It seems impossible to me that we can do any analysis of how mistakes by the Clinton campaign caused her to lose the Electoral College, without examining the mindset of the campaign professionals Hillary hired and trusted. Clearly an aged socialist Senator, from a tiny state, had awakened impressive enthusiasm from so many people to the point where he mounted a credible challenge to the preferred candidate of Democratic Party professionals. Yet from all that came out in press stories and in leaked hacks of the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton “professionals“ viewed Sanders supporters as naive and not serious. All the talk of “Berniebots“ connoted mindless, idol worshiping amateurs, who simply didn‘t understand Presidential politics.
Once Clinton had secured the nomination, her campaign team perfunctorily began to fold the support of the Sanders people into her campaign by adopting Sanders positions on Trade, Wall Street, student loans and college tuition’s. However, while Hillary urged people to go to her website to review her positions on these policies, much of her campaign rhetoric focused upon her experience, Trump‘s lack of same and his misogyny. Given her strong opposition to Sanders policy ideas during the nominating campaign and in her debates with Sanders, her movement to the “Left“ seemed self-serving and insincere. Indeed, after the Democratic Convention, basking in the glow of highly favorable polling numbers, word leaked that the Clinton people were focused on capturing “Never Trump“ Republicans by moderating their messaging.
An article in Salon “They mocked us, they made fun of us”: Bernie Sanders surrogates recall meeting with smug Hillary Clinton staffers“ speaks to this:
“The retrospectives on how not to run a campaign keep coming. Early Tuesday morning, The Daily Beast published an interview with a couple of former Bernie Sanders surrogates who extended an olive branch to Hillary Clinton’s staff after the primary and were met with, at best, closed ears and, at worst, mockery.
Despite “sounding the alarm for months,” Nomiki Konst, a progressive activist who served on the 2016 DNC platform committee, said the Clinton campaign “fucking ignored us” in key battleground states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — where President-elect Trump ultimately thrived: “We kept saying to each other like, ‘What the fuck, why are they just blowing us off? They need these voters more than anybody.’”
“Once we were at the convention, Bernie people were on the ground — we could feel it, people were pissed off, there with their pitchforks ready to fight,” she added. “But before the convention, after the platform committee meeting that I was on, Bernie surrogates were talking constantly, saying, ‘Oh my god, Hillary is going to lose if she doesn’t address TPP and [free] trade and [all these] other issues. We were looking at the polling and thought that if these people stay home, she’ll lose.”
Konst said Clinton’s staffers “looked like they had no idea what was going on here” while she and others “were painting them a dire picture.”
“I remember their faces, it was like they had never fucking heard this stuff before,” she added. “It’s what we had been screaming for the past 9 months … It’s like [they] forgot the basics of Politics 101.”
“The Clinton campaign believed they had the strongest and brightest people in the room … and they had no concept of why people would choose Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton,” Nebraska Democratic Party chair Jane Kleeb — a Sanders supporter — recalled of meetings between the Sanders people and Clinton staffers. “They mocked us, they made fun of us. They always had a … model that was supposed to save the day. We were street activists and they don’t get that. And that’s a fundamental divide. They ran a check-the-box, sanitized campaign. And voters don’t think like that. You don’t win elections that way.”
Beyond all the other complaints and refrains, detailing either the dirty tricks, or the campaign contretemps that caused the Clinton loss, is the obvious truth that the Clinton Team was full of the hubris that made them, in their minds, the best and the brightest. Sadly, undoubtedly it is the rest of us who will suffer from their prideful disdain.