Politics

This Statement From July Might Explain Hillary Clinton's Shocking Loss

November 11th 2016

By:
Mike Rothschild

During and after the Democratic National Convention in July, Hillary Clinton's prospects for a presidential win had never looked brighter. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer went out on a limb and predicted a Democratic takeover of the Senate, riding on the coattails of her win. And in his forecast, he touched on some of the factors that would ultimately result in Democrats winning neither the White House or the Senate.

In an interview with Politico during the Democratic convention, Schumer predicted:

“We’re going to have a Democratic generation. [President Obama] helped create it. But it’s just where America’s moving demographically, ideologically and in every way,”

He went even farther at a forum during the convention, declaring:

“The number one factor in whether we retake the Senate is whether Hillary Clinton does well, and I think she’s going to do really well. [...] For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

Unfortunately, for Democrats, Schumer's assumption was woefully misguided and displayed a poor understanding of the mood of the electorate.

Schumer was only right about blue-collar voters abandoning the Democrats — they did in massive numbers. Western Pennsylvania went almost entirely Republican, with Trump flipping three working-class counties that had previously voted for President Barack Obama.

The strategy of picking up votes in the suburbs of major cities to replace them also failed, while most of Philadelphia's suburbs did trend slightly more Democratic, there weren't enough new Clinton voters to make up the difference.

Ohio and Wisconsin, both won by Obama twice, went the same way. A number of vital blue-collar counties in both states either flipped Republican or were won with low turnout, costing her both states — and with them, the election.

All told, a third of swing state counties that voted for Obama twice flipped to Trump — and virtually every county that voted for him at least once did. Clinton was able to turn just a few — nowhere near Schumer's two-for-one prediction.