016 social media had changed the landscape of political campaigning. The Trump campaign either out of necessity or by design changed the game. Donald Trump has already outspent every 2020 Democratic presidential candidate on Facebook ads.
In a 2015 interview Bill Clinton told Stephen Colbert that Trump was a master brander. He took out an entire field of republican career politicians without ever having run for elected office before.
Jeb Bush had a $130 million war chest and Trump ended his dynasty bid for the White House by branding his opponent with with three words:
“Low. Energy. Guy.”
Ted Cruz will never escape the nickname Trump branded him with:
Clinton was never able to get out from under Trump’s accusations of her being the epitome of the Washington establishment who has been selling American people out to their Wall Street cronies. It has always stuck because he finds his victims’ glaring vulnerabilities and reduces them to sound bites that stick.
Like a skillful playground bully the moniker “Crooked Hillary” stuck because it was already true on some level in most peoples’ minds.
The Trump campaign also was formidable as a brand itself. Even if the “Make America Great Again” slogan was stolen from Reagan’s 1980 campaign, it was a masterpiece of branding and merchandising. The red hat became a powerful symbol for the new brown shirts. Americans have been so conditioned by consumerism and advertising that a better brand will almost always win. “MAGA” in four words told a more powerful story that promised a return to an imaginary time when Americans could feel a sense of pride.
In stark contrast, “I’m With Her,” was all about Hillary, not the people. Trump’s brand was “the successful billionaire who speaks his mind and isn’t afraid to fight the democrats and liberal media for the American workers.” Meanwhile Hillary was never able to coherently define her own brand, which in the minds of most voters was, “dishonest political dynasty liberal elite war-monger with Wall St ties shoring up the status quo.”
Also, what exactly was the message that a giant red arrow which indicates moving to the right supposed to communicate to leftist voters?
At 78 million, millennial voters represented a third of the electorate, according to the Pew Research Center. In the Wisconsin primary, Sanders received 82% of the under 30 votes. He dominated this demographic.
Millennials flocked to Sanders because of his unabashed authenticity. He flew coach. He shopped at Costco. He looked like he combed his hair with a balloon.
Unlike Clinton, Bernie’s voting record showed that he has always supported issues millennials cared about, such as LGBT and Civil rights, money in politics, free health care and education. The same could not be said for other Clinton. Millennials are a tech savvy generation who did not have to rely on news outlets for their opinions — they could do their own research and find video compilations of such as “Hillary lying for 13 straight minutes” which showed her in her own words, contradicting herself over the decades and lying outright in some cases.
Young people craved authenticity, because everything in their social media obsessed lives has been manicured. So much of our culture has been reduced to abject artificial consumerism. It’s all branding. Meanwhile millennials were crippled by student debt. They lived in a world they know will become a Mad Max-ian dystopia due to climate change. Obama promised them “HOPE”, but never fully delivered on his promises — not in a way that meaningfully improved the lives of average Americans.
Clinton was never able to connect with young people because you can’t fake authenticity. Her attempts to pander to the Sanders base were perfectly captured in this classic Saturday Night Live skit.
Her attempts appeal to young people always appeared as scripted and phony as evidenced by this Pokemon Go joke attempt here.
Presidential elections are only marginally more evolved than high school campaigns for senior class president. Hillary Clinton was legitimately the most qualified candidate perhaps in history, but is about perception and strategy, not who has the best resume on their LinkedIn profile.
Hillary’s authenticity was even a source of internal debate within the Clinton Campaign. Neera Tanden remarked in one of her leaked emails that:
On Saturday, August 22, 2015, Neera Tanden <email@example.com> wrote:
>her inability to just do a national interview and communicate genuine
> feelings of remorse and regret is now, I fear, becoming a character problem…
Conversely, authenticity was one of the chief assets of the Trump campaign. He was branded as an outsider who “speaks his mind,” which resonated with his base in juxtaposition to the public perception of Clinton’s persona as the embodiment of the liberal elite. His authenticity was received as refreshing, even if the content of what he said was absolutely horrifying.
Because of this juxtaposition and all of the scandals that had surrounded her, Clinton was never able to counter Trump’s disparaging epithet, “Crooked Hillary.”
Millennials are the largest voting block in the United States. While this age group traditionally votes in lower percentages than older brackets, Clinton’s inability to connect with this demographic or establish trust amongst voters definitely hurt her in the general election.
11. Hillary’s Record
The internet has been one of the great challenges for candidates in modern politics. Where in the past it might take a significant budget and highly skilled oppo research staff, today anyone armed with a phone and Google can instantly unearth damaging facts of a candidate’s record.
With a few clicks you can find public statements like this:
In 1996 Hillary Clinton said of young black teens in support of Biden’s disastrous ’94 Crime Bill:
“…they are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called superpredators. No conscience. No empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way but first we have to bring them to heel,” Clinton said in 1996.
Black Lives Matter activists targeted the secretary at a fund raiser to bring attention to this fact.
The 2016 election came in the wake of a post Ferguson world where names like Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner loomed like specters haunting the American conscience. Citizens in Flint, Michigan at the time of the election did not, (and do not to this day) have clean water. Hillary’s silence on these issues was deafening considering her previous position on record. #BlackLivesMatter was one of the top performing hashtags of 2016 and national organizing efforts were continued to generate massive awareness.
In 2011, Hillary Clinton personally brokered the sale of $29.4 billion in F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. These war machines were manufactured by Boeing, a company which just so happened to have contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation. These and other military weapons were used to commit war crimes in Yemen by the dictatorship. Hillary and her staff also sold weapons to other brutal regimes, all who gave millions to her Foundation. Despite coming under fire for her support of the Iraq war in 2008, she was the lead agent in creating a failed state in Libya as Secretary of state.
It is astonishing given these facts that Hillary was able to criticize Sanders on his gun record, especially considering his D- rating from the NRA.
On some of these issues Trump even ran to the left of Hillary, and he was able to hit her hard.
“One day, we’re bombing Libya and getting rid of a dictator to foster democracy for civilians. The next day, we’re watching the same civilians suffer while that country falls and absolutely falls apart. Lives lost, massive moneys lost. The world is a different place.
Even though Trump is a pathological liar, on this issue he was right.
In a time of massive income inequality and populism, what perhaps hurt Clinton’s brand the most was her ties to Wall St.
This excerpt from one of Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to the National Multi-Housing Council on April 24, 2013, encapsulated the world view that cut to the heart of this issue:
“Politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”
The Clintons had made $240 million since leaving the White House. Hillary had received $22 million since leaving her position as secretary of state. The majority of funds were received from industries that lobby congress through contributions like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
At the Republican National Convention, Trump’s pro-worker populist message was once the resounding message of Democrats.
Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place. They are throwing money at her because they have total control over everything she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.
That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. My message is that things have to change — and they have to change right now. Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned.
I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country. People who work hard but no longer have a voice.
I AM YOUR VOICE.
Donald Trump was of course lying about being the champion of the working man, but what he said resonated with working Americans because they all knew on a visceral level that the system was rigged against them. Meanwhile Hillary continued to do big money fundraisers with the elite and refused to release the transcripts from her Wall St speeches.
12. America is Celebrity Obsessed
America has always worshipped the rich and famous. Corporate brands have always weaponized celebrity to drive consumption and Americans tend to elect entertainment celebrities to public office.
In 2016 Trump joined the ranks of entertainers like Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Clint Eastwood, Al Franken who were elected to public office with little to no previous experience in governance.
Was it so hard to fathom?
Celebrities give us a sense of connection in a society that has become utterly atomized and isolated just because well all know them and give our time away to be entertained. They feel familiar. If you meet them in person, you will most likely feel like you already have a relationship with them on some level even though they are complete strangers. There is an entire multi-billion dollar industry based solely on celebrity gossip.
There is even an obsessive addictive disorder called Celebrity worship syndrome (CWS).
How absurd is this that we are even talking about a twitter fight between Messing and Sarandon right now?
If you are a famous actor, rock star, or athlete the chances you would get away with a major crime are astronomically higher than we the common rabble. There is no expectation that they must follow the same rules of society. Therefore when the October surprise of the leaked tapes of Trump bragging about sexual assault came out, it a very limited effect on his momentum.
But what celebrities are not supposed to do is tell us the truth about the war machine or the corruption of our political parties as Susan Sarandon has done. They are not supposed to disrupt the status quo to presence us to real societal ills as Colin Kaepernick has done. Their job is to distract us from the quiet desperation of our lives, so that we do not rise together to demand our corporate masters grant us sovereignty, equality, or justice. Our job is to remain passive consumers.
Now the monster we have created has risen up from the swamp to devour us.
Don’t be shocked if Trump’s has opened the floodgates to the realization of Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy” and we see a Yeezy 2024 bid.
(There are already t-shirts made)
The reason that the hacks on twitter attack Susan Sarandon is because of her influence. She elevates Bernie Sander’s platform and therefore is a danger to the established order that his candidacy threatens.
When Susan Sarandon or Bernie Sanders challenges the hegemony of the elite class, foot soldiers like Neera Tanden deploy themselves to leverage their power against them (Tanden’s neoliberal think tank Center for American Progress has a $60 million annual budget and 320 staff members).
In truth we all created Trump.
Every reality t.v. show we watched. Every tabloid magazine we read. Every celebrity we followed on social media. It was part of our infatuation with wealth, fame and power.
We simply couldn’t stop talking about him. Even if we knew we should look away.
It was like watching a car wreck or passing by a crime scene, we couldn’t help ourselves. Think about it. What would have happened if we all simply stopped talking about him, obsessing about him, sharing about him?
We are still doing it. And playing right into his hands.
13. The Cool Kids Always Win
I challenge you to go back to every presidential general election in the last 40 years, and you will find that the cooler candidate always won. Every time.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Reagan vs Dukakis or Carter. Clinton vs George Bush or Dole. George W. vs Gore or Kerry. Clinton vs. Trump. Obama vs either conservative white guy. In the case of Obama it was a blood bath. I disagree with a great many of Obama’s neoliberal economic, security and energy policies but there will never be a cooler president.
Hillary’s attempts to be cool, or other famous people making her cool by association came off inauthentic and lame. It was obvious as was even pointed out by pro-Clinton blog the Daily Beast in “Hillary Needs to Stop Trying to Be Cool”
I’m not suggesting Donald Trump is cool. He’s gross, fascist, racist, misogynistic, and perhaps the worst person imaginable.
But he certainly carried more swagger points in the culture wars.
For twenty five years rappers from Ice Cube, Wu Tang Clan, Nas, 50 Cent, Biggie, Kanye, and Kendrick Lamar have been dropping Donald Trump’s name in lyrics. In hip hop his name has become synonymous with achieving wealth and status.
Thank God his hip-hop reign is now over, but his place in iconic status in popular culture had been immortalized well before 2016.
Trump may have tiny hands, but in a presidential race, it’s the size of the crowds that matters.
If only there would have been a candidate generating that level of enthusiasm
15. Her Damn Emails
In March of 2015 it was discovered that Hillary Clinton had used her own private email server to conduct communications that may have included state secrets. The congressional hearings and FBI investigations that followed brought further controversy, casting a dark shadow over Secretary Clinton’s candidacy. Many remember well the agonizing impeachment hearings the country had to suffer through over Bill’s infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal.
In one of the debates, Bernie Sanders had previously given Hillary the biggest gift of the primary elections by taking off the table one of the chief concerns in the minds of democratic voters concerning Clinton’s potential general election campaign.
“I think the secretary of state is right, the American people are sick and tired about hearing about your damn emails,” Sanders said to hoots and cheers from the audience, after CNN moderator Anderson Cooper pushed Clinton on the ongoing scandal.
He concluded by saying: “Enough of the emails — let’s talk about the real issues facing the American people.”
The cheers that followed certainly cut to the heart of how the country felt about the endless controversies and public hearings that came to define the Clinton candidacy, from which she never quite recovered fully.
Political strategists and pundits often refer to the importance of momentum or “The Big Mo” in successful campaigns. There have been many campaigns where the momentum of a decisive victory was halted by some event like scandal in the case of Gary Hart, Howard Dean’s scream heard round the world, George W. Bush’s DUI, Eisenhower throwing in for Nixon, etc.
On October 28th, FBI director James Comey announced that the agency would continue to investigate Secretary Clinton’s personal emails. The GOP seized the moment to call for reopening the Benghazi hearings that everyone had all but finally forgotten about. This came on the eve of the election and dominated the news cycles.
Previously every top Democrat from Clinton, to Obama to Pelosi had praised Comey for being a man of exceptional integrity.
This may have been the final nail in the coffin.
16. The Election Was Rigged
Donna Brazil’s article and book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House, provided a chilling insider account of the malfeasance operating within the DNC leading up to the election. Donna Brazile was the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee after her predecessor Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign following the devastating DNC leaks.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz was previously Hillary Clinton’s campaign co-chair in the 2008 primary versus Obama. She became the head of the DNC in 2011. I mean of course you can have an objective primary when the head of the DNC was Hillary’s top lieutenant. Right?
Subsequently the number of debates was dropped to just 6 from 26 in 2008, which would heavily favor Clinton, one of the most recognizable people on the planet. Democrats tend to favor people they know.
Donna Brazile’s book revealed that a full year before the primary the Clinton campaign signed an agreement called the Hillary Victory Fund, that it would raise money to refill the coffers and in exchange for control over the hiring, operations and key data.
Obama left the party $24 million in debt — $15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign — and had been paying that off very slowly. State parties were broke because of the 2012 presidential reelection campaign.
Almost $1 billion went to four consultancies including Perkins Coie LLP who represents the DNC, DSC, DCCC, Hillary for America, Media Matters (David Brock’s c3), Correct the Record (David Brock Super PAC), and the joint fund raising committee.
Here is a passage describing what she learned from a conversation with the CFO of Hillary for America, Gary Gensler:
He described the party as fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign, which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp…
Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund — that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement — $320,000 — and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn (Clinton campaign headquarters)….
“Wait,” I said. “That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?”
Wait, there’s more.
The agreement — signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elia (senior counsel for Perkins Coie LLP) — specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC,
Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff.
The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
If Americans are already governed by a two party system, and those parties completely subvert the democratic process, then how can we possibly pretend to by living in a democracy? We can’t. We live in an oligarchy.
Even Elizabeth Warren agreed with Brazile’s claims on a CNN appearance with Jake Tapper.
Jake Tapper: “do you agree with the notion that it was rigged?”
Of course she later did an about face and recanted her statements on the record.
The DNC’s handling of the primary only exacerbated the sentiment that the party and its already wildly unpopular candidate were rigging the game. This was a metaphor for our entire economy. Not exactly the best strategy to encourage voter enthusiasm.
This all was compounded by the existence and ever present discussion of super-delegates. As of November 2015, Clinton lead Bernie Sanders 359 to 8 in pledged super-delegates. Over one fifth of these unelected party insiders had the power to determine the outcome of a democratic election and owed nothing the voters. Many of these super delegates were corporate lobbyists.
The media never failed to mention Hillary’s insurmountable lead in the unelected super-delegates, even though they do not vote until the convention as we learned in 2008 when the majority shifted from Clinton to Obama.
Beyond the machine politics, the primary itself is not designed to run the strongest candidate in the general election. Closed and semi-closed primaries exclude the participation of Independents that make up 40% of the electorate and certainly are a major factor in determining the outcome of the general election.
The pundits and hacks loved to tout the primary stats as justification for Hillary being the stronger general election candidate, but ask yourself, how does winning all the red states in the primary make any Democratic candidate viable in the general election?
This is not to suggest that the voters in the south or red states don’t matter. It has been a colossal failure to write off these states completely over the years as it has allowed a fascist right wing corporate party to gain majority power. But if we are going to have an honest discussion about “what happened” then we must confront where things broke down strategically. If we continue to blame Russia and Susan Sarandon we will miss the causes and conditions that allow demagogues like Trump to rise.
Don’t worry America. You have another chance to get it right this time.
At the end of the day, the Democratic Primary has always been rigged. In the past a candidate was considered weak if they ran in the primaries, which were mostly a formality. Before McGovern’s 1972 campaign, it was universally accepted that the candidates were selected by the party bosses and wealthy donors in smoke filled back rooms.
In 1968, Hubert Humphrey had not won a single primary, and was nevertheless nominated at the Chicago convention. The rules were significantly changed after McGovern’s campaign that limited the power of the party bosses. After the Jimmy Carter’s presidency (the only one to not drop a single bomb or fire a bullet against another nation) super delegates were created to save the party from the unwashed masses.
In theory, the point of their existence was to make sure that the hoi poloi didn’t choose a weak nominee, who, let’s just say, had unelectable net favorability, an FBI investigation looming, and big scandals after damaging leaks — while there was, let’s say, another candidate who was massively popular, drawing huge crowds, had broken all fund raising records with small dollar donations, won rust belt states like Wisconsin and Michigan a bold populist message for American worker, and that according to every match up would have easily defeated Donal Trump.
If the super delegates had actually done their job, they would have nominated Sanders by the end of the convention and there would have been a floor fight. That didn’t happen because it was rigged from the beginning.
In 2018, the Sanders camp was able to win significant concessions with the formation of the Unity Reform Commission that voted to amend DNC rules and strip many super delegates of their powers.
Of course even after such stunning losses, there was still resistance to change.
DNC Vice Chair Karen Peterson said of the outcome stripping superdelegates of their power to control the outcome of the primaries before they began,
“Are you telling me that I’m going to go to a convention, after my 30 years of blood, sweat, and tears for this party, that you’re going to take away my right to appease a group of people?”
Yes Karen, that group of people are called the American voters.
TRIGGER WARNING: this section may contain potentially distressing material that contradicts the established narrative
It will come as no shock that WikiLeaks is listed as one of the reasons Secretary Clinton lost to Trump. The bombshell revelations in the Podesta and DNC leaks only confirmed what had been obvious to at least 46% of Democratic voters that supported Sanders in the primary.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz was sacked following the DNC leaks which proved that the party was not acting impartial and that she was most definitely using her power to tip the scales in Clinton’s favor.
What was the Clinton campaign’s answer to DWS’ firing?
They hired her. Immediately.
She joined the campaign as a reward for being a loyal soldier and to many of the 13 million people who supported Sanders, this added insult to injury.
Donna Brazile, who took over for DWS as DNC party chair notified the Clinton campaign in advance of a question she would be asked at a town hall-style event hosted by the cable network in March, according to the leaked emails.
“From time to time I get the questions in advance,” Ms Brazile, chair of the Democratic National Party (DNC), wrote in the subject line of a 12 March email to Clinton aides.
She went on to paste the text of a question about the death penalty that Mrs. Clinton would be asked in the body of the email.
Brazile took over at the DNC when its former chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was fired over hacked emails revealing the party establishment’s favoritism putting its thumb on the scale for Clinton.
The DNC was meant to be neutral in the contest between Mrs Clinton and her Democratic primary season challenger, Bernie Sanders. The leaks showed clearly that the DNC had been working to undermine the insurgent challenger.
“It may make no difference but for KY and WA can we get someone to ask his belief,” Brad Marshall, CFO of the DNC, wrote in an email on May 5, 2016. “He had skated on having a Jewish heritage. I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”
Amy Dacey, CEO of the DNC, subsequently responded “AMEN,” according to the emails. It makes perfect sense that the DNC is actually a corporation with a CEO.
The point that has been lost in the white noise of Russiagate, is that Wikileaks is an international non-profit organization that publishes news leaks, and classified media provided by anonymous sources. That is what they do.
Ask yourself honestly, if Wikileaks had worked against Trump to help elect Clinton would you have experienced outrage? Not likely. So basically the logic of the day is that Wikileaks helped rig the election for Trump by proving that the DNC and Clinton campaign rigged the primary.
Have you stopped to consider the embarrassment of the U.S. Military, The DNC, CNN, the big banks and governments, whose malfeasance WikiLeaks has brought to light and the lengths that they would go to silence those that bring transparency to the public? If not for Edward Snowden we would have no idea the extent to which our government has been illegally spying on us and our allied nations.
The outrage over Russia meddling has made the Democratic establishment a laughing stock around the world. It is well documented that the U.S. attempted to influence the elections of foreign countries as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000 and there still hasn’t been anything like conclusive proof of what impact Russian interference had on the U.S.election.
Chile in the 1960s. Haiti in the 1990s, U.S. Intelligence agencies meddled in elections in Israel, former Czechoslovakia, and even Russia in 1996. Since 2000, the U.S. has tried to intervene in elections in Ukraine, Kenya, Lebanon, and Afghanistan, among others.
Julian Assange has been arrested for conspiring to hack the Pentagon in 2010, but there still has been zero mention of his colluding with Russia in his indictment. The Mueller report also did not conclude that Assange knowingly conspired with Russian intelligence, or did it ascertain how he came to be in possession of the leaked materials. This is not an endorsement or defense of Julian Assange as a person, only a sober reflection on the facts.
Ultimately Wikileaks did what they do — publish anonymous leaks revealing the hidden agenda of the corporate state. The problem is that Democrats really don’t want to know what is behind the curtain. If they looked they might discover that it was outlined in John Podesta’s strategy to elevate Donald Trump as part of their strategy.
The leaks were damaging to the momentum of the Clinton campaign because they revealed in their own words what many had already expected.
18. Corporate Donors Over Grassroots Support
After the conclusion of a bloody hard fought primary, grassroots leaders at the 2016 Democratic Platform Committee in Orlando were trying to find common ground in a set of policies that the could justify supporting Hillary Clinton over.
I know this because I was there. It was crazy. It represented the showdown of ideologies and agendas that came to define the emerging civil war in the democratic party.
The party platform is simply a document that outlines the Democratic Party’s policy priorities and positions on domestic and foreign affairs. Sanders won 46% of the delegates that would determine the direction of the party. Sanders nominated some of the most impressive grassroots leaders, academics, and policy advocates from many different intersectional movements. It was a who’s who of progressive heroes such as Cornel West, Bill McKibben, Nina Turner, Josh Fox, Nomiki Konst, Deborah Parker, and many others.
Clinton had a 54% majority which gave her squad a decisive advantage. The platform committee wasn’t even a binding document or piece of legislation, and they fought us on everything.
The committee delegates chosen by Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz voted down amendments advocating Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, several proposals to halt climate change, denouncing the Israeli “occupation” of Palestine and an amendment explicitly opposing the TPP trade agreement (the suppression of opposition to the TPP was a good indication that she would eventually sign it as president).
These delegates included Neera Tanden from CAP and Howard Berman, lobbyist for Covington & Burling LLP — a firm who boasts helping fossil fuel companies navigate lawsuits to continue drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Hillary’s whip Carol Browner and Wendy Sherman both worked for Albright Stonebridge Group. Collectively the delegates’ firms represented pharmaceutical companies, fossil fuel companies, Wall Street financiers, big banks, Silicon Valley titans, foreign governments, defense contractors providers, Coca Cola, Wal-Mart and Dow Chemicals, etc.
Bend the Knee
The Clinton delegates voted down just about everything. It was brutal and soul crushing. The only resounding victory was the most robust climate platform in the party’s history which was won only when 350.org founder Bill McKibben threatened to disrupt the convention with thousands of “frack”tivists. It was of course opposed by Hillary’s energy advisor, Trevor Houser, a fracking lobbyist.
Some of the corporate lobbyists supporting her campaign were known as “Hillblazers” — the name for people who had raised $100,000 or more for Hillary for America.
The Platform Committee was a real opportunity for the activist leaders and the membership of their national organizations to fight for the policies they believed in. Not only were the majority voted down, but three days after the much celebrated climate policy victory, Hillary was back to doing big dollar fundraisers with fracking donors — this was a slap in the face just when there was finally some semblance of unity.
There was no real unity though. The message sent to the grassroots leaders was clear, “bend the knee, I’m in charge now.” The Clinton camp cried for unity but demanded obedience. There was no inspiration or willingness to create alignment or compromise.
The 2016 Democratic National convention in Philadelphia was a sham.
The DNC had the opportunity to unite at the Convention or with their vice presidential pick. There were thousands of Bernie Supporters marching and holding rallies outside the arena in FDR park being kept at bay by riot police. The imagery was reminiscent of the 1968 Chicago convention. Shit was on fire. People were arrested. Inside the convention, Bernie she-ro Nina Turner was prevented from speaking.
Instead of reaching out to Bernie supporters in conciliation, they demanded obedience. The DNC prevented democratically elected delegates from returning to their seats, replacing them with paid seat fillers from craigslist to mindlessly cheer for propaganda. On the last day 1,250 elected delegates walked en masse out in protest of the treatment they had received, and for the wholesale corrupting of the democratic process by the media and DNC.
To anyone watching at home, you would never know that because the television presented a total fabrication.
This was perhaps the perfect metaphor for the 2016 primary. Even after the abuse, gas lighting and mass trauma Bernie supporters still voted for the nominee in greater numbers than Clinton supporters had for Obama.
Here is Jimmy Dore doing a breakdown of an interview Chris Hayes conducted with Susan Sarandon and Josh Fox. Hayes brought them on his MSNBC show to discuss our #BankExit campaign in support of the Standing Rock movement, but blindsided them with questions deliberately trying to pin the Trump election on them.
In this interview Gasland director Fox responded with what he had warned the party leadership at the Democratic Platform Committee, “Pennsylvanians and Ohioans aren’t going to vote to frack their own backyard…these are issues that generate tremendous enthusiasm”
Throughout the general election, not once did Hillary extend a hand to ask for progressive votes. She did not take a stand on critical issues like the water crisis in Flint, or the Dakota Access Pipeline that would have generated trust and energized the base.
If you consider the factor that Bernie would have had the grassroots fracking, climate, coalitions, undocumented rights and union coalitions behind him as well as the full force of the Democratic party base and establishment, his working class populist message very likely would have outperformed Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida.
The Clinton camp didn’t do this because they didn’t think they needed us.
I don’t have to guess about this because the general counsel for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Marc Elias told me told me to my face in Orlando. You might recognize the Perkins Coie attorney’s name linked to the infamous Trump-Russia Steele dossier. I told him that Hillary would lose without the grassroots leadership and progressive base, because we are a huge force of the most passionate lefties in the country.
He told me that their data was clear and that they had the numbers to win. I told him his data was wrong, that Brexit clearly indicated otherwise, and the race was going to come down to the voters living in the Rust Belt that got fucked over by NAFTA.
The rest is history.
19. Tim Fucking Kaine
After contentious primary, there was a small window of opportunity to unify the party and to pick a V.P. that would generate excitement and appeal to progressives. Instead, we got Tim Kaine.
Anti-abortion. Boring as fuck. Brought on to bring in more white guys.
Latinos were so impressed by Tim Kaine’s speeches in Spanish that turn out fell 5% below Obama’s numbers in 2012.
20. Paid Trolls
Investigations revealed that the St Petersburg based Internet Research Agency created 3,800 fake twitter bots and purchased 3,500 Facebook ads on behalf of a Russian oligarch. These trolls were meant to sow discord in the American election. It is impossible to quantify exactly what the affect these sock puppets had on the election, but it has been argued that the impact was significant.
So basically hiring secret troll farms with thousands of fake accounts to troll actual voters is tantamount to election meddling right?
Somehow we never heard the same outrage over the fact that David Brock’s Clinton Super PAC, Correct the Record, who spent $1million to do the same thing to progressives in the primary. Progressives repeatedly called foul but somehow this never made the national news cycles. David Brock by the way was once the Republican hit man who smeared Anita Hill before he defected to become a Clinton operative.
The fact that Brock was willing to employ his dirty tactics for Hillary is not so much an indication of personal liberal enlightenment as it was a signifier that the Democratic Party had moved so far to the right they were in many ways indistinguishable from the GOP of the past.
Brock’s troll army was incredibly effective. Anyone who tried to draw distinctions between the Sanders and Clinton were met with venom from people paid to silence and gaslight them. Most often the actual Clinton supporters joined in and it became part of the culture. After being badly maligned both on social and corporate media, progressives were then expected to fall in line in support of the democratic nominee.
At the same time progressives were also told by Clinton loyalists repeatedly that “no one needs you or Bernie Sanders. Bernie lost, get over it.” It is one thing to hear this from rival supporters, but very often these was coming from fake sock puppet accounts. This and much worse. Now that the shoe is on the other foot they are still reopening the same old wounds.
A study was conducted University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzing experiments over two decades. Anchoring bias is a term used in psychology to describe the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor,” on the first information they hear.
“The effect of misinformation is very strong,” said co-author Dolores Albarracín, professor of psychology “When you present it, people buy it.”
Despite the gas-lighting, Sanders supporters still largely voted for Clinton in the general. Actually, a significantly higher percentage Bernie supporters voted for Clinton in 2016 than Clinton supporters voted for Obama in 2008.
The next time you hear someone make an accusation of “Russian trolls”, remember that Hillary employed the exact same tactics on fellow democrats.
21. Third Party and Independent Voters
One of the standard invectives used against Susan is that she inspired Green Party voters to vote for Jill Stein and not Secretary Clinton.
Third parties were not a decisive reason that Trump was elected president. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won the lion share of third party votes and most likely pulled more votes from Trump than from Clinton.
People who identify as Libertarians or Green Party supporters of candidates like Ralph Nader or Jill Stein WILL NOT SUPPORT AN ESTABLISHMENT CANDIDATE.
No matter how vehemently you try to explain that it is dangerous and irresponsible to allow Donald Trump to be elected president, it will not matter. The far left is more radically minded and therefore less malleable in their positions on the issues. This is crucial to understand.
Even greater still is the danger that they are more likely troll whatever candidate is selected to tow the line for the lobbyists and wealthy donors in the Hamptons. Do not for one moment entertain the thought that they will fall in line. It didn’t happen in 2016 and it won’t happen in 2020.
If Biden, Buttigieg, Kamala or anyone who is perceived to have been selected by the party bosses is nominated, you can write off those votes. Warren as well. She may do marginally better but do not expect progressives to come on board in the general.
Progressives may begrudgingly vote for “Not Trump 2020,” but there certainly will not be the enthusiasm to knock on doors, phone bank, mobilize online, create viral content, come out to rallies, etc. Keep in mind that progressives are not like blue dog democrats. This is the most important concept to understand that was the key to the power of insurgent campaigns like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and others that helped win back the House in 2018.
The Democratic party loyalist voters will get behind the democratic nominee. That is why they are called “blue dog” democrats. They would vote for a blue dog if they were on the ticket. The progressives and far left will not.
You may not like it, but that is the political reality. No matter what you say, they are not going to fall in line. This calculation is critical to understand. No one is entitled to a vote, that’s not how voting works. Brow beating might work amongst other party members, but you need more than party loyalists to win the presidency.
If people actually tell you ahead of time that they will not support the establishment candidate what makes you think they will change their minds and whose fault is it really for not taking this into consideration?
Despite being insulted, disenfranchised, and given no substantial policy vision to vote for the nominee beyond the rhetoric that the alternative was worse, there was still somehow a presumption that the votes of Independents, progressives, Green Party members, and libertarians belonged to Clinton.
Nobody owes you their vote. In theory, that’s the beauty of a democracy. The ballot box is the one sacred place where no one can tell you what to do.
22. White Women
As predicted women were a deciding factor in the election. Women showed the highest turn-out at the poll stations with 53% versus 47% for men.
In the demographic of college educated people, 91% of white women voted for Clinton, and 6% for Trump. This should come as no surprise to liberals who define their identity according to their intellectual and academic achievements. According to this more comprehensive analysis published by the Murphy Institute:
The assumption that candidate Trump’s lewdness and sexist comments would be off-putting even to women who typically vote for Republicans went badly awry for the Clinton campaign
With 62%, the majority of non-college educated white women voted for Trump, while 34% backed Clinton.
This figure is far higher than non-college educated black women, of which only 3% voted for Trump, and non-college educated Hispanic women, of which 25% voted for Trump.
Black, Hispanic and other non-white women backed Clinton in far greater numbers, but in shockingly high numbers, Trump carried the majority of non-college educated white women voters.
Maybe it’s time to take Senator Sanders’ free college plan more seriously.
23. Mysogyny and Racism
“the only difference between a poor black person and a poor white person is that the poor white person feels like its not supposed to be happening to them” -Dave chapelle
Let’s face it. Donald Trump is the larger than life avatar of America’s paradigm’s of patriarchy and white supremacy. The systems of oppression have been challenged since the time of Civil Rights, power, and women’s liberation movements. The left had on the surface won the culture wars making these world views overtly unacceptable in society. We well know that racism and misogyny have continued to lurk in the collective subconscious and continue to manifest and systems of oppression.
The final straw came when a black man named Barack Hussein Obama was elected president. The racism seething below the surface erupted in an explosive backlash on the right. Donald Trump is the logical reaction of the paradigm of white supremacy being threatened at the highest office of the land. The symbolic reaction revealed that we indeed do not live in a post racial society, but a culture where racism, ignorance and hatred are woven into the fabric of the American tapestry.
Trump’s legislative agenda has been to systemically undo Obama’s entire legacy. It has been the policy equivalent of burning the sheets and throwing away the silverware in the White House.
The same reaction is true on some level with respect to the prospect of a woman coming to hold the highest office in the land. Patriarchy like racism is systemic.
The GOP has always known Hillary would have a future beyond FLOTUS and have been demonizing her for over two decades. They have been preparing to long time to face her in battle for a long time. The right’s demonization of Hillary was very much rooted in misogyny just as their opposition to Obama was rooted in white supremacy.
Hillary also rose to power through a patriarchal system. We cannot overlook the fact that in her mind Hillary Clinton played the game exactly according to the rules of that system. She checked every box. Girl Scout. Ivy League Lawyer. First Lady. Senator. In the world Hillary aspired to rule, the obvious question in the subconscious mind of voters would be whether or not she could lead the country in a time of war. She made it clear from her position on Iraq to her leading the disastrous intervention in Libya that she had the killer instinct to follow in the long tradition of war mongering Commanders-in-Chief. The right would have certainly belabored this point if Hillary hadn’t been a war hawk.
When Margaret Thatcher (first woman prime minister of England) was on the ropes from the opposition in 1982, it was her war in the Falklands that perhaps saved her administration and earned her the nick name “Iron Lady.” Hillary far surpassed Thatcher as a militarist. The only problem was that the progressive left would simply never fall in line to campaign for a war monger. In some ways, though she Hillary was the first woman nominee, she was still a product of the patriarchal systems or oppression and violence being challenged. When we consider her record, we must also recognize that a woman or a person of color does not rise to power in a racist, patriarchal paradigm without having to operate within that system.
Trump has continued to foment outrage amongst white conservatives and convert it into political power. He has maintained a base of support in the alt right and white supremacist groups who feel they have found their true leader. He has attacked women, muslims, undocumented families, and anti-racists.
Unfortunately, if the Democrats attempt to meet Trump on this playing field without a bold transformative agenda for systemic change they will most likely lose again. Simply stating the obvious calling Trump and his supporters racists and misogynists is not a viable electoral strategy. It didn’t work in 2016 and it won’t work in 2020.
24. Cross Check
Prior to the election Republican policy makers and conservative pundits railed about voter fraud. Illegal aliens and felons were supposedly using fake ID’s in droves to commit election fraud. This is of course ridiculous as voter fraud carries a penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for citizens and possible deportation for non-citizens.
All the same, this narrative was used to justify hundreds of thousands of thousands of voters were stripped from the rolls, mostly black and brown democratic leaning voters.
Investigative reporter Greg Palast uncovered this horrific voter suppression scheme.
The man behind crosscheck is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Yale-educated former law professor. After 9/11, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft tasked Kobach with creating a system to track foreign travelers. (It was later shut down over concerns about racial profiling.) He is best known as the author of Arizona’s “Driving While Brown Law,” which allowed cops to pull over drivers and ask for proof of their legal status. He co-wrote the ultraconservative 2016 RNC party platform, working in a recommendation that Crosscheck be adopted by every state in the Union. He’s also the Trump adviser who came up with a proposal to force Mexico into paying for Trump’s wall.
In January 2013, Kobach addressed a gathering of the National Association of State Election Directors about combating an epidemic of ballot-stuffing across the country. He announced that Crosscheck had already uncovered 697,537 “potential duplicate voters” in 15 states, and that the state of Kansas was prepared to cover the cost of compiling a nationwide list. That was enough to persuade 13 more states to hand over their voter files to Kobach’s office.
25. NAFTA and the Rust Belt
Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin were supposed to be Democratic stronghold “blue wall” states.
People in cities like Flint, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Milwaukee were hit hard by subprime predatory lending. Before that Bill Clinton’s disastrous neoliberal free trade bill NAFTA left the Rust Belt states decimated economically. I have spoken to lifelong democrats living in once thriving communities that still curse the Clinton name. Factories and good paying jobs were sent south. This seemed to bolster Trump’s rhetoric blaming Mexico and immigrants for the woes of the American worker.
The fallout from NAFTA hit black communities the hardest and the Democrats had been complicit in the death of unions, which had previously been an important power base for the party. Unions have no place in the neoliberal worldview or policies.
From the Intercept:
In 1970, 73 percent of working-age black men in Milwaukee were employed. Half of them worked in manufacturing making union wages. By 2010, this figure fell to only 45.
Turns out that Hillary simply going to East Cleveland with Jay-Z and Beyonce wouldn’t be enough to win the battle ground states that had previously voted twice for Obama.
To add fuel to the fire tensions ran high in 2016 over the Neo-liberals’ imminent plan to pass a second international free trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This would have been NAFTA on steroids and would affect 12 countries.
Hillary Clinton spoke out 45 times in favor of the TPP from 2009 to 2013, calling the controversial trade deal the “gold standard” for trade deals. Then in October 2015, she would instead oppose the trade deal she once claimed represented. No one believed this.
Michigan native Michael Moore saw the writing on the wall and released the statement “5 Reasons Trump Will Win” in July 2016
“Well maybe it’s because he’s said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. Trump is going to hammer Clinton on this and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states.
When Trump stood in the shadow of a Ford Motor factory during the Michigan primary, he threatened the corporation that if they did indeed go ahead with their planned closure of that factory and move it to Mexico, he would slap a 35% tariff on any Mexican-built cars shipped back to the United States.
It was sweet, sweet musicto the ears of the working class of Michigan, and when he tossed in his threat to Apple that he would force them to stop making their iPhones in China and build them here in America, well, hearts swooned and Trump walked away with a big victory that should have gone to the governor next-door, John Kasich.”
When Moore made these predictions warning of the Clinton campaign’s vulnerabilities in his home state, he was accused of being a Trump apologist. Like Susan, many still blame him as well for the secretary’s loss. It did not matter that Clinton did not even bother to campaign in Wisconsin. If anyone, especially anyone with influence, challenges the established narrative, they are subjected to public stoning.
26. People Wanted to Be Fooled
Why do people love magicians? Why do we watch Game of Thrones? Why do we yell at our televisions? Why do we go to Disneyland when it is a complete fabrication?
We loved to be fooled.
You have most likely watched the Apprentice, or seen some clips from it. Did you think that it was a real board room and not a set?
Conservatives are well aware that Donald is full of shit. They know he is an adulterer and nothing resembling a Christian. C’mon, for Christ’s sakes the man can’t conjure a single Bible verse. They know who Trump really is.
No one really believed that Mexico was going to pay for Trump’s big stupid wall. They don’t care because he is their guy. Social media algorithms, corporate news, and the two party system have turned the political football into rank tribalism. Neither side is willing to admit when they are wrong.
The average citizen has seen the American dream turn into a nightmare. The planet is on the verge of being uninhabitable due to climate change. No one ever really believed smoking cigarettes was safe. Even now that is has been proven to cause cancer people still smoke. We are irrational beings.
There is a term from professional wrestling that perfectly explains this called “kayfabe”. This refers to the willing suspension of disbelief of the audience that the scripted performances are in fact real. There are “Faces”, hero-types as humility, patriotism, a hard-working nature, determination, and reciprocal love of the crowd. Then there are the “Heels” the archetypal villains who are raging, narcissistic, egomaniacs that the crowd loves to hate. This was an act first made famous by Andy Kaufman.
If there is ever a moment when the entertainers fall out of character, it is called “breaking kayfabe.”
Make yourself watch Donald Trump on WWE here.
Trump won because he understood that WWE is America. Democrats love to look down on conservatives as dimwitted, backwards, racist simpletons. To them, the “virtue-signaling” left were the heels who condescended to them while their jobs kept disappearing. Finally a man emerge who represented everything they were taught to love. He didn’t shy away from being a wealthy, racist, misogynist white male. He celebrated it, and he wasn’t afraid to say to the democrats and the liberal media everything they really felt.
He made it ok for them to be themselves, prejudice and all. So it really didn’t matter to them that he is a compulsive liar, a bully, a bigot, or even that he was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women a month before the election.
We may think we are so different, so much more evolved — but in the arena of American politics Donald Trump is your heel. Only instead of a wrestling arena, the stage is everywhere.
We can’t stop talking about him. He the one we love to hate.
Centrist Democrats missed the point because they were busy being fooled by their own “Faces”.
Under President Obama and Secretary Clinton the U.S. dropped more bombs than George W. Bush (over 21,000 per day), and they expanded our foreign wars to seven countries.
They did not prosecute one Wall St executive after crashing the US economy in 2008.
They sold fracking around the world.
They persecuted whistleblowers and expanded the surveillance state. Without the Snowden leaks we would never know, not that it has mattered in the slightest.
They backed corporate coups in Honduras.
They created a failed state in Libya. They tried to do the same in Syria and started a proxy war with Russia over a (wait for it) natural gas pipeline. Did you ever stop to wonder why Russia tried to intervene in a U.S. election? Guess who was right in the middle of this proxy war and called for the no fly zone that could have escalated into a World War.
They throw shade at Susan Sarandon because she breaks kayfabe and tells the truth. The problem was that the Hillary and the Democrats tried to run on how great America already was because of Barack Obama’s presidency, and the numbers just did not add up. Julian Assange and Wikileaks broke the kayfabe of the illusion that the Democratic party was run according to democratic principles.
27. “I’m Not Trump” Is Not a Vision
Trump had a bold vision that his base could connect to. It was horrific but it was a vision.
In an interview last year Steve Bannon said,
“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
We know that Trump is a racist and a misogynist. We know he is a climate denier and is selling out the poor and middle class to the billionaire class. Everyone understands that victory is essential right now. It is not enough however for the democrats to run on a platform of how bad Trump is.
Conservatives can be motivated to get out the vote based on fear or racism. The left only turns out in numbers when there is vision of change that ignites excitement and a candidate with real charisma.
The voter turn out results clearly illustrated this in 2016:
- 2012 Obama: 65.9M • 2016 Clinton: 59.1M • DIFFERENCE: -6.8M
- 2012 Romney: 60.9M • 2016 Trump: 59M • DIFFERENCE: -1.9M
In a race as abysmal and depressing as 2016 is it any wonder more people stayed home or chose third party
It was not enough that Hillary ran on a platform of how dangerous Donald Trump would be and how much more qualified she was.
The 2020 election will not be won by a race to the center, but by the issues that generate voter enthusiasm. Medicare for All. Criminal justice reform. Free public college. The Green New Deal. A living wage. Medical and student debt relief. A future people might just be able to believe in.
Make no mistake, 45 is going to be very difficult to defeat. Russia Gate, impeachment and the Mueller investigation failed miserably. Trump is still drawing huge crowds. He maintains support amongst his base and they live in a different reality. For them to stay in bed on election day, their will have to be an authentic populist outsider who breaks free of the political football and the elite democratic establishment.
When Secretary released her book “What Happened,” she, like many of her loyalists displayed almost no sense of reflection
The fact that Debra Messing, Neera, Zerlina and Armando refuse to see or admit to, is that Susan Sarandon was right about one thing.
Trump did bring the revolution. He made you start to paying attention. Women of color are rising up and running for office. People are following court appointees, bills and deportations. Bernie Sanders’ political revolution met the shock of Trump’s presidency and the left united to win back the House. It has come at a terrible price. Especially for people of color, the environment and every standard of decency we once knew.
Why did the Democratic elite fail so spectacularly in 2016?
In the words of Upton Sinclair “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
The truth is that the Democratic elite don’t want to confront populism, neoliberalism, celebrity obsession, better tactics, voter fraud, decades of economic policies that funneled the majority of wealth to the 1%. They don’t want to give up the corporate funding from fossil fuels, weapons manufacturers, insurance companies, Wall St. and Big Pharma. The consultant class within the Democratic party spent $1 billion on themselves.
The perfect metaphor for the false narratives and the victim blaming that is happening at the hands of the media, party hacks and consultants is perhaps the final scene in the movie Money Ball when the Red Sox owner is talking to Brad Pitt’s character about changing the game of baseball. This David vs Goliath story is about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (played by Pitt), who used sophisticated data analytics to take his 2002 team, who were the poorest team in the league, to nearly defeat New York Yankees, who were the richest team in baseball.
This is threatening not just a way of doing business… but in their minds, it’s threatening the game. Really what it’s threatening is their livelihood, their jobs. It’s threatening the way they do things… and every time that happens, whether it’s the government, a way of doing business, whatever, the people who are holding the reins — they have their hands on the switch — they go batshit crazy. I mean, anybody who’s not tearing their team down right now and rebuilding it using your model, they’re dinosaurs. They’ll be sitting their ass on the sofa in October watching the Boston Red Sox win the World Series.
The party establishment, it seems, would rather see the house burn down completely, than cede control to the grassroots movements and progressives rising up to bring about a just transition of government of, by and for the people.
It is time to let go of the syllogisms that allow us to live with our illusions. These are complicated problems that require solutions outside of the status quo. We prefer to live with the deception that it was simply Russia, or Wikileaks, or Susan Sarandon to blame because it is easy. We want to maintain the deception that if we simply comment on social media and show up to vote once every 2 to 4 years for a Democrat, all will be well.
The political establishment and their lackeys attack Bernie Sanders and his surrogates because they tell us the uncomfortable truths; that it is going to require all of us coming together and getting out of our comfort zones to meet the dire challenges facing our world.
The reality is that there is a very good chance Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic nominee. He has the biggest crowds, the highest net favorability, the biggest list and fund raising capacity, and over a million volunteers even at this early stage.
The question I have for those attacking Bernie and Susan Sarandon is, aren’t you simply giving ammo to Trump? Wasn’t that the whole argument in 2016 as to why no one should have questioned Hillary’s record?
It’s time to wake up.
Trump has created concentration camps for our undocumented citizens. The inhabitants of this planet simply may not survive another American president who does not act radically ending fossil fuels and reversing the effects of climate change.
We must learn from our history. Blaming Susan Sarandon is easy. It requires no confronting difficult truths. It is also the surest path to four more years of right wing conservative fascism.
Let’s let these excuses finally die. Learn from the past and look to the future. It is no longer a matter of which team wins the political football game, it is a matter of the survival of the human race and our nation itself.
Note: The electoral college was specifically not included in this analysis — Hillary did not lose on account of the electoral college. It may be that abolishing the electoral college in favor of the popular vote is a more democratic method for determining the president of the United States, but it does not follow as a valid reason for Trump’s victory. It is well known that if the election were to be decided by the popular vote campaign strategies would be completely different from the outset. Hillary Clinton was the fifth candidate since John Quincy Adams in 1824 to win the popular vote and lose the electoral college. Al Gore was the last, so there has been plenty of time for the Democrat Party to organize efforts to amend the constitution. You don’t hear progressives still complaining about super delegates — once it was apparent, they organized and changed the rules.