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Monday, April 10, 2017

Fringeville #163: Nuts, bolts and Failed Elections

2016: The Election that was hers to lose. And she did. Spectacularly.

I don’t like to talk much about national politics these days because it is a sucking, black hole that damages relationships all the way down to family and friends. I’m going to stick my toe in ever so slightly here, and I will probably pay a price for it.

Hillary Clinton didn’t lose because of: Russian hacking, FBI director Comey, misogyny, etc.

She lost because, for the second time, she ran a national race and proved herself a poor candidate.

At the end of the day, it was not paying attention to the nuts and bolts of plain old campaigning that caused her to fall short in places she should have won. The warning bells were there in the primary for those who take the time to look.

In my corner of Pennsylvania I saw something amazing on Primary Election day. I’ve worked the same poll for years, but I saw people I’ve never seen before in my life showing up to vote. I talked to them outside the polling place. They’d either recently registered to vote or hadn’t voted in years. They weren’t there because they planned to vote for Hillary in November. I’m not talking a person here or there, I am talking a bunch of folks. They probably weren’t in anyone’s data pool. I’ve been told “data is data” but in my IT job years ago I learned another maxim: “Garbage in, garbage out.”

In the six weeks or so before the General Election, while working in Scranton, I took long rides home through the heart of Hillary country. Until a couple of weeks out, there were very few Hillary signs in yards. In the 10-14 days a few more appeared, but far short of what I expected to see.

I’ve been told signs don’t vote. That is 100% correct. But signs in someone’s yard, versus signs cluttering roads or intersections, tell you where a vote lives. Trump signs were everywhere, despite being often in short supply. Some of those signs are still up in yards across NEPA.

I’m including a link here to a nice read from Politico that dissected how Hillary lost Michigan. Many of the things her campaign failed to do there were also apparent to me on the ground here in NEPA. GOP volunteers and committee people put a lot of time into the ground game here in NEPA. We did a LOT of voter outreach. We talked to people at their doors, and in some cases we were told things that allowed us to help our GOP candidates down-ballot.

Not once when I was out did I see anyone on the ground for Hillary. I’m sure they were out there somewhere at some point, but I never came across any. The Politico article explains some of that. The Clinton campaign had a model. They worked it to perfection. But the model was wrong and they refused to heed the warnings that they received.

Contrast Clinton’s ground game with Obama’s in 2012, when I saw people knocking on doors for the President on many occasions, including in neighborhoods where he was probably a lock. His people were there, working the ground. They seemed to take nothing for granted.

Looking for a scapegoat for what the MSM constantly calls the “shocking loss” (which was anything but shocking to folks like me on the ground in NEPA)?

Point the blame where it belongs: Hillary’s Campaign. Time and again they made errors that in retrospect were just plain dumb. One example cited in the Politico article: Bernie wins Michigan in the primary, runs strongly elsewhere, yet Clinton’s campaign never picked the brains of Bernie’s folks.

When I hear the endless stream of conspiracy theories on why Trump won, I can’t help but think of the many times over the years I’ve watched a football game where a team doesn’t execute well, but blames the loss on penalty flags. The long and short of it is, the losing team just needed to score more points.

Hillary Clinton and her team didn’t execute, and for the second time it cost Hillary a national election.

...and it's pretty damned boring.

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