Republicans face media derision if they follow the unconventional, outrageous strategies of their successful presidential candidate. But what about the desperate Democrats who seem oddly eager to mimic the major mistakes of their defeated standard-bearer?
President Trump has earned his share of sour reviews for his first hundred days in office, but no one can defend the flailing, failing liberal leadership in its mad rush to replicate the disastrous decisions that doomed Hillary Clinton’s once promising presidential prospects.
Hillary wrecked her campaign with three crucial miscalculations:
- Emphasizing what she was against, not what she was for. In outspending her opponent two-to-one, Clinton conducted one of the most negative campaigns in recent history that focused almost entirely on discrediting and demonizing Donald Trump. He helped with that process, of course, but at least ordinary Americans got some idea of what he meant to do as president. Building walls, banning Muslims, scrapping trade deals, blowing up alliances and building up the military may be simplistic promises, but at least they’re comprehensible notions. Can anyone recall, six months later, what Clinton promised to do? Even one memorable pledge? Could anyone predict with confidence what she would have done if she had won the November election?
- Relying on identity politics rather than mass persuasion. The Clinton campaign’s overconfidence stemmed from slicing and dicing the American electorate by race and gender and concluding that their pieces of the pie added up to more votes than Trump’s. They counted on the same overwhelming support from people of color that had elected Obama, and felt sure that their glass-ceiling-smashing candidate would add her own special appeal to her fellow white women. As it happened, Hillary lost white females (37% of the electorate) by a decisive 9 points to the reviled misogynist in Trump Tower, and that same accused “hate monger” did slightly better among voters of color than did the earnest and able Mitt Romney. Among the white working class, even a significant number of self-identified liberals shifted their support to Trump, in part because Clinton made no serious attempt to persuade them that she’d serve their interests directly or effectively.
- Remaining deaf to the message that “inside” is out. Every time her well-meaning supporters or slick TV commercials emphasized Clinton’s standing as “the most qualified candidate in history” it simply re-enforced her status as the ultimate insider. The sudden popularity of the independent socialist (and septuagenarian) from Vermont who waged a credible battle for the nomination should have alerted the former first lady that many if not most voters didn’t care about governing experience or power structure connections. Trump’s defiance of political correctness, convention and even of common decency may have scared some voters but seems to have delighted even more.
Today, the Washington Democrats self-destructively determined to make the same three mistakes.
Sure, everyone knows that they want to stop Trump or, ideally, destroy him — but what do they plan after achieving that? Even if they stop Trump cold, doesn’t that leave the country stalled in a status quo that the public rejects?
In the early days of the Trump era, much of the energy from the liberal base has gone into identity politics at its worst, with various segments of the population (feminists, the transgendered, people of color, Muslims, the undocumented) competing with one another for designation as the administration’s chief victims. Rather than attempting to build a durable majority based on a shared, hopeful agenda, the Democrats rely on a disconnected collage of the aggrieved and the angry.
And aside from perpetuating problems with the party’s message, Democratic leadership continues to anoint the wrong messengers. Instead of recognizing the present appeal of rambunctious outsiders like Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, the party tries to woo the public with two tired political veterans who correspond to every conservative caricature of out-of-touch, big city liberals: Senator Chuck Schumer (of New York City) and Representative Nancy Pelosi (of San Francisco).
At this point, disheartened progressives may look at Trump’s follies and foibles and ask themselves: how did this goofball ever manage to beat us? Unfortunately for Democrats, their own leadership is still reminding them of the answer.
Source: USA Today