Clinton campaign workers, supporters, surragates and activists are numbed by their devastating election loss. They never saw it coming. That was the sentiment repeated over and over again by Hillary Clinton’s aides, surrogates and friends on Wednesday, a day after their candidate failed to shatter the last glass ceiling.
Clinton’s allies, still numb from the shock of the defeat, woke up to a steady rain in New York and began the painful post-mortem of the most disappointing presidential election result Democrats have seen in generations.
From The Hill
Even before Clinton took the stage at the New Yorker Hotel ballroom to ask her supporters to have an open mind toward Republican President-elect Donald Trump, those around her were casting blame on one another, the political climate, their analytics — even the forever-plagued candidate herself.
“It was a mismanaged campaign from the start, 150 percent,” one aide said. “There was so much stuff that needed fixing. I thought we might have learned some lessons from the primary. But as you can tell from last night, probably not.”
Less than 24 hours after the mood at the Clinton election night party at the Jacob Javits Convention Center turned from celebratory to funereal, aides wondered how they could have lost so badly, why they didn’t see it coming, and how the Democrat could have lost to Trump.
One surrogate blamed the poor sampling models and analytics that the campaign was so reliant on. It hadn’t done traditional tracking polls for the last month.
Other aides and surrogates pointed to an arrogance that came from the top.
Some faulted the top brass for not properly allocating the resources they needed to win states.
Given Clinton’s primary loss to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Michigan, allies questioned why the Democratic nominee didn’t double down in the state much earlier.
Allies on the ground complained for weeks that they weren’t getting the resources they needed.
“The big question is ‘How much money did you spend? And what’s left in the bank?’ ” said one Clinton surrogate. “Because there were states like Michigan that kept sounding the alarm and no one was taking it seriously until the very end. They never really got everything they wanted.”
“We underestimated the Midwest,” acknowledged one longtime Clinton friend.
Clinton became the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1984 to lose Wisconsin, and the first since 1988 to lose Michigan and Pennsylvania.
“I don’t think we ever understood the political climate there,” the Clinton friend said. “I know some are questioning why we never went there in the final days.”
Democratic strategist Jim Manley, another surrogate, pointed to Wisconsin as proof of the broader point that there was a disregard for that part of the country — including in down-ballot races.
“Russ Feingold sent a flare up and said ‘I need help,’ ” Manley said, but it went largely ignored.
Feingold, a former Democratic senator from Wisconsin, had long been favored to win his race against Sen. Ron Johnson. He ended up losing to the Republican incumbent, as Clinton’s collapse contributed to the downfall of Democratic Senate candidates.
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