America’s Cycles of Change

How Hillary Clinton’s Electoral Map Mistakes Doomed the Democrats

Fri, 03 February 2017

In 2016, the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate Hillary Clinton compounded the systemic weakness of her own party: Indeed she appeared totally oblivious to it. She ran one of the most inept campaigns in modern US political history.

In 2008, the Democrats’ successful candidate Senator Barack Obama won with a landslide majority of 8 million in the popular vote. In 2012, he still won comfortably despite the weakest economic recovery in more than 70 years with 5 million votes. Younger voters of all races including whites went overwhelmingly for Obama.

In 2016, Clinton squandered most of that cushion, yet even she won 2.8 million votes more than her Republican opponent overall: Even so, she still managed to be decisively defeated in a clear majority of states across the nation.

The way Clinton pulled off this extraordinary study in political ineptitude pointed to the deeper, longer term rot at the heart of the Democratic Party.

Clinton campaigned vigorously in North Carolina and Arizona – states that she was almost certain to lose – as she did.

North Carolina did not even have enough Electoral College votes to give her a decisive boost and she approved the diversion of major financial resources for no other purpose than to run up the numbers in safe Democratic havens such as the city of New Orleans.

The enormous Democratic majorities in New York and California also reflected Clinton’s obsession with establishing her credibility by winning the overall popular vote.

Yet Clinton never campaigned in Wisconsin at all: She largely ignored large and vital Michigan, appearing there far too seldom and held a catastrophic rock concert type rally in the depressed city of Cleveland in vital Ohio, a state she went on to lose by a wide and decisive margin.

Clinton could have won the crucial Midwest big industrial states of the old Democratic Blue Wall: The margins by which she lost were clear but narrow.

However, now they have tilted into the “red” or Republican camp it will prove impossible for the Democratic Party as currently constituted to win them again in a presidential election.