Hillary Clinton continues to reflect on her loss to Donald Trump last November. Her most recent extended comments were at the India Today Conclave held in Mumbai in mid-March. Rather than advancing anti-Trump sentiment as she had hoped, she set it back.
Clinton declared, “if you look at the map of the United States, there’s all that red in the middle where Trump won.I won the coast. I won, you know, Illinois and Minnesota, places like that…I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product. I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.”Elsewhere in the same speech, Clinton implied that Trump voters could not abide” black people getting rights,” “women getting jobs” or “Indian Americans succeeding.”
Clinton further opined that 52% of women voted for Trump due to “ongoing pressure” to vote as their husbands, bosses, and sons believed they should vote.This was an insult to women who rejected her candidacy for any number of reasons, not because they are hapless cultural victims.
The broad-brushsmearing ofTrump supporters reprised Clinton’s calamitous description of them during the campaign as a “basket of deplorables.” While many xenophobes, racists, sexists, and religious bigots undoubtedly voted for Trump, does Clinton actually believe that 63 million Trump voters can be so crudely categorized?
The notion that only the coastal states are super-productiveis erroneous.Remove California from Clinton’s statistics and productivity differences in states she won and lost are minimal.Clintonlost Texas and Florida, two economic hubs. The “flyover” states she scorns happen to beAmerica’s agricultural heartland, producing a huge surplus in international trade. She also lostproductive industrial states such as Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
As for diversity, Clinton lost Florida, a coastal state with a very diverse population. Moreover, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are more racially and ethnically diverse than most of the New England states she carried.
Clinton’s comments regardingthe tensions between the coastal and “flyover” states reinforce the notion that voting patterns are geographically determined. The elitist Clinton appears to be tone deaf to the complex economic and social issues at play. Nor does she understand the antipathy she generates when she takes six figure speaking fees to declare her concern regarding economic inequality.
Before and since the Great Bush Recession, growing numbers of Americans have felt Washington ignores them. Executive wages soar while average wages stagnate. Corporations werebankrolled by the federal government to prevent their bankruptcy while four million citizens lost their homes. Educational and health costs constantly rise.One consequence is thatchances for social mobilityin America are now among the lowest in the developed world.
Clintongives the impression that she felt entitled to the votes of organized labor, women, and minorities just as she felt entitled to the Democratic nomination.With a stale rhetoric that unimaginatively harkens back to the most simplistic language of the 1960s, sheroutinely ticks offsocial demandsas if they were a laundry list.
Lost on Clinton’s radar is why Bernie Sanders’ impassioned appeals for economic and social reforms brought him victory in Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia and Wisconsin in a sweep of victories in states stretching coast to coast.Before her first New York senatorial bid, Clintonundertook a listening tour of upstate New York to understand a region with which she was unfamiliar. During her presidential bid, she wasn’t listening or didn’t understand what she was being told.
Clinton’s own Michigan organization had informed her she needed to speak in Detroit, a Democratic stronghold, to show her understanding of that region’s specific problems. The campaign organization also needed more funds to spend at the precinct level. Clinton refused the request. The same situation occurred in Wisconsin.
The Chuck Schumer-Nancy Pelosiwing of the Democratic party, like Clinton, believes the pathway to electoral success requires not rocking any economic boatsorstrongly advocating controversial social issues. Mobilizing anti-Trump sentiment is considered sufficient for victory.
An opposing view associated with senatorssuch asBernie Sanders and ElizabethWarren is that Democrats should offer specific alternatives to the Trump agenda. They understand this approachcouldalienate some voters butargue that a far larger number of young people, women, working people, and “adult” Republicans would be attracted by the opportunity to vote “for” something, not just “against.”They also vigorously assert that no region should be written off as a hopeless, cultural backwater.
Hillary Clinton continues to replay the 2016 election in much the way Donald Trump does.She says little about her e-mail fiasco, her poor performance as secretary of state, her financial scandals, and her intimate relations with Wall Street. Herdated rhetoricmakes her sound insincere when she speaks of economic and social reforms. She drives more nails into her political coffin by constantly revealing her disrespect for much of the American public.
These attitudes do not serve the Democrats very well and do not advance rational public discourse. Whatever one thinks of Trump, his “Make America Great Again” slogan captured the sense that much has gone wrong for many Americans. Clinton hasn’t a clue about that phenomenon. The causes Clinton claims to support would be better served if she understood her political day is done. It’s time for Hillary to go home.