Andre Prokop, writing for Vox, has an interesting article this morning on a question facing dem strategists – did Hilary et al lose because they were not economic populists? Would they have done better if they had run on a more Bernie Sanders type of platform?
Based on the results of the various senate races, Prokop is skeptical. I agree and would take this a step further. I do not believe that the election results were “issue based”. I thought so at first. I thought Trump had connected on trade issues with folks feeling vulnerable. But the odd thing is that Trump did best among higher income voters, who would be less vulnerable. Go figure!
So what was going on? Most important, I think Hilary just was not an exciting candidate. She did not get enough folks who should have voted for her to turn out. She relied too heavily on the message that “I am competent and he is a gorgon”. He is a gorgon, but competence did not sell. No “red meat” enough? Perhaps. I do think there was a bias towards “toughness”. Trump talked tough and a certain number of white males said “yeah USA! USA! USA!” This is understandable given how long the so called “war on terrorism” has dragged out, and how frustrating the military campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have been, and how the world appears to be headed towards a more confrontational mode, not to mention how gridlock in Washington has persisted.
Having said that, Trump STILL did not win the popular vote and he barely won the electoral vote. That suggests to me that the dems need to think about a more resonating and tough messenger for the next cycle. Just moving left won’t do it. So that means the dems will probably move left.
One last thing — for me, the most disturbing trend is that we now have in the mainstream, national conversation a voice that openly and repeatedly argues that our governing institutions are not worth defending. What is the alternative? Rule by person rather than rule by law.
What do you think?