Hillary Clinton During the 2016 Elections: Candidate History and Possible Reasons of Failure
The year is 2016 and the former president Barack Obama has completed his 2, four-year terms as the President of the United States and were heating up as the popular president could no longer hold office and it was time for the people of the United States of America to decide and choose on a brand new President to take up the mantle of the leader of the free world. In the United States the Presidential Election has the highest turn out of voters even though Midterm elections are just as important but since everyone knows about the Presidential election and wants to show their support for their candidate. Countless people line up to vote and then watch their TV’s later the same night with baited breaths trying to stay updated and informed who may be in the lead or how close the race is. The results either roll in very late at night or early the next morning to one side of the population celebrating or jeering at the winning candidate. As the polls started closing some states could start reporting their exiting poll results. Starting with the eastern seaboard Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and D.C. all voted in favor of Hillary Clinton. The other states that gave electoral votes to Hillary Clinton were Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California and Hawaii. Otherwise the rest of the United States all voted for Donald Trump. Out of the 50 States only 21 of them voted for Hillary while the rest of the 29 states voted for Trump and at the end of the day Trump had earned 306 electoral votes greatly surpassing the 270 needed votes to win the electoral vote.
Following her loss in the 2016 election, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took serious heat and scandal from various political participants and many people within the Democratic National Committee. Many of these people argued that her loss in the election was attributed to her failure to visit key swing states, like Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, that could have turned the ever-important election in her favor with how close the election became with Hillary winning the popular vote, and Donald Trump wining because of the electoral college vote. If Hillary had spent just a little more time in the Midwest and lost her hubris just even winning Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio were 44 electoral votes that could’ve at least drove from 232 votes to 276 votes making her the possible Presidential elect. It would’ve been a close race but if Trump had lost those 44 electoral votes, he would’ve been at a near 262 instead of his astonishing 306 electoral votes.
My question for this research paper is did Secretary Clinton’s strategy on the ground cost her the election? Could have her campaign managers been too confident and had too much of a hubris to think that Trump could’ve won when Hillary herself was split within the DNC due to Bernie Sander’s campaign splitting the Democratic party instead of all united like the republican party was under Donald J. Trump? This research paper will focus and investigate the electoral effects of campaign visits by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The paper will also examine and identify how visits to a state during the 2016 Presidential Election increases a candidate’s chance of securing the electoral vote in that state. A main topic that will be a key focus in this research paper will be going throughout the Midwest and revealing results showing how each state voted by different means of how much or how little the candidate spent their time and resources in an area.
Bernie Sanders earlier campaign with his splitting of the Democratic party had a huge effect on Hillary’s campaign for when he was running, he was the popular democratic candidate, but he didn’t have enough sponsors and funding to compete against Hillary’s entire Stronger Together foundation. When Bernie Sanders was trying to compete against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination, he planned to have the resources and backing that the Democratic party had. During the beginning of the Presidential race it hurt Hillary Clinton to have to opposing sides in the same party with Bernie’s Socialist leaning policies and broader appeal to the younger audience it was much harder for Hillary to reach her target demographic which was the same that was pulling for Bernie’s campaign. Some examples of this being how different candidates focused on different area’s and demographics like how Hillary Clinton focused on the African American vote and the Women’s Vote and the location of the rallies made an impact as well for Hillary Focused more on the inner-city urban areas where as Trump focused more on White Christian “middle America” and promised to bring back jobs to them.
Donald J. Trump born June 14, 1946, a Queens native had always been in business and leadership positions ever since taking over the family real-estate business in 1971 and renaming it the Trump Organization. Trump was never shy of the spot light or major organizations or difficult decisions, part in why his company is so successful not only due to his family’s legacy but Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and ethic during any public or private business launched him into celebrity status and becoming a staple of the American image with various works and appearances such as co-authoring “The Art of the Deal” Owning the Miss Universe and Miss America beauty pageants, producing and hosting The Apprentice reality TV show, and making several cameos on various shows like the Simpsons, Home Alone 2:Lost in New York, etc. The people knew of Trump and his success and with an ego as big as the letters on his properties the man became a populist in the eyes of the media and became a fascination to the American population with his bold, rash and outlandish statements that would generate much stir within the media that gobbled up his statements and loved to report about him, further giving him notoriety as being so extreme that he reached so many people a lot further than the rest of the more boring candidates in comparison to how entertaining Trump was either if it was true or like his coined phrase, “Fake News”. After defeating Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz the most popular in the Republican Primary, Trump set his eyes on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500, otherwise better known as the White House.
Trump as he went about the country took on the mantle of being a populist for, he appealed to the working class of white Americans. According to the definition provided by Merriam-Webster, “A populist is a person, especially a politician, who strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.” That is exactly what Trump did during his tours around the United States appealing to his supporters that he was their champion and would pay attention the “Real America” and ignore them by the corrupt, lying, elitist politicians.
Trump’s campaign team had other various ways he won the Presidential Election:
- First reason was that he won because of Facebook and its inability or unwillingness to crack down on fake news.
- Social media in general as reported by right wing commentator Stefan Molyneux, “Radio as much won the election for Roosevelt and television for Kennedy as Social Media allowed Trump and his allies to drive the narrative.
- Lower voter turnouts for Democrats as a result of Bernie Sander’s primary being rigged by the DNC.
- Trumps celebrity status outshines Hillary’s substance just because everyone’s seen or heard of Trump in some form or another.
- White women as reported by Slate, said that White woman identified more with Trump than the minority races of women.
- White male resentment via The Nation “Exit polls show people making the least money voted for Clinton and focus on identity. The best evidence lies in Trump and his supporters’ call to ‘take our country back’”
- The Left and coastal elites shamed Trump supporters with Trumps sexism and racism and xenophobia to advance his candidacy did not reveal an inherent malice in most Americans.
- Rural Midwesterners are becoming more isolated and resistant to diversity than states on the coast.
- Regan Democrats surged in Michigan and the Midwest stated Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. The term Regan Democrat is a white working-class voter that lean democratic but bend right for special candidates like Reagan and now Trump.
- Gary Johnson and Jill Stein even though were third party still were another challenger that took voters away from Clinton in such states like Pennsylvania. 11 Via Reason Trump promised to destroy political correctness that have run rampant in college and liberal settings won him the “Culture war” and eventually the Presidency.
- College American’s are out of touch in politics. Via Alaska Dispatch News Trump spoke to White working-class voters, mostly shown to be those without college degrees, and talked about the things they cared about: religion, liberty, marriage, sexuality, abortion and gun rights. Many colleges have ‘professorial sorts’ who have spent time at universities and drift into an ‘insular political culture,’ thus their candidate was doomed to lose.
- Reported from The Daily Telegraph Voters believed that their political apparatus was corrupt and Trump affirmed that the system was corrupt and promised to fix the system if he was elected.
- When Hillary Clinton was trying to campaign with the help of famous singers such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Trump was appealing to the “Forgotten men and women of America” meaning as the younger crowd was getting all excited for Jay and Beyoncé, Trump was looking to the people who didn’t really care about those celebrities and used that to his advantage to say look at how she doesn’t care what you want, she is only trying to appeal to this audience made the “Forgotten People” only exact revenge by voting for Trump instead.
- The James Comey scandal over Hillary Clintons emails took away all the momentum and progress the democratic campaign had with the investigation happening just two weeks before the election put Clinton in a worse light than she already was in to which effect demoralized the democratic base.
My research has also led to reveal the candidate’s history, and generally how they are view by the public for past mistakes or accomplishes, previous experience in campaigns or lack thereof. The candidate’s platform and promises with examples from rallies to which the public reacted positively or negatively. A big part of any great political campaign is advertisement and rhetoric of the campaign, for example “Make America great again” had a way better ring and effect then “Stronger together” had and everyone could easily recognize the bright red ballcap with white letters over the Blue H with a red arrow through the middle of it button. The research I have done has also led me to point out how successful a candidates’ endorsements or political actors has helped their campaign. An example being Former President Barack Obama endorsing Hillary Clinton having a huge effect, but Mrs. Clinton still managed to lose. Possible effects from recent scandals have appeared in several articles stating how people have strong animosity to a candidate. The population of the United States might not particularly care about what he or she has done in recent years until its election session then every little incident no matter how big or small ends up in the public’s eye and influencing the election.
The Question is how did Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential bid in the race relate to established findings suggesting the difficulties Hillary faced in pursing her presidency? In her case it shows that women can still face many of the obstacles in the United States while struggling with the difficulties of trying to run against a rich white conservative male. The presidential glass ceiling that Hillary Clinton fought so hard to break remains untouched and completely intact in our political system at least for now and until the possible 2020 election.
Mrs. Clinton was able to earn the trust, and support of the voters along with various political allies to secure the Democratic nomination. Only then did the Democratic Party top brass rally behind Hillary. Hillary had to run against several challengers such as Martin O’Malley but only an Independent Vermont Senator by the name of Bernie Sanders showed that he would be competitive. When Bernie decided to metaphorically throw his own hat in the ring, did he draw some challenge as it went against the narrative of Hillary being the only consensus candidate and as he sparked much enthusiasm in various key demographics that we not as excited about a Clinton presidency, Bernie took his chance. The main bulk of the groups entailed a younger and more liberal side to voters who viewed Sanders as being the one to offer change, even if was a political outsider. That outsider image stuck through even though Bernie Sanders served in Congress for almost 30 years!
The Democratic party did not have very many rivals, the Democratic Party started taking was starting to show a preference to Clinton’s candidacy in many ways, scheduling debates at different days and times drew a low audience but only primarily filled convention committees with only Clinton die-hards. The Democratic Party Chair leader Debra Shultz’s had some of her emails leaked and showed that the DP’s committee had strong preference for Clinton’s nomination, even though it was supposed to take a neutral position as the primaries drew closer, for example during the earliest stages of the nominating campaign Superdelegates strongly supported Clinton. Big media companies tended to report the unpledged delegate totals numbers even though they did not confirm support for her and reported Clinton’s actual pledged delegates, only reinforcing her frontrunner standing, suggesting a massive lead and advantage against competitors. We can see with these examples there are confirmed findings that women are selected as favored nominees if the parties play a central role in determining the winner. Clinton also garnished more than enough of the popular vote to secure the nomination, no other woman in the democratic party had been able to accomplish before. However, this was possible for the strong party support.
Clinton achieved at least 3 million more votes than Republican candidate Donald Trump who received about 48 percent to 46 percent during the general election according to BBC News. The fact that she amassed more votes among the American public in the general election shows that she was the obvious popular choice. Of course, like other female presidential aspirants in the United States and worldwide, she failed to meet the electoral count which is at least more important in the United States. The key factor in her electoral count was she lost key Midwest states, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio, securing only 232 electoral votes compared to Trump’s over the top of 306. Never the less though she lost the campaign despite having several critical and related advantages up her sleeve like financial resources, vast political experience, and family ties.
Hillary Clinton possessed quite a financial boon in terms in resources for example in 2008, Clinton held a massive fundraising advantage in 2016 as she raised nearly $500 million in big campaign contributions and nearly over $200 million more in outside funding, which according to Opensecrets.org was twice as much as Trump’s totals. So surprisingly a woman in politics, accumulated a substantial Presidential war chest. Her successful fundraising from the quality she offered as a candidate, Clinton with her establishing a long list of political credentials, the supporters including President Obama, pointed to her as the greatest and most qualified Presidential candidate to have run for president in American history. Clinton had shown a very extensive political resume, which included 4 years as the secretary of state and also had two terms as a U.S. senator. With Hillary Clinton she likely needed many qualifications to convince the public of her readiness for the presidency. Her roles had lent foreign policy expertise, a main theme was countering a lot of traditional feminine stereotypes. When she was the First lady she provided a large amount of firsthand knowledge of the presidency, but her entry into formal political roles also only further added into potential criticisms that were commonly waged in 2008 that her primary credential was being the wife of Bill Clinton.
We cannot ignore that Hillary Clinton was not just any woman, but the wife of a former president. As demonstrated throughout this article, women gaining dominant presidencies worldwide have tended to do so as members of political families. In light of the comparative patterns presented, it seems no coincidence that a woman with family links made it closer than any other to the White House. Having been First Lady factored into her gaining election to the U.S. Senate and competitive 2008 nomination bid. The general disadvantages women face in their presidential pursuits—particularly for dominant presidencies in internationally influential countries—were mitigated through these connections. This does not mean that Clinton lacked the skill, experience, or competence for the job. Furthermore, her connection in some ways hurt rather than helped. It may even be argued that to stand a real chance of winning a dominant presidency, women must amass the highest political credentials in addition to having a family tie to executive power; this is a tall order.
The Clintons tend to elicit very strong feelings among the public and particularly negative views among more conservative demographics. Being the wife of Bill Clinton likely contributed to her unpopularity as a candidate among some segments of the population. A great deal of this negativity, however, was directed at Hillary Clinton herself, dating back to when she was First Lady and continuing as she made her foray in political office. A fairly typical view held by her detractors was that she was “Bill, but without the charisma” (Goldberg 2016). More detrimental were that more than half of the public held negative perceptions of her, particularly that she was corrupt, dishonest, and unethical (McCarthy 2016). According to Goldberg (2016) “The perception of perpetual scandal surrounding Clinton can make it seem as if she must be hiding something monstrous, especially to those who are predisposed against her.” Some charges of wrongdoing traced back to her time as First Lady and directly involved her husband. Other scandals related to her tenure as secretary of state, including “Emailgate,” which some viewed as a manufactured story (Eichenwald 2015) and an example of the misogyny she persistently endured (Lakoff 2016). As Long (2016) states, “High unfavorability ratings are hard to overcome, but that’s especially true for a candidate whose detractors have had decades to practice their attacks.”
Over her career, Clinton also developed a reputation for being too calculating and ambitious, tropes women seeking power commonly face. Ironically, that she established an independent political career after she left the White House fueled speculations that she wanted to be president too much and would stop at nothing to be elected. Here we see a clear double bind—if Clinton’s main qualification prior to her bid was as First Lady, she would be attacked as just benefitting from being the “wife of” (Murray 2010). Yet, the high level of experience she obtained after her time in the White House, including her 2008 candidacy, meant that she sought power to a fault. Moreover, Donald Trump could play on these conceptions of his rival throughout his candidacy.
Clinton was subjected to gendered media coverage (Presidential Gender Watch, n.d.). A plethora of stories engaged the negative opinions the public held about Clinton. Accusations that she was “over prepared” (Paquette 2016) spoke to beliefs that Clinton was disingenuous. Journalists calling for her to smile more or criticizing the shape of her mouth (Cauterucci 2016) placed an importance of her appearing softer or more “feminine.” The media focus on Emailgate as the dominant story leading up to the election is particularly striking (Boehlert 2016). This over-attention to scandal reinforced perceptions of Clinton’s dishonesty and engagement in corruption. Scandal overshadowed Clinton’s policy stances throughout the campaign (Boehlert 2016). While scandalous coverage usually dominates election coverage, Donald Trump received three times more attention on policy matters than Clinton (Patterson 2016). Only 4 percent of Clinton-related stories during the summer of 2016 encompassed policy (Patterson 2016). Especially troubling was the level of negativity she faced. According to Thomas Patterson (2016): “News reporting on her (Clinton) policy issues was more than two-to-one negative, and it was eleven-to-one negative for reports relating to her personal life and character.” Trump tended to be an even greater subject of negative reporting (Patterson 2016). Despite this, he went on to victory.
I argue that the persistent negativity Clinton faced such as being viewed as corrupt, a bad candidate, calculating, power hungry, and so on is where we see gender in the campaign, and this likely affected electoral outcomes. The general wisdom in 2008 was that gender exerted somewhat subtle effects and that sexism did not manifest among primary voters (Huddy and Carey 2009). Scholars will likely reach this same conclusion as they finished analyzing results from the 2016 primaries and general election. We cannot, however, separate negative perceptions she faced from gender. Given that the public tends to view women as more honest and trustworthy than their male colleagues (Barnes and Beaulieu 2014), continued scrutiny regarding Clinton’s alleged improprieties might have been more devastating than for Trump; as a woman, she risked greater punishment for accusations of wrong doing (see Esarey and Schwindt-Bayer 2017; Kennedy, McDonnel, and Stephens 2016).
Some argue that Clinton simply ran a bad campaign (Cillizza 2016; Long 2016). She ignored voters in pivotal states and failed to convince disenfranchised working-class men to cast their vote her way. She is also labeled a bad candidate because of the hostility she faced throughout her public career and thus a risky choice for the nomination. While some merit exists to these arguments, they are not gender neutral; the voting behavior of working-class white men and the negative views Clinton endures most certainly is gendered and likely fueled, to some extent, by sexism.
More evidence of overt sexism during the campaign came from Trump himself. Beyond these more explicit statements, he more subtly argued that Clinton lacked the right temperament, image, stamina, and strength to be president (Johnson 2015); women have routinely been subjected to these stereotypes in their bids for the Oval Office. We see male privilege displayed throughout Trump’s candidacy. Trump’s utter lack of preparedness and political experience, the only president to never have prior political or at least military experience (Crockett 2017),17 was viewed as an asset rather than a liability. His lack of preparedness as well as his tendency to make sexist, racist, and Islamophobic statements led to him being viewed as authentic. Of course, his support among voters might easily be credited to their discontent with the status quo rather than sexism (Newport 2016), but this is too facile. Trump faced some scrutiny regarding inappropriate business dealings, yet these tended not to plague him. Trump’s negative ratings were actually lower than Clinton’s (McCarthy 2016) yet did not damage his candidacy.
According to the Gallup Organization, “Both Clinton and Trump had low ratings on honesty and trustworthiness, but Clinton’s image of dishonesty almost certainly hurt her more than Trump’s did him” (Newport 2016). Trump won the race even after the release of recordings bragging about his sexually assaulting women. According to Cillizza (2016), Clinton decided to play it safe believing that “no way, no how would people pick Trump, right?” In all seriousness, however, Clinton had every reason to think that the public would ultimately reject her competition, at least based on the assumption that the more qualified candidate would prove victorious.
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