It’s been said successful people don’t blame others for their failures. That might help explain why Hillary Clinton had such a hard time running for president. In 2008 she lost the primary to a little-known, one-term senator from Illinois. In the 2016 primary, she barely fended off a challenge by the most radical mainstream candidate since Eugene Debs. And, of course, she ended up losing to a loudmouthed billionaire with no political experience and the most disorganized and controversial campaign in recent history.
One would think, after the dust settled, perhaps it was time for some self reflection. Introspection, however, is not Hillary’s strong suit. Lately, she took an opportunity at technology news website Recode’s Code Conference to expand her list of people to blame for her loss in November 2016. The list includes Russians, former FBI Director James Comey, sexism, WikiLeaks, Voter ID laws, the Democratic National Committee, the New York Times (!), and most bizarrely, Macedonians.
Even CNN finds Hillary’s claims hard to swallow. “Hillary Clinton’s list of who’s to blame for her 2016 election loss gets longer with every passing day,”
If Hillary did examine the real reasons she lost, she might look at Wisconsin, where Donald Trump won by 22,748 votes but where in 2012 President Barack Obama won by over 200,000. Hillary claims she didn’t take victory for granted, but Wisconsin shows otherwise. When asked why she didn’t bother to campaign there, she told Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel, “We thought we were doing really well in Wisconsin.”
This was part of a general campaign strategy that assumed the Democratic Party had a lock on white, working class Midwesterners. That constituency rallied behind Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary. The revelation that the Democratic National Committee, chaired by Hillary friend and supporter Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had actively colluded with the Clinton Campaign to undermine Sanders justifiably outraged his supporters.
Hillary just assumed they would rally behind her in the general election. I don’t think she realized how much railroading Bernie Sanders undermined her campaign. There are other factors as well, of course, but that is just the most apparent.
I’ve argued since the election that the Democratic Party’s continued inability to come to terms with why its candidate lost–why its message lost–will simply doom them to repeated failure. You learn nothing when you blame others, because you can’t control what other people do. You can only control what you do, and right now, that’s just a whole lot of finger pointing.