The election was seven months ago, but you would think it was just last week with the way Democrats are still going on about it. Articles abound complaining that Donald Trump won, and Clinton keeps peeking out of campaign purgatory to blame this person or that for her loss, only briefly acknowledging that she played a role.
It seems, though, that some on the left are now growing tired of re-living election day without truly grasping what led to Clinton’s loss. It wasn’t Russia, James Comey or even Wikileaks; it was a poorly run campaign helmed by a weak candidate whose sole purpose for running was that it was her “turn.”
The first hit came from Vanity Fair’s T.A. Frank, who published an article on June 9 titled “Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into the Night?” (I wrote a similarly titled article several months ago.)
Frank argues that the Clintons—currently Hillary—are hogging the spotlight from others who want to move the party forward. Clinton and her loyalists may talk about “progress,” but they offer no vision or cause, unlike Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Precisely when those on the left ought to be negotiating today’s fault lines and creating new coalitions, Democrats are getting dragged back into last year’s fights and letting personal loyalties drown out thoughts about core principles,” Frank wrote. “The indefatigability of the Clintons isn’t just a nuisance but a hindrance.”
Clinton is still trying to be the leader of the Democratic Party, but she offers nothing to rally behind. Former President Barack Obama offered a vision, as did Sanders, but Clinton basically repeated what they said while talking vaguely about the future.
This weekend, others on the left joined the chorus criticizing the party. CNN contributor Van Jones told an audience at the People’s Summit that the Clinton campaign spent its money on itself.
“Let’s be honest: They took a billion dollars, a billion dollars, a billion dollars, set it on fire, and called it a campaign!” Jones said at the event in Chicago.
He also called the people behind Clinton’s data operation “data dummies who couldn’t figure out that maybe people in Michigan needed to be organized.”
At the end of this May, Clinton added the Democratic National Committee to her list of scapegoats, claiming she inherited nothing from the organization after she received the presidential nomination.
“I mean it was bankrupt. It was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong,” Clinton claimed.
The former DNC data director, in now-deleted tweets, took Clinton to task for her comments, calling her accusation “F***ing bull****.” In one tweet, he said the DNC models showed Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as potentially vulnerable, but the Clinton campaign ignored their data and those states, ultimately leading to her losing the states and the general election.
Clinton’s supporters like to focus on how she won the popular vote, but she picked up votes in safe Democratic states and in red states where the campaign spent a lot of money despite never having a chance to win.
While Sanders is a regular critic of the party, he also contributed to the weekend of criticism. While also speaking at the People’s Summit, Sanders trotted out his tried-and-true line: “Trump didn’t win the election, the Democratic Party lost the election.”
Both are a little true.
Sanders also called the Democratic Party “an absolute failure.” That is absolutely true as it pertains to the 2016 election. If the party can’t understand that it was not just outside forces that led to their election loss, they’ll continue their losing streak.