Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In Hillary's Shoes

I hear that Hillary Clinton gave a magnanimous concession speech.  Nevertheless, I suspect she is still bitterly disappointed at the moment.  I know I would be.  She might be directing her anger at a lot of people:  Trump, of course; Jim Comey; Julian Assange; maybe Anthony Weiner; maybe a little for Bernie Sanders as well.  But I'll bet that, in the long run, the person she is most angry at is Barack Obama.

The 2008 election was hers to lose.  Everybody knew.  Everybody knew that the Republican candidate would face very difficult odds with such an unpopular sitting president.  Hillary Clinton seemed set to be nominated.  There was hardly any opposition.  I'll bet that Obama himself didn't expect to win when he started his candidacy; he was probably laying the groundwork for the future.  And then this thing happened, and he got all this support, and suddenly Hillary was sitting on the sidelines watching him sweep to victory for the nomination and the presidency.

Eight years later, Hillary is the one trying to run with a long-time president from her own party.  Obama is not nearly as unpopular as Bush was, but he has made people angry about a number of things, above all the PPACA (a/k/a ObamaCare).  Premiums are going up, insurers are dropping out of the state markets, the ones who are still in are losing money.  It is not necessary to debate the merits of the law; the point is that many people disliked it (it has always had high unfavourable ratings) and the premium hikes this year have made even more people angry.

Then Bernie Sanders, a guy who has done nothing, by most standards, to deserve to win a nomination.  Much like Obama, but without Obama's racial background or his presidential demeanour.  Not again!  But Hillary pulled out all the stops, and she managed to turn this challenge back.  And the Republicans nominated Donald Trump, a man with tremendous negatives, whom hardly anyone but his core supporters thought had a chance to win the election.  Hillary ran a good campaign, I thought.  She had a good slogan, a good logo, and she appeared both presidential and well-informed in the debates.  The video with Billy Bush seemed to sink what little chance Trump might have had.

And then...the FBI investigation, Wikileaks, the FBI investigation closes but then re-opens just days before the election.  (Actually, that's not true, since apparently a good portion of people voted well before November 8th, but it has some validity.)  Still, she was confident.  Nate Silver gave her over a 70% chance of winning.  Clearly she and her supporters expected to win.  During election coverage, I kept hearing how shocked her supporters seemed, just stunned that she could be losing.  A lot of people were shocked, of course, but imagine how she must have felt.  All those years of planning and dreaming.  Twice when she seemed virtually guaranteed to win.  And then, to lose in a surprise like that without any real warning.  I'll bet she's really bitter, and I'd bet that, when it all sinks in, the person she most resents is the outgoing president.

Postscript:  Ted Cruz could end up in a comparable position depending on how Trump's presidency goes.  He was very well organized and seemed likely to get the nomination but for Trump.  He's still young enough that he will have other chances, but what if Trump's presidency tarnishes the Republican image so much that we don't see another Republican president for 30 years?  I'm not saying it's likely, I'm just imagining scenarios, and it could happen that Ted Cruz was "thisclose" to becoming president and instead goes down in history as an unknown.

No comments:

Post a Comment