A common complaint against Hillary Clinton throughout her campaign was that she came off to voters as cold and highly scripted. WikiLeaks emails released from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta revealed her campaign staff debated back and forth about what to have her say, often without any input from Clinton herself. The campaign’s response to the disconnect Clinton had with voters was to rely on data driven from a computer algorithm named Ada rather than hold more press conferences to personally address voters’ concerns, or hold more town halls and appearances in working class communities.
“Ada is a complex computer algorithm that the campaign was prepared to publicly unveil after the election as its invisible guiding hand,” reported The Washington Post. “Named for a female 19th-century mathematician—Ada, Countess of Lovelace—the algorithm was said to play a role in virtually every strategic decision Clinton aides made, including where and when to deploy the candidate and her battalion of surrogates and where to air television ads—as well as when it was safe to stay dark.”
In short, a campaign whose candidate suffered from complaints about appearing too robotic put all bets on a robot. And Clinton partisans wonder why she lost.
Clinton didn’t make any appearances in Wisconsin and didn’t show up in Michigan until very late in the election. Sen. Bernie Sanders defeated Clinton in both states during the Democratic primaries, despite the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Party working on behalf of her candidacy.
“One of the issues the Democrats have to be clear on is, given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. We have to work at a grass-roots level, something that’s been a running thread in my career,” Obama told reporters on November 14, preceding a trip he is taking to Greece, Germany and Peru. “You know, I won Iowa not because the demographics dictated that I would win Iowa. It was because I spent 87 days going to every small town and fair and fish fry and VFW hall, and there were some counties where I might have lost, but maybe I lost by 20 points instead of 50 points.”
Obama added, “There are some counties maybe I won that people didn’t expect because people had a chance to see you and listen to you and get a sense of who you stood for and who you were fighting for.” But instead, the Clinton campaign falsely assumed it could ride on the coattails of Obama’s approval ratings and previous success in grassroots campaigning, without having to do any of the work themselves.
Clinton and her loyal supporters have yet to hold themselves accountable for her loss. It wasn’t Russia, WikiLeaks, FBI Director James Comey, Facebook, third parties, Sanders, sexism or the media’s fault. It was Clinton and the DNC‘s for being grossly out of touch with voters.
Their strategy was focused on wealthy donors and elites. The Clinton campaign responded to Donald Trump‘s wealth by touting billionaires Mark Cuban, Warren Buffett, Meg Whitman and Michael Bloomberg as surrogates. They reveled in fundraising nearly twice as much as Trump, with over $200 million from Super PACs.
During a time in which both political parties were experiencing a rise in resentment toward big money and the elitist status quo, Clinton embraced the elitism that the family has taken solace in since Bill left the White House. Hillary assumed all that corporate money would grease her campaign wheels, allowing her to coast into the White House. This tactic backfired miserably, though it was obvious to anyone not depending solely on a computer algorithm that this was self-destructive from the start.