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What Hillary needs to say

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On November 9, 2016, I awoke at 5:30 A.M., as usual after a night I can only describe as embodying utter disbelief.

The night prior, I sat in my living room, computer and coffee in hand, listening to the various TV news pundits map out what was expected by many to be an early night as election predictions were discussed.

Having covered the presidential race for months with countless claims and evidence in the form of polling and public opinion analysis, all signs pointed to the newspapers reading “President-elect Hillary Clinton” by dawn the next morning.

But there was just one issue, nearly everyone was wrong.

In what has been described as one of the biggest political upsets in American history, Donald J. Trump, a billionaire business-man, real estate mogul, and reality television star swept the electoral map, going on to earn the title “Mr. President.”

After laying low for several months after the election, Hillary has returned.

In a series of firsts for the former Secretary of State’s loss, Clinton spoke at a “Women for Women’s conference in New York City, saying in part, “If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president.”

Clinton attempting to justify and explain her November 8 loss by placing blame on external issues such as actions taken by the Director of the F.B.I., James Comey, when he spoke publically about Clinton’s e-mail investigation both in July and October of 2016–just ten days away from the general election–an unprecedented move.

The F.B.I. Director has testified to his actions twice now–the latest deposition on May 3 revealing his train of thought more-so than ever before in regard to the Clinton e-mail investigation.

It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election,” he told the senators. “But honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision.”

As he spoke of his personal need to disclose the details of the investigation after former President Bill Clinton met with United States Attorney General, Loretta Lynch privately on a tarmac in the midst of the investigation, the event taking place before the Department of Justice declared no charges be brought toward then-candidate Hillary Clinton for her use of a private e-mail server while she was Secretary of State under the Obama Administration.

Other contributing factors leading up to her loss, according to Clinton, misogyny and “Russian Wikileaks.”

As was heavily focused on when she first ran for President in 2008, sexism has been a prominent issue in the world of politics–but there was something else that Clinton has been reluctant to speak on: her role in the election loss.

Until May of 2017, nearly five months after her defeat, Clinton failed to comment on her responsibility.

She spoke briefly during the on-stage interview at the “Women for Women’s” conference saying, “I take absolute responsibility, I was the candidate, I was the person on the ballot.”

But she also spoke to the other multitude of factors that she felt caused concern in the eyes of voters and that she had “lost the election in the last ten days.”

The actions of Director Comey and Wiki-Leaks exposure of D.N.C. and Clinton Campaign e-mails have shown to have had an impact on voters decisions at the ballot box, but there is more to the story.

It has been noted that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the two most unpopular Presidential candidates in United States history–but if we’re being honest here–there was much of a failure for all involved to recognize the desires of the American body politic.

Eight years ago, former President Obama ran on the promise for change. In the time since, the very definition has shifted to an effort he, along with the rest of Washington, D.C., and Hillary Clinton never saw coming. The American people, however, signaled their favor and enthusiasm, jumping behind the one and only Donald Trump. TIME Magazine’s David Von Drehle signified and pointed out the target attached to Hillary Clinton, saying:

“Clinton wore the enemy uniform for the Trump campaign as if it were custom

tailored. She was the Establishment he promised to purge. She profited from the

cronyism that he dares to call out. She embodied Washington, the swamp he

pledged to drain, in all its mansions and motorcades and mendacity.”

Moreover, she appeared to be what many are calling disconnected from the Middle American electorate, a hard blow to her campaign and its message. As republican political strategist, Mike Murphy, put it in an interview with journalist, Katie Couric:

“. . .you had two things going on: lack of enthusiasm for Hillary. . . I don’t know

what her message is to this day. If you were in Macomb County where Obama

won last time and he [Trump] won big this time, you weren’t that interested in the

gender rules about bathrooms. . . you were worried about what people were going

to be doing about jobs. . . Trump spoke to those people. . . she did not.”

The election result backed up this very claim by its result. Voters also were not energized by Hillary Clinton as they were for Donald Trump in this cycle or even Bernie Sanders in the democratic primaries. The voters that were discouraged by the governmental proceedings in Washington under President Obama, turned to Mr. Trump in an effort to block an Obama “third term,” something that Clinton openly advocated, relying that voters would recognize the forty-fourth president’s successes, as she states in her book, Stronger Together:

“In 2008, our economy was cratering. Nearly 9 million people lost their jobs. By

2011, nearly 5 million lost their homes. Thanks to President Obama’s leadership

and the hard work and resilience of the American people, we have brought our

economy back from the brink.”

Also just before his exit from office, President Obama’s approval ratings stand higher than those of Ronald Reagan when he left office. Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic puts that number at 56% as of December 2016.

The Wall Street Journal’s Charles Murray states the modification in voter temperament as: “. . .things started to change. For white working-class men in their 30s and 40s. . . participation in the labor force dropped from 96% in 1968 to 79% in 2015.”

A statistic that was unnerving for the heart of Middle America. Hillary Clinton’s message to rural America on an economic level was non-existent according to many. In fact, one single ad going after Trump with his own words aired more than 14,500 times by November 1, 2016, according to a UCLA report conducted soon before the conclusion of the election, the Clinton campaign omitting issue based advertising.

A number that 75% of viewers found angering according to the same report.

Clinton’s message was outlined in detail in her campaign book: Stronger Together. The title going hand-in-hand with her General Election slogan. Clinton states in the book: “We can’t be satisfied with the status quo—not by a long shot. Too many people are living paycheck-to-paycheck. . . It’s Economics 101: when working people have more money in their pockets, everyone wins.”

Whereas Donald Trump struck a different tone in his campaign promise book: Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again. Trump stated:

“The only things that work are having a clear point of view and knowing how to get your message across to the country so that the people support and understand your mission. . . . I manage to blast through the ridiculous liberal bias of the media and speak right to the hearts of the people—or at least I try.”

In an NBC News special report, authored by Benjy Sarlin: “Inside the United States of Trump,” published shortly after the conclusion of the 2016 election, voters spoke out in their own words describing their passion behind the often questioned Trump vote. One voter puts it as: “‘He [Trump] has the foresight to see what was coming. . . He’s able to stand up for the country. I haven’t been as excited about a candidate since Reagan.”

Here lies a trend.

Voters, as mentioned, as well as cited in many of Donald Trump’s campaign speeches, are growing increasingly discouraged with the current system and so-called establishment politicians.

A politician with experience in Washington is not viewed as a positive anymore, as it once was. One Trump supporter, Patricia Sullivan, said, “I don’t trust her,” in regards to Mrs. Clinton, adding, “There has been an undercurrent of distrust of those in political power and honestly, it’s very valid.”

This comes as many within the working class voting block have seen a decrease in success under the incumbent Obama Administration. The demographic that won Trump the presidency:

“‘When people say, ‘It’s unbelievable what’s happening to Trump,’ it’s really not,’ he told a crowd in Pennsylvania in April: ‘You have people who did better 18 years ago, you have people who have two jobs and they did better 17 years ago and they’re working harder now.’ . . . Another major predictor was the percentage of whites who participate in the labor force.”

75.8% of the electorate has a low white labor participation rate as discovered by data computed from a five-year 2014 American Community Server estimate for white labor participation within NBC’s “Inside the United States of Trump,” as well as the aforementioned Wall Street Journal report. Following the election, Vice President Joe Biden said in a speech at a New York University Law School sponsored event in Washington, D.C. a month after the election that he was: “. . . embarrassed by the nature in which this campaign was conducted,” speaking in regards to the Clinton candidacy.

The former Vice President also adding that the debate between Clinton and Trump was: “. . .a battle of personalities than it was ideas.”

In an MSNBC town-hall a month after the election, Bernie Sanders sat down with voters from both sides of the partisan aisle to discuss frustrations in America.

While social issues arose such as Trump’s proposed Muslim ban and other heated rhetoric, one consensus rang true: voters are angry with the people Washington and their only hope was Donald Trump to, as the President would say, “Make America Great Again!”

Voters explained their disregard of some of his most controversial comments, such as the Muslim ban, stating that they would never make it through Congress, as it recently has met heated opposition in the federal circuit courts.

They turned to Trump due to his promise to achieve that once thriving prosperity of middle-class voters, a group that felt forgotten by both the political and media elite. A group that wanted change. A group that once turned to Obama. As one Michigan voter told Michael Scherer of TIME Magazine in regards to the 2008 election, “‘I hoped for change and never saw it,’ . . . ‘Hillary came along [in the 2016 election] and she just never said what she was going to do, she just talked bad about Trump.”

Trump holds a promise that many within that discouraged group are awaiting anxiously as the President recently marked his one-hundredth day in office.

And now it’s time for Hillary to face the facts and say that her defeat, regardless of external friction, was no one’s fault but her own.

 

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What Hillary needs to say