Thursday, July 27, 2017

Post-Hillary Democrats

This is good.

From Daniel Henninger, at WSJ, "The Post-Hillary Democrats: How in God’s name, the Democrats wonder, did we ever lose the 2016 election to HIM?":
On climate change, Democrats believe they know to the 10th decimal place that Earth is on the brink of an apocalypse. But by their own admission this week, they don’t have a clue about which way the wind is blowing with the American voter.

On Monday the Democrats released something called “A Better Deal,” a set of policy ideas to win back voters. Think of it as the party laying down the first quarter-mile of blacktop on its road back to power.

The short version of “A Better Deal” is that they would bust up corporate trusts (Teddy Roosevelt, circa 1902), ramp up public-works spending ( FDR, circa the Great Depression) and enact various tax credits (Washington, circa eternity).

The more interesting question here lies in the document’s unspoken subtext: How in God’s name did we lose a presidential election to . . . him?

In a recent Washington Post interview, one of Hillary Clinton’s closest advisers, Jake Sullivan, admits, “I am still losing sleep. I’m still thinking about what I could have done differently.” Who wouldn’t? What happened Nov. 8 was like losing five Super Bowls in one day.

Hillary Clinton has taken to citing one fact: “Remember, I did win more than three million [more] votes than my opponent.” True, notwithstanding the pesky two-centuries-old Electoral College vote, which she lost.

Here’s another fact that still poses a maddening question for many: Donald J. Trump got more than 62 million votes. It wasn’t long before Election Day that many political sophisticates wondered how Donald Trump would get 620 votes, much less 62 million—after the McCain slander, the “Access Hollywood” tape, the generalized ignorance.

A conventional explanation for the loss—and we know this because Chuck Schumer conventionalized it last weekend—is to blame her. “When you lose to somebody who has 40% popularity,” said Sen. Schumer, “you don’t blame other things—Comey, Russia—you blame yourself.”

This is rich. It’s almost oxymoronic. The reason Democrats lost to him is that they had an unelectable candidate. But if both parties were running “unelectable” candidates, then a lot of that day’s 138 million voters based their decisions on something more concrete than the personalities of two celebrities.

Hillary Clinton was running as the extension of Barack Obama’s two-term presidency. If the Democrats are now throwing her under the bus, Mr. Obama is down there with her.

The Obama presidency was a watershed for the Democratic Party for reasons having little to do with his historic candidacy. Mr. Obama moved his party significantly to the left, arguably as Ronald Reagan had moved his to the right. But those two buzzwords—left and right—have substantive meaning. In practice, the Obama years constituted an abrupt enhancement of state power. ObamaCare was the tip of the iceberg.

Barack Obama was as smooth as Bill Clinton was slick, and he used his eloquence to soften the hard edges of the many policy coercions by his Justice, Labor and Education departments and the omnipresent EPA.

In 2016, the Clintons, especially the ex-president, recognized the risks of running on this leftward legacy in a general election. Thus Hillary’s efforts to essentially talk and fog her way past that reality.
Still more.

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