I have to admit — I’m actually a little astonished Donald Trump is still technically in this race. It was one thing for him to be the Republican nominee, but to actually have a viable shot at the White House — seriously?
FiveThirtyEight.com’s election forecast had former Secretary Clinton’s chances of winning at 71.4 percent the day of the election, with percent with 48.5 percent of the popular vote. They even had Pennsylvania and Virginia going to Secretary Clinton, with an almost 90 percent certainty in both states.
But Trump — the guy who openly admitted to sexually assaulting women — the guy who showed a $916 million loss on leaked tax returns — the guy who says he’s going to put Muslims on a register and reinstitute “stop and frisk,” is now the President of the United States.
How is this possible? How can quite possibly the most hated nominee of all time end up the president of the United States? The answer: Hillary Clinton is the other nominee.
Clinton has spent years in public office, and has spent most of that time on the GOP’s hit list. For 20 plus years, Clinton has battled conservative radio stations, television shows and newspapers and has always come out on the losing end. She’s even battled Republican congressmen and women, as she was investigated for years on the Benghazi attacks, only to have no charges brought against her.
But her problem isn’t just with conservatives anymore. After a close contest in the Democratic primary (where I learned more about super delegates and closed primaries than I wanted to) with Senator Bernie Sanders, many progressive democrats have her blacklisted.
Is it Clinton’s fault so many groups hate her? Maybe. She hasn’t exactly helped herself over the years. She opposed gay marriage, and now she supports it. She supported expanding prisons, and now she’s against it. She supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but now opposes it. There’s also the email server debacle, which she hasn’t exactly been transparent about.
But can her gross unpopularity be attributed to just these items?
The answer, unfortunately, is no.
It would be easy to say she is the reason people can’t stand her, but the truth is her unpopularity is because of a system she’s benefited from over the years.
Conservative voters (with the exception of some outliers) are not voting for her — that’s to be expected. But her bigger issue is with the angry progressives and moderates who were snubbed during the primaries — something she had no control over.
Clinton has sparked an angry mob — one that hates establishment politics — which is something she embodies. Senator Sanders showed everyone frustrated with the current political climate they could change it — without voting for someone like Donald Trump. And when Sanders lost, it sent a shockwave through the Democratic National Committee’s support.
“She’s a politician, she’s a liar,” said Christel Barnett, my wife, who is a former Democrat that refuses to vote for Clinton (she’s not sure who she’s going to vote for, however).
But the angry mob isn’t mad because Clinton won — it’s mad because of how she won.
When Sanders lost, his supporters took it personally. Through the entire primary, it was apparent the fight was against the political norm — and a “political revolution.” When Sanders lost states with closed primaries and won handedly in open primaries, his supporters cried foul. As the primary progressed, more voter suppression allegations emerged, and more Sanders supporters felt helpless.
But Clinton — whether people want to believe it or not — won the nomination in accordance with the rules put in place by the DNC. This may not be just, but it is fair to say she won outright (which is most likely why Senator Sanders has supported her since her nomination). But many people refuse to do so — the question is why?
Because she is the living embodiment of what the angry mob is actually mad at. She won the nomination through a flawed system, she had the help of several media outlets (Kyle Smith of the New York Post recently released a story about, “How the Washington Post killed Bernie Sanders’ candidacy”), and even had the help of the DNC itself (Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as DNC chair as a result). While Senator Sanders was pulling more small donations than any other candidate in the history of politics, Secretary Clinton asked for $353,000 to have dinner with George Clooney.
And it doesn’t stop there. As Sanders supporters cited their frustrations, allegations swarmed the Clinton campaign was paying people to essentially “troll” Sanders supporters on websites. Proponents of Clinton would use super delegate numbers when citing her delegate lead, despite the fact superdelegates didn’t officially vote until the Democratic National Convention in July.
And the list goes on.
For the record, I voted for Sanders in the Washington caucus. I was upset when he lost, but I can’t dock Clinton for winning a primary system that was flawed to begin with.
But the more I look at it — I’m starting to think I’m the minority on this point.
The truth is this: Hillary Clinton isn’t 50 points ahead because she has two mobs that either despise her or despise what she stands for on both sides of the aisle. And until she reconciles with one side or the other, she will never really pull away from Donald Trump.