Hillary Clinton has offered numerous explanations for the outcome of last year’s presidential election. Below are Clinton’s most frequently repeated reasons for the election of Donald Trump to the presidency across recent interviews she has given with NPR, Pod Save America (PSA), and Vox.
1. RACIST WHITE PEOPLE
Trump used “racial and ethnic and sexist appeals” in overtures to his supporters, Clinton told NPR, framing Trump’s base of supporters as white racists.
Trump’s political messaging was “discriminatory,” “bigoted,” “prejudiced,” and “fed into part of the electorate that just wanted to have a primal scream,” added Clinton. She echoed the same narrative with CBS, describing Trump’s electoral win as a “cry from the white nationalist gut.”
I understood that my opponent had been, from the beginning of the primaries, fueling that anger [over the “financial crash”], and providing scapegoats, and a kind of cynical nostalgia that was rooted in saying, basically, you know, all these other people — whether it's African-Americans or Muslims or immigrants or women or whomever — we're going to get it back to the way it was.
Clinton told Vox's Ezra Klein that Trump had used racial “dog whistles” to appeal to what Klein described as “white resentment politics.”
2. SEXISM AND MISOGYNY
“Sexism and misogyny are still endemic [to America],” said Clinton to PSA, framing herself as politically disadvantaged by widespread and nationwide hatred toward women.
“[Trump] was so sexist; and, not just about me, but about his Republican woman opponent, women and reporters on TV and elsewhere. So, it was really a part of the atmosphere, and I want not just women but men as well to know this is endemic,” added Clinton.
“Sexism and misogyny [are] alive and well and working in [American] politics and our society,” said Clinton to NPR.
Women are “less likeable” as they become “more professional successful,” said Clinton to Klein, referring to herself as an example of a professionally successful woman.
3. GUTLESS WHITE WOMEN
White women were largely intimidated by their fathers, husbands, and boyfriends to vote for Trump, Clinton told NPR. White female supporters of Bernie Sanders were also intimidated into silence by sexist males:
I'm talking principally about white women — they will be under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for "the girl." And we saw a lot of that during the primaries from Sanders supporters, really quite vile attacks online against women who spoke out for me, as I say, one of my biggest support groups, Pantsuit Nation, literally had to become a private site because there was so much sexism directed their way.
4. JAMES COMEY
Despite being extended a de facto exoneration for her criminal use of a personal email server to execute governmental communications during her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton blames Comey for blocking her election to the White House; via NPR:
“After the Comey letter, my momentum was stopped. My numbers dropped, and we were scrambling to try to put it back together, and we ran out of time.”
If not for Comey’s October 28 letter, “I would have won,” said Clinton to Vox’s Klein.
5. RUSSIA, VLADIMIR PUTIN, AND TRUMPIAN COLLUSION
“In this particular election, [dedicated propaganda channels like Fox News Channel, Breitbart, and Infowars] ... was aided and abetted by the Russians,” said Clinton to Vox.
"[The Russians] were successful, and they're going to keep at everything they can to destabilize and undermine our democracy,” said Clinton to NPR in speaking of “the Russian role” in affecting last year’s presidential election.
“What if the Russians hadn't been literally encouraged by Donald Trump to do even more to disrupt the election?” asked Clinton of NPR, framing facetiousness from Trump as a sincere overture to the Russian state.
“My path toward November was being disrupted with Russians,” added Clinton.
“And the money we know that the Russians put in [to affect the 2016 presidential election], which I think is just the very tip of that huge Russian iceberg,” said Clinton to PSA.
“[Trump] had additional advantages like Russian help,” said Clinton to Vox.
Democrats and their news media allies regularly allege that the Russian state, at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in "election hacking" for Trump's benefit.
6. THE NEWS MEDIA
“I don’t think I’m held to the same standard as anybody else,” said Clinton, framing the news media as broadly hostile toward her relative to her political competitors.
Clinton told both PSA and Vox that the news media was insufficiently focused on “policy,” which she framed as disadvantageous to her as a technocrat.
“I don’t think the press did their job in this election,” Clinton told Vox, accusing the news media of insufficiently explaining her advantages over Trump.
7. THE MERCERS AND THE KOCH BROTHERS
Right-wing political spending is much larger than left-wing political spending, alleged Clinton repeatedly in her interviews with PSA and Vox.
Despite left-wing ubiquity across the news media, entertainment industries, Silicon Valley, government and the bureaucracy, academia, and ostensibly charitable, philanthropic, and non-profit organizations, Clinton framed competing spending between Left and Right in David vs. Goliath terms.
The Kochs and Mercers were repeatedly identified as primary examples of a right-wing money machine she framed as eclipsing its counterpart on the Left.
Via The Washington Post (WaPo), Clinton's campaign raised $1.4 billion to Trump's $957 million. Clinton's assessed campaign fundraising as per WaPo's analysis does not include the operational costs of CNN, The New York Times, Politico, or similar news media outfits, which consistently slant reports toward the Left.
8. RIGHT-WING PROPAGANDA
Fox News Channel, Breitbart, and Infowars were described by Clinton as “propaganda” for Trump and the Right.
Left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, Politico, BuzzFeed, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NPR were described by Clinton as too hostile toward her political operations.
Facebook, said Clinton, had insufficiently screened out what she described as false propaganda which politically damaged her.
9. BERNIE SANDERS
“I didn’t get anything like [the respect and support I showed Barack Obama in 2008] from Sanders and his supporters. And it hurt,” said Clinton to PSA. “Why would we be surprised? Because he’s not a Democrat.”
"[Sanders'] attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump's 'Crooked Hillary' campaign," alleges Clinton's new book.
Sanders also undermined Clinton's "true progressive" bona fides, alleges Clinton:
“Russian WikiLeaks,” said Clinton, “raised all those doubts” about her while she was “on the path to winning [the presidency],” said Clinton to NPR.
11. GOP SUPPRESSION OF BLACK VOTERS
Black citizens were broadly blocked from voting for her, said Clinton to NPR:
But you have to also look at the suppression of voters. The principal objects of voter suppression were African-American voters and young voters. There was a very extensive analysis about what happened in North Carolina recently in The New York Times and there's been a lot written and much information collected about what happened in Wisconsin: 200,000 predominantly black voters being disenfranchised in the greater Milwaukee area. …
Republicans wasted no time in doing everything they could to make it hard to vote. ....
The voter suppression in Wisconsin worked. Across the border into Illinois, where they had not done any of this suppression, where they in fact made it easier to vote with same-day voter registration, they were immune to the impact of suppression. …
In Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania in particular, as well as North Carolina, there was a concerted effort to suppress the vote.
12. THE FIRST AMENDMENT
The First Amendment's protection of the right to spend money for the purposes of political speech and expression damaged her political fortunes, argued Clinton in her interview with PSA.
Clinton also called for a constitutional amendment to rewrite the First Amendment:
We need a whole different system, and so I said I was going for a constitutional amendment from day one on Citizens United, because there’s no way to get to where I think we need to be unless we change the Constitution.
Clinton accepted the premise that she was "too realistic" to appeal to enough Americans for an electoral win. Partial transcript below.
KLEIN: This is something I think about in my own writing. Is it possible to be too realistic about the forced arrayed against change, about the institutional constraints of the American political system; so realistic that you miss openings; so realistic that it was hard to inspire people? ...
CLINTON: I think that's a fair critique.
Clinton accused the news media of failing to inform the American public of what Klein described as her "realistic and very hard to sell message" and "political realism."
Clinton and Klein agreed that Americans are more sympathetic to unrealistic political messaging and promises.
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