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Tue Dec 6, 2016, 01:49 PM

Why did Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party not gain the White House and Congress?

Three years before this election, it appeared that Hillary Clinton would be the strongest Democratic candidate for President and the Democratic Party had an excellent chance to win the Senate, and gain back some of the lost state governorships and roughly 1000 legislative seats across the country that had been lost since 2010. The House was probably not winnable due to gerrymandering after the 2010 election. It was clear that demographically the Democratic Party was in the process of gaining electoral strength in the Southwest, and would have at least a national popular vote advantage, as well as a blue firewall across the Midwest in the electoral college.

So what happened? The GOP and its rich backers had a plan. Really a continuation of the plans they've had since the election of President Obama. They had blocked and then denigrated everything President Obama tried to do or did since he was elected, stirring their base with a barrage of misinformation via Fox, the internet and talk radio.

Then they identified Hillary Clinton as the key target early, and began attacking her through congressional investigations in 2013, complimented by their media and sympathizers to destroy her favorability and trustworthiness polling through slander and innuendo. And it worked. By mid 2015, they brought her favorability below 50% from over 60% in 2012, and below 40% by mid 2016, thanks to the FBI investigation, which they lucked out on, since it appeared to corroborate all of the nonsense they had brought to bear--- even though no charges were brought, the damage was done. What they hadn't counted on is that the GOP would nominate someone with even lower favorables. so Hillary was still leading in the polls throughout the whole cycle and went on to win the popular vote by 2%. It was Comey's last minute machinations which stole just enough momentum to swing the election.

What about the rest of the Democratic Party? It has been on the decline since 2010. Why? 1) organizational-- GOP and especially it's billionaire influenced organizations had a plan to take over local governments across the country with coordinated support, in order to gerrymander elections for a decade or more. See http://www.democraticunderground.com/1016164776 2) ideology--By means of their very powerful mass media and internet presence, the shadow of Reagan and the idea of government as evil has been growing even stronger and the idea of government serving the common good that has powered the Democratic Party since FDR has been steadily weakening. 3) attack ads and slander--Citizen's United gave even more power to those who know how to win by slandering their opponents. Examples, Strickland in Ohio and Feingold in WI were defeated after polling ahead of their opponents until the attack ads began. The ads began early on Strickland and he was basically out of the running by midsummer. The ads ran late against Feingold, who had a 10% lead as late as October 1, before being branded as part of the political "establishment" by a series of misleading ads. Given that most voters (maybe 60%) are relatively uninformed these tactics work well. 4) Weakening the top of the ticket. By weakening the top of the Democratic ticket, the GOP destroyed any coat tail effect that could have thrown a monkey wrench into their plans.

The GOP retained the Senate, only losing a few Senate and House seats and generally did better than expected.
So what can be done?
1) Match or exceed the GOP in local and state political organization.
2) Ideology. Need to strengthen communicating the message that the government can be an agent of hope and change, that is making our lives better economically and socially
3) Media and slanderous ads. Either need to reciprocate, or find a way to neutralize the power of the GOP smear machines

The wild card in any plans is Trump, whose effect is as unpredictable as he is himself

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why did Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party not gain the White House and Congress? (Original post)
andym Dec 2016 OP
meow2u3 Dec 2016 #1
Cosmocat Dec 2016 #3
andym Dec 2016 #9
Cosmocat Dec 2016 #11
oley Dec 2016 #6
BlueProgressive Dec 2016 #10
JCanete Dec 2016 #21
Cosmocat Dec 2016 #2
pansypoo53219 Dec 2016 #4
andym Dec 2016 #8
hueymahl Dec 2016 #12
NewJeffCT Dec 2016 #5
andym Dec 2016 #7
Cosmocat Dec 2016 #13
NewJeffCT Dec 2016 #14
Cosmocat Dec 2016 #15
NewJeffCT Dec 2016 #16
Cosmocat Dec 2016 #17
andym Dec 2016 #19
uponit7771 Dec 2016 #18
triron Dec 2016 #20

Response to andym (Original post)

Tue Dec 6, 2016, 02:20 PM

1. Problem is, Democrats are basically honest brokers

who are reluctant to engage in dirty tricks like the right does because the repukes have no conscience. Dems would have to put their conscience aside to fight dirty like the pukes do and it doesn't help when the brand is "when they go low, we go high."

I say let's forget about going high when repunks go low. I say let's give them a taste of their own medicine, including massive voter suppression, starting with framing the narrative by painting the repukes as running a decades-long crime wave for which they've gone unpunished. Then target their most reliable voter base, the RW evangelicals in the suburbs and rural areas and conservative Catholics in suburban parishes with seemingly conservative religious leafleting which actually shame them on their blatant hypocrisy.

Tell conservative Catholics they're risking their immortal souls by siding with Republican RW extremists, who support taking the food out of the mouths of the poor and that the real "non-negotiables" Jesus talked about were indifference and hostility towards the most vulnerable of society.

Are there any progressive Evangelical DUers willing to give us suggestions on penetrating the RW evangelical bubble?

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 6, 2016, 03:10 PM

3. You are correct in the analysis, but

While I agree that Democrats are bringing cupcakes to a gun fight, the game simply is rigged so massively to republicans because hate and division are the subtext to our whole culture now and that is what they are.

The democrats had an edge when we were in a fact based world and labor puts its weight behind it because the party was advocating for the average Joe.

But, republicans have effectively destroyed the labor market and the people of this country stopped voting pocketbook long ago.

Every election is cultural now and we end up defending the most wanted lists of what the angry white voters - minorities and LBGT community. And, the prior vote EVERY election come hell or high water and the later mostly don't show up on election day other than presidentials.

Hell, we were in a better place 8 years ago when it was just media bias. NOW, we live in a country that is openly hostile to facts, reality and decency.

I guess what I am saying is, we are pretty much fucked.

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Response to Cosmocat (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 04:41 AM

9. I agree with a lot of what you say

except I think voters do vote pocketbook-- at least they think they are. That's another reason why the GOP is winning. They have convinced a large number of Americans that cutting taxes and removing regulations will benefit them directly and through trickle-down. It's a serious problem-- Democrats need the equivalent of a Reagan, who created the problem in the first place, to reverse it-- perhaps Trump will do enough damage to conjure someone who will be FDR Jr.

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Response to andym (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 08:55 AM

11. Yeah, this is true in part

there absolutely is a very strong faction of people who buy the trickle down scam.

This is mostly 1) the business wing of the party that has the capacity to loot tax payer coffers and use this scam as the means to do so 2) the hair brained libertarian type twits who think they are so smart they know something no one else does.

I would say, however, the subtext of that framing that appeals to the "working class" is the part that focuses on "THEM" getting their tax dollars.

It was St. Ronnie who coined the term "welfare queen."

Every rural type or blue collar type who buy that bullshit I know is willing to jeopardize their little government handouts out of their red hot rage over the thought of some BMW driving row house living type they have heard about on food stamps.

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 6, 2016, 06:13 PM

6. Problem is, Democrats are basically honest brokers

 

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 05:31 AM

10. I like this:

 

"Tell conservative Catholics they're risking their immortal souls by siding with Republican RW extremists, who support taking the food out of the mouths of the poor and that the real "non-negotiables" Jesus talked about were indifference and hostility towards the most vulnerable of society."

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 12, 2016, 04:18 PM

21. I don't really think this is true. Democrats basically have a somewhat better informed electorate.

 


This makes the most egregious tactics a dangerous game to play, capable of alienating our party's own supporters, so it isn't necessarily a sound approach. That doesn't mean we aren't capable of getting dirty if we think we can get away with it. The problem is that if the media doesn't want us to, we won't, and there is no chance of an equal standard when it comes to reporting.

There's one way in which we absolutely are too "nice," but I think that's because we still think we can schmooze our way into seats of power. The reality is that this is getting less and less likely with a media that has become entirely untethered to any kind of universal code of conduct, or standards of quality. Democrats, as the "conscientious" pro-corporate party, are increasingly losing our usefulness in a system that has already been so coopted--whether from media consolidation under mega-corporations, campaign finance run amok, voter suppression, erosion of education, or an increasing economic uncertainty that is making people stupid. We are truly dinosaurs.

Actually, that's going too far. We do continue to be useful as an alternative...the one that is always inches from being in power but never quite gets there. Occasionally we get to win the White House and get blamed for gridlock.

Taking on the GOP is fighting against the proxy, not the institution itself. If we as a party, continue to pretend as if the corporations aren't calling the shots, when they literally own the media that gave us Trump and gave us all of the shit I mentioned above, and if we continue to try to be cozy with these very corporations, we're going to continue to be the pinch-hitters that never get a spot in the lineup. We have got to quit pretending that the news doesn't have an agenda. We have got to quit pretending to ourselves that we can convince corporate interests that they just need to be a little nicer for their own sakes, if we don't actually start handing out the pitch-forks and the torches.



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Response to andym (Original post)

Tue Dec 6, 2016, 03:03 PM

2. It really isn't a mystery

This country is THAT stupid.

Plain and simple.

And, honestly, the digression has been building for 30 years, and it is only going to get worse.

Not sure we are going to be able to dig out of it sans things getting really, REALLY bad.

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Response to andym (Original post)

Tue Dec 6, 2016, 03:22 PM

4. because she focussed on getting anti RUMP republicans instead of the left.

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 7, 2016, 01:09 PM

8. I'm not so sure

most of the GE campaign was spent attacking Trump and promoting a very large set of ideas, which included progressive ones. There were a lot of messages, some for each part of the Democratic Party. An argument could be made that there were too many messages.

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 08:58 AM

12. That was a major tactical mistake

One of many, unfortunately.

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Response to andym (Original post)

Tue Dec 6, 2016, 03:24 PM

5. Gerrymandering has played a huge role in the GOP keeping the house

Democrats made a small amount of gains in the House (+6 or 7 seats, I think) - without gerrymandering, I am guessing that they pick up at least 10-15 seats, if not more. TX, MI, OH, NC are all gerrymandered to hell.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 6, 2016, 06:44 PM

7. Gerrymandering is a big problem-- the thing is that the GOP strategists planned very well

in order to position themselves in 2010 to seize control of the local governments needed to control the House (and future local elections in many cases).

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 09:06 AM

13. Pa and Va, too

Pa has hundreds of thousands more registered Ds than Rs, but 12 of our 18 House seats are R.

The state districts are just as comical.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania's_congressional_districts

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Response to Cosmocat (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 09:50 AM

14. Yikes

There really should be a national standard to draw voting districts by state. A nonpartisan group or similar. I think somebody had proposed a panel of retired judges several years back.

imagine if PA were allocated evenly and it was 10 or 11 D seats and 7 or 8 R seats. That's a pickup of 4 or 5 seats right there.
Add in 4-5 more each in Ohio, VA and Michigan and pretty soon you're around an evenly split house.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 01:04 PM

15. YEP

But, the Rs pound their chests that the house proves america wants their agenda the people of this country don't even bat an eyelash over gerrymandering.

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Response to Cosmocat (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 01:59 PM

16. it doesn't bother most people

because they think both sides do it. And, while gerrymandering was done by both sides in the past, most blue states have evolved to where they draw congressional lines on a nonpartisan basis. Except for maybe 1 state, all of the states that do congressional apportionment on a partisan basis are red states.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 03:54 PM

17. Pa

in theory is a slight blue state, but because of the absurd districting the Rs have a near mortal lock on the state senate and a pretty big margin in the state house.

There is a "commission" of five - the minority and majority leader in both the house and senate, and a fifth person who approve redistricting lines, then it gets confirmed by the courts. The courts kicked it back the last time, god know how awful it was, before they made some small changes and the courts approved it.

The thing is, the courts won't force them to walk back what already exists, and the dirty secret with it is that while Rs have been the Rs, just meaner and more disciplined and focused to get such favorable lines, the Ds mostly just do show barking about it, because their districts are so chock full of Ds that their seats are super safe.

And, I can't fathom how we will ever see the kind of turnover with them all to have them rewrite the laws on the books as they exist now.

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Response to Cosmocat (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 12, 2016, 03:08 PM

19. Gerrymandering is self-reinforcing

When done well, the very system keeps itself in place.

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Response to andym (Original post)

Thu Dec 8, 2016, 03:55 PM

18. Voter suppression, Comey and Russia

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Response to andym (Original post)

Mon Dec 12, 2016, 03:44 PM

20. Voter disenfranchisement, the FBI lies, Russians, and the media.

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