© Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
Nevertheless, it was always clear that Clinton’s campaign strategy had some serious flaws. Most of us thought this would simply make it a tight race, but that Clinton would undoubtedly pull through. Now, however, the events of the aftermath – on top of the obvious mistakes already made – make the reasons Trump pulled off the shock victory clearer than ever.
It’s not me, it’s you
Liberals for Clinton spent this election doing three things that were entirely counter-productive and which now they should regret.
First, they ran a campaign which based itself less on issues and more on the fact that Trump doesn’t appear to be a very nice person. Now, while this may be true and even seemed like a logical strategy at times (during p*ssy-grabbing-gate, for example), ultimately it’s not how you win over or inspire people.
Second, instead of debating and engaging with people, a huge chunk of Hillary supporters decided anyone who didn’t agree with them was a racist, sexist, uneducated waste of oxygen. In fact, their own candidate even appeared to back them up in this line of thinking by calling Trump supporters “deplorables.” Instead of sucking it up and realizing that their Trump friends had the right to an opinion – and were not necessarily racist and sexist – these overly sensitive souls ran off to their “safe spaces” where differing opinions couldn’t reach them. This led to a lot of unfriending on Facebook, and probably a significant chunk of secret Trump voters who came out only in the privacy of the voting booth. As such, the polls that Clinton relied on to read the country’s mood were almost all wrong. The refusal to acknowledge Trump supporters as human beings with their own, perhaps legitimate, reasons for favoring him was a major failure of the Clinton camp. This is much the same thing that happened in the UK with the Brexit vote.
Third, they played the blame game in a way that really backfired “big-league,” as Trump would say. If Trump’s support had to be acknowledged, it must be blamed on anyone but Clinton or the status quo of American politics which she was trying to protect. Their favorite strategy in this regard was to blame Russia. This was odd because most Americans probably don’t give a flying toss about Russia, but Vladimir Putin became the “secret mastermind” behind Trump’s successes, not the fact that millions of ordinary Americans were hurting and feeling left behind and ignored by decades of policies which never seemed to take them into account.
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks were Putin’s puppets, too. And so was Green Party candidate Jill Stein. They were all part of a massive Kremlin plot, you see. That’s what you would have believed if you’d listened to some Clinton surrogates and fans in the media. It was real ‘Russia ate my homework’ level stuff – and it has likely flamed the fury of Clinton’s supporters trying to come to terms with how they lost.
Can we have a do-over?
Not surprisingly, the blame game has continued in the aftermath of Clinton’s loss, but now the main culprit is the Electoral College system, which has suddenly become the major focus of Clinton supporters who last week were perfectly happy with it.
Only the popular vote matters, they say. Clinton’s loss isn’t fair, they cry. Millions of them have signed petitions trying to have Clinton elected anyway. Unfortunately for the disappointed, signing petitions isn’t how you elect a president – and it is truly fascinating how quickly liberals who love democracy seem to forget all about it when their candidate loses. Ask them if they would be complaining about the Electoral College and its fairness if Clinton had won and they quickly go quiet. There’s another parallel here to the Brexit vote and how pro-EU voters tried to annul the majority’s choice on the grounds that they were the “stupid masses.”
Sudden outrage and mass denial
Then there’s the protesters; the people who have actually taken to the streets to dispute the outcome of a legitimate election simply because they don’t fancy dealing with the result. The rather ironic theme seems to be: Trump is an evil fascist who hates democracy and will destroy America, so we need to violently overthrow him. Now, protesting is fine, it’s their right to do so. Many people are legitimately worried about the kind of era Trump will usher in. But there’s a kind of hypocrisy to it as well.
If you asked these liberal anti-Trump protesters why they weren’t out protesting Obama’s drone war, or his funding of terrorists in Syria, or Hillary’s hand in the destruction of Libya, they’d barely know what you’re talking about – which brings us finally to the media and its role in all of this.
Liberals weren’t bothered by most of these things because the media told them not to be. Bombings under Obama were humanitarian airstrikes. The mainstream media made anti-war liberals fine with war because a nice man with a pretty family was dropping the bombs.
Journalists and pundits became so entrenched in their own perspective and bubble that they couldn’t even mask their disbelief and anger over the outcome on election night. Literally until moments before the race was called for Trump, anchors and pundits were talking about Clinton’s path to 270 delegates when, to anyone facing reality, it had been clear hours before that she probably didn’t have one.
Trump’s victory is beyond comprehension for Clinton supporters and the media because for so long they’ve failed to live in the real world where there are two sides to every story. There’s a lesson there for anyone who wants to take it.
Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer, journalist and media analyst. She has lived and traveled extensively in the US, Germany, Russia and Hungary. Her byline has appeared at RT, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, The BRICS Post, New Eastern Outlook, Global Independent Analytics and many others. She also works on copywriting and editing projects. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook or at her website www.danielleryan.net.