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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 16,939

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Yes. There were numerous factors that swung the race narrowly to Trump.

None of them are trivial. Republicans practiced wide spread voter suppression efforts against minority voters in particular this year. Trump got hundreds of millions in free publicity early in the race before the media quite belatedly began to actually cover him beyond the buzz they generated for him - and then for the most part only the print media got real. The overt actions of the FBI Director had him jumping into the scale for Trump rather than just putting a finger on it. Russia intervened in the election on Trump's behalf, hacking and facilitating the release of tens of thousands of emails meant to discredit Clinton. Facebook allowed fake news stories in favor of Trump to proliferate, virtually unchallenged. Third Party candidates muddied the field and got significant numbers of votes. Some Americans simply were not ready to accept a woman as President, no matter how qualified. The electoral college is undemocratic, and Hillary probably got million of more votes than Trump without winning. Others can add to this list no doubt.

All true, but Democrats still should have easily won this election for President. Ongoing demographic shifts have favored Democrats increasingly each Presidential election. The unemployment level dipped below 5% before this election. The Republicans could not have nominated a less qualified and more universally disliked and distrusted candidate for President than Donald Trump. Hillary had a well oiled highly professional campaign team, Trump ran through three different campaign managers. The official Democratic Party was unified behind Clinton; Trump couldn't even get endorsements from previous Republican Presidents or most prior Republican Presidential candidates - nor several of the candidates who ran against him for the nomination, including the Governor of Ohio where their convention was held. Trump had no high profile surrogates who significantly campaigned for him aside from his Vice President and his daughter. Hillary had her daughter and VP too. She also had Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden, and Al Gore, and Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. And she had a very popular two term Democratic President and his even more popular wife pulling out all of the stops for her. Trump had Ted Nuggent, Clinton had Bruce Springsteen, and Beyonce etc. etc. etc.

After Romney's 2012 loss to Obama the RNC determined that Republicans needed better outreach to Latinos in order to win national elections. Instead Trump did everything in his power to push them away. Despite all of his boasting about his personal riches Hillary raised and outspent Trump by hundreds of millions during this presidential campaign. Although there were small numbers of Democrats vocal in opposition to Hillary, there were many more Republicans vocal in opposition to Trump. The Democrats had a fully functional GOTV machine, the Republicans did not. Trump was caught on tape boasting about sexual assaults. Women who were molested by him came forward. Teen beauty queens related how Trump barged in on them while naked during Trump promoted pageants. There is a trial date pending for the victims of the Trump University scam. Trump refused to release any of his tax returns. Trump admitted that he doesn't pay Federal Income taxes. Trump said he admires Putin, who most Americans knee jerk hate. The Ku Klux Klan endorsed Trump. The list of reasons why virtually any Democrat should have beaten Donald Trump is simply too long to list.

I don't say any of this to bash Hillary. After she secured the Democratic nomination I wanted her to win the election, and I worked toward that end. None of this denies her ample qualifications to have become President, nor the fact that millions of voters sincerely love Hillary, nor the obvious good that America finally electing a female President could have brought this country, and the world. But Clinton didn't win an election that never should have been close enough to slip away from her. To pretend otherwise is denial.

Yes Virginia, this was a “change election” and Hillary Clinton was never a change candidate. She was the establishment candidate all the way. Back when pundits were assuming that another Clinton Bush match-up was virtually inevitable, someone should have gotten a clue when Jeb totally bombed in the primaries. Americans were restless. Hilary's campaign doubled down on assumptions that did not bear out, and that unfortunately means flirting with the political death penalty. About 57 percent of eligible voters cast ballots this year, down from 58.6 percent in 2012 and 61.6 percent in 2008. The “Obama coalition” did not come through as strongly as hoped for, even with record levels of Hispanic participation. Yes, it turns out that it was significant that the maverick campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were bringing out crowds of tens of thousands during the primaries while Hilary was struggling to crack three digits at hers. Hillary always had the Democratic Party machine wired for her, and I'm not even referring to anything unethical in saying so. She spent decades in the trenches; she knew people, lots of people, and many of them personally admired her and/or owed her favors. She essentially cleared the field well before the primaries ever began (it's always been my belief that O'Malley was always running to become VP). When a 73 year old little known Democratic Socialist Senator from Vermont, who the media kept on ignore well past any semblance of objective coverage, gave her such a strong run for the money – that should have been wake up call enough. Instead, after Hillary won the nomination her campaign systematically neglected the rust belt, which ultimately resulted in her defeat.

If Democrats now ignore the above realities we will remain out of touch with a dangerously large swath of the electorate. The Democratic Party brand has suffered with working and middle class Americans in recent decades. Look below the level of presidential elections and that could not be more obvious. Democrats have repeatedly been routed in more and more state legislatures. The Clinton era is now officially over. Yes many things had to go wrong for us in order for Trump to become President. Had a few of them broken differently we would narrowly have dodged that bullet, but it was heading toward us none the less.

My gut worst case scenario for tonight is still a good one

I say Hillary takes FL, NC, NV, PA, CO, NM, WI, one electoral vote in Nebraska, and NH. In my worst case I give Trump OH, one electoral vote from Maine, and just possibly Michigan. I actually think Trump may lose Arizona but let's say he wins it, and Georgia too and holds on to Missouri and Indiana. No way he gets Minnesota. Bottom line: No way Trump comes close to winning. And he gets swamped in the popular vote.
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