There is one obvious answer to complaints that Hillary Clinton ran a flawed campaign. Everyone, including her opponent, thought she was winning. Sure, it is clear now that she wasn’t; however, why would she have spent more time in Wisconsin, for example, if all signs pointed to a victory there and opportunities elsewhere? Indeed, her campaign was designed around leveraging her forthcoming victory. Four weeks ago, Democrats complained that money was not going less to Clinton and more to tight Congressional races.
The problem in 2016 was something more fundamental, more basic…and that is a basic misunderstanding of who votes and why. And that is a big one, no doubt! It also might be one of the few truly bi-partisan issues in American politics today. In this round, the conservatives got it right, however not by design, but simply by the dumb luck of Donald Trump. It is the triumph of fate over strategy. Regardless of how we got here, this was an election that will reset the landmarks for future campaigns.
So we could say Clinton was the victim of bad political science and baffling polls and I actually think that is fair. Of course Hillary Clinton and her supporters wish it were different, but it isn’t. To attack her campaign now for winning until she didn’t forgets that she and her supporters were all in this together believing the election was won.
It is unlikely either side will misjudge the American electorate as badly next time. Beyond that, Democrats must learn that they need more than strong liberals to win both state and national elections.