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A Lot Went Wrong: 2016 Edition

It is not very useful to argue this shit on Twitter but that’s what blogs are for, right?

Anyone who says that Clinton lost because of Russia is wrong. Anyone who says that Clinton lost because she ran a bad campaign is wrong. Anyone who says that Clinton lost because of Bernie is wrong. You’re all wrong. A lot of things happened and I don’t think any of them shift the tide on their own.

Here’s stuff that happened in no particular order of importance!

Almost everyone underestimated Trump’s ability to tap into voter anger and resentment. This had a cascading effect. Clinton’s campaign got cocky about running up the score and attacking red states. That story there notes that she made her first buy in Michigan way late in the game, so while she wasn’t totally ignoring that state, she sure didn’t pay enough attention to it. Spend the Florida money in the “blue” states that flipped, and Clinton probably wins.

That certainty that Clinton would win affected progressives too. Bernie campaigned for Clinton; I have no objection to his efforts. Nobody has the right to be nominated without opposition and if you can’t handle criticism from your own party, you’re screwed in the general election. Still, there are obviously going to be some number of people who decide that hey, I live in Michigan, we’re safely blue, I can file a protest vote. Enough to swing the election? Nope! But part of a whole.

Russian disinformation had an effect. It wouldn’t have flipped the election on its own but the constant barrage of accusations reinforced everything else Trump was doing. And, let us be honest, the baggage attached to the Clinton name didn’t help either. She started with that disadvantage.

The New York FBI office leaked to Giuliani and the media during the course of the campaign, with the clear intention of hurting the Clinton campaign. ACAB means “at all times, even when their activity hurts people you don’t like.”

Related: James Comey fucked up. Here’s the polling shift. (That article is a much less angry version of this, you should probably just read them instead of me.) Clinton wouldn’t have been in that position without all the other issues I’ve already ranted about, so I don’t agree that Comey alone lost her the election, but boy that was painful.

Now, any of those four or five issues wouldn’t have sunk Clinton on their own, and that’s why it’s so easy to argue against them as important. If I stand up and say “Clinton lost because she ran a bad campaign and didn’t appeal to progressives,” well, that’s falsifiable because the effect of the bad campaign wasn’t enough… except that she was already on a precipice beforehand.

At most you can say that she should have been ready for all of this. I don’t think that’s true. In particular, the disinformation barrage was completely new to us and Comey’s actions were incredibly unexpected. You should be prepared for the unexpected but also maybe let’s not be blaming the victim too much.

Also, getting arrogant was within her control. I am in no way absolving Clinton from her mistakes.

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