Tag Archives: us presidential election 2016

Three competing theories as to why Hillary Clinton lost and Donald Trump won

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Coincidentally, in the last week we’ve had two competing theories emerge in the USA. Theories, that is, as to why Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 Presidential election and Donald Trump won. First, we had this from Hilary Clinton in her new memoir:

I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t realize how quickly the ground was shifting under all our feet… I was running a traditional presidential campaign with carefully thought-out policies and painstakingly built coalitions, while Trump was running a reality TV show that expertly and relentlessly stoked Americans’ anger and resentment.

In conversation with CBS’s Jane Pauley, Hillary Clinton added that her biggest mistakes were to use a private server for her email and accept paid speaking engagements from bankers.

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What can we learn from the US election?

 

There are few feelings worse than those that follow losing an election. The crippling sense of disappointment; the frustration of finding out that your vision for the future is not shared by the majority of the electorate. As liberals we have had to become accustomed to this over the past two years, but the Trump victory feels of greater significance to the geopolitical order than anything that has come before it – even Brexit.

It is vital that our anger is channelled into learning from the mistakes that become retrospectively apparent in our defeat. So what can we learn from the US election that can be applied to our campaigns? Here are a few of my initial thoughts:

Movements win elections

The strength of the Clinton campaign’s state-by-state ground game was long acknowledged as a major advantage that the Democrats would hold over the Republicans on election day. Whilst Clinton had millions of volunteers, thousands of field offices and huge financial strength, Trump’s campaign was an operation regularly accused of amateurishness.

Yet no party’s get-out-the-vote strategy can compete with the enthusiasm of a cause. Trump’s supporters were inspired by his anti-establishment appeal and promise to “Make America Great Again”. The Clinton camp, by comparison, struggled to find a consistent message that was memorable and of mass-appeal to the electorate. Instead her stump speeches were filled with technocratic policy ideas and often felt unfocused.

Posted in Op-eds | 24 Comments

Enough with the flagellation of the “liberal elite” – Hillary Clinton actually got the most votes!

In the wake of the US election, there’s been a lot of sneering condemnation of the “sneering metropolitan liberal elite” including under posts on this very site.

Perhaps just hold the horses on this condemnation for a second, eh?

What is the objective of a candidate in an election?

Go on.

Try it.

Ah yes, you say – to win the most votes.

Well Hillary Clinton won the most votes in the US election: 59.8 million to Trump’s 59.6 million.

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US election results: This isn’t an anti-establishment vote (in effect anyway)

It is strange that this election night is being seen as an “anti-establishment” vote in the US, or as an “insurgency”.

The Republican establishment is wiping the floor of the Senate, the House, State governorships and state legislatures, plus they have the White House (with, at least, a nominal Republican in there). And this will lead to a marked right wing shift in the Supreme Court as well (I certainly fear for Americans on that score).

This is the Republican establishment with a stranglehold on power right across the US.

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+++It’s President Trump – live blog/open thread

Open thread/live blog.

Just watching the results, I think we’re looking at President Trump. Hillary Clinton is struggling in Wisconsin and Michigan so it seems unlikely she can win.

This is an extraordinary result.

The New York Times gives Trump over a 95% chance of winning.

I need a glass of water.

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Rolling Stone magazine weighs in: ‘Donald Trump cannot be President of the United States’

Jesse Berney has written a corker of a piece in Rolling Stone magazine about Donald Trump, saying: “By virtually any measure, he is unfit to lead a Cub Scout troop, let alone the nation with the world’s most powerful military.” It’s worth reading the article in full but here is its brilliant conclusion:

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The American people will not take kindly to being kept “in suspense” by Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton has apparently had “psychology experts” advising her on how, among other things, to “needle” Donald Trump in the Presidential debates. Those experts deserve a medal for services to the USA. Clinton’s debate strategy has been a masterclass which will be written about for decades. Those experts have helped smoke out Donald Trump’s true colours in the debate theatre, rather than leaving it to when he might have become President.

The fact that in Wednesday evening’s debate he was reduced to saying “Such a nasty woman” and “You’re the puppet! …No you’re the puppet” betokens game, set and match to Clinton, I suggest.

The universally-headlined exchange from the debate (see transcript) was this one:

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Donald Trump’s attitude to holes and digging is just plain dumb

The US Presidential election has boiled down to this: If it is a referendum on Trump, Clinton wins. If it is a referendum on Clinton, Trump wins.

At the moment, it seems to be an extraordinarily florid referendum on Trump. This is a shame, as policy doesn’t seem to be getting a look in. But I suppose Americans are debating clearly the sort of person they want to see in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Clinton and Trump second debate – broadly a draw

The second Clinton/Trump took place early this morning. This time it was “Town Hall” style – with questions from audience members. It started without the traditional handshake (which has one precedent in the shape of one of the Nixon/Kennedy debates) but finished with a brief one.

Some of the subjects covered were: the leaked video-tape of Trump, Bill Clinton’s misdemeanours, taxes, the Clinton emails, the character needed to be President, ISIS, Syria, Supreme Court judges, energy and healthcare.

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Yes, they have Vice-Presidential debates as well….

There’s a great line in the film Apollo 13 before the on-board emergency in the space ship. A character refers to the very low TV audience for the coverage of the mission saying:

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US Election: Non-college-educated whites versus the rest?

One of the noticeable features of last night’s US Presidential debate (see full transcript here) was how Donald Trump was goaded into saying things to damage his chances with key constituencies. His “stop and frisk” proposal will not, I suspect, go down well with African American communities. Mention of his criticism of Alicia Machado, a hispanic former Miss Universe, probably met with displeasure from women and Hispanics. There was the airing of the “birther” controversy and a whole series of Trump favourites, as he was very successfully goaded by Hillary Clinton.

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Trump and Clinton finally meet to debate

Well, at last we saw Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton facing each other this morning. You can watch the debate in full via CBS and YouTube below.

My first impression was that Hilary Clinton certainly put the “health” and “stamina” issues to bed. Donald Trump started to get a little frayed as the debate wore on. Clinton carried on confidently and was as fresh as a daisy at the end. She certainly looked “presidential”.

Posted in LDVUSA | 30 Comments

What will the Presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump be like?

In the US, the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates has proposed three televised Presidential debates in September and October.

It is fascinating to imagine how these will go. On the one hand we’ll have the ultimate cool-headed policy wonk in Hillary. On the other we will have the hot-headed, insult-firing Trump.

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Tales from Cleveland – Part 2: Why I’m with Hillary

My time in the US is drawing to a close, and it’s been great to get to see the way they campaign first hand. I’ve not got as many tales from the campaign trail this week because I took the chance to go and do a bit of sightseeing. Sadly, I didn’t manage to get into the Daily Show, as I’d hoped to at the end of my last post. Although, I was in the office phonebanking when Hillary became our official nominee for President, and the cheering from the staff and volunteers was something I’ll never forget.

I think it’s important to note that a lot of people over here genuinely support and admire Hillary Clinton. That gets lost in the media coverage – sure, some people will cast a tactical vote. But most of us are here because we think she’d make an amazing President. Obama said on Wednesday that she is more qualified for the job than he or Bill ever was. That’s still too often the case – women have to be stellar and massively outdo men to even get a foot in the door of top positions. I support Hillary because I think she did great work for women and girls at the State Department. Her passion about women’s rights and disability rights absolutely shone through in her acceptance speech. This isn’t just a case of stopping Trump. I’m with her because she’s with me.

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WATCH: Hillary accept the Democratic nomination for President

I have been a huge fan of Hillary Clinton for pretty much quarter of a century. I admired the way she fought for women and girls, children and particularly those with disabilities. These have been her priorities for all of her life.

I am thrilled to bits to see her as the Democrats’ candidate for President and I can’t wait to see her debate the divisive slogans of Donald Trump.

She has fought for things that we take for granted here. Her fight for universal healthcare in the 1990s was ahead of its time. When she was Secretary of State, she put women and girls at the heart of everything she did. Read more about the specific things she did in this excellent blog post.

Her speech accepting the nomination put forward a positive vision to counteract the negativity and division of her opposition. She did it effectively, unlike David Cameron and George Osborne when they needlessly forced a similar choice here.

Hillary stood up for values that every Liberal Democrat should embrace: workers’ rights, healthcare, positive on immigration, committed to tackling climate change – and, importantly, stewarding the planet for the future, as she put it “planting seeds in a garden that you will never get to see”.

She is the standard bearer for progressive, optimistic, inclusive politics in a fight that mirrors so much of what’s going on in Europe. It’s the job of every progressive to back her in these next crucial months.

Make a cup of tea, put your feet up and watch her whole speech.

This is the section where she sums up the broad vision of what she wants to achieve.

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Clinton finds her voice: “This isn’t reality television – this is actual reality.”

Imagine if he had not just his Twitter account at his disposal when he’s angry, but America’s entire arsenal.

Hillary Clinton has found her voice with a major speech on foreign policy in San Diego. The speech is substantive, going through key issues one by one and quoting Donald Trump’s “ideas”, of which she says, powerfully:

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World poverty is falling. Bernie Sanders would reverse that

I love it when Bernie Sanders calls for the USA to be more like social democratic Europe. Unfortunately, that’s not all he is campaigning for.

On his campaign web page, he says:

If corporate America wants us to buy their products they need to manufacture those products in this country, not in China or other low-wage countries.

That statement is very dangerous.

Over the last fifty years, there has been a dramatic fall in world poverty. Not just in China, but across the developing world. This has transformed the lives of hundreds of millions. Have a look at the following chart from https://ourworldindata.org. There is still far too much absolute poverty, but the downward trend is extremely good news.

World-Poverty-Since-1820-full

Click on the graph to see the full size version.

This trend is under threat from protectionism.

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Could the Republican party save the world from Trump, but split apart?

Things have changed since my last post on this. Last time, I thought it was relatively certain that Trump would be the Republican US Presidential nominee. I am not so sure now. First, we had Mitt Romney’s extraordinary, unprecedented excoriation of Trump. Then we had that unheard of event: the Trump gaffe machine gun finally fired a round which rebounded on him – I refer to his rapidly recounted suggestion that women who have abortions should be punished (which, lest we forget, was followed by a casual grunt to confirm that he thought it inconceivable that the men involved should even be considered for equal treatment).

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Adventures of a Liberal Democrat at the Iowa caucuses – Part 3

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 11.10.23Monday 1 February

It’s a polling day of a different kind. Rather than 15 hours of voting, everything is crammed into just 2 hours.
Across the state, individual caucuses will be held in an astonishing 1,681 locations. There is one caucus for every precinct (polling district) with each one requiring a chair to oversee proceedings and a speaker for each of the candidates. It requires a phenomenal level of planning and organisation by both the Democrat and Republican state parties.

I get out during the day and visit the Iowa Historical Museum with its brilliant ‘first in the nation’ exhibition, including memorabilia dating back to the first caucuses in the early 1970s. Geoff, my guide, easily wins the prize for the most overexcited Iowan of my visit so far. He can of course be excused on this, his day of days. He reels off facts and joyously regales the tale of when his neighbour offered his house as a caucus site in 2008, only for it to be overrun with voters in that record breaking turnout year. “He put the Clintons in his front room, the Edwards in his kitchen and Obamas upstairs”, he said, “he was able to fit all the Dodds and Bidens in his bathroom!”

And so caucus hour arrives at 7pm. I’m covering Polk County’s 80th precinct caucus, held in the Wright Elementary School on the south side of Des Moines. It’s a precinct in which Obama beat Romney by over 30% in 2012 so there are lots of Democratic voters for the three campaigns to haggle over.

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Adventures of a Liberal Democrat at the Iowa Caucuses Part 2

Iowa caucuses C-Span busSunday 31 January

After a rather dramatic and delayed journey to the US,  I’m finally in Iowa. Most folk on my flight from Chicago are either news reporters covering the caucuses or members of the US Congress stumping for one of the candidates.

The buzzword is ‘turnout’. There’s hope the numbers turning up to tomorrow night could break all records. Folk seem most excited about the weather….or the lack of it. At this time of year, Iowans are normally wading through feet of snow. Not this year. It’s cold but not painfully so and there are no snow storms predicted. “It’s perfect caucusing weather” my car rental guy told me.

The latest polls suggest a tight race on the Democrat side with the respected Des Moines Register poll showing it too close to call. There’s some scepticism about whether all these young students who have gone nuts for Bernie Sanders will actually turn out. I remember hearing something similar in 2008 about the supporters of some guy called Obama…

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A 30 second video which sums up why Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States of America


This post carries the normal proviso that I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about so anything I predict is likely to be pure nonsense.

I’ve just done something which I very occasionally do. I last did it in February 2007. I put a modest little wager on who will be the next President of the USA. I put money on Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.

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Hillary minds her left flank – while Jeb stacks up the money (but is it in the right place?)

There’s a lot of those internet/Facebook quizzes going round, as usual. One of them asks several questions to show you which US presidential candidate one comes nearest to, in terms of policy.

Strangely enough, I and most of Lib Dem friends come out nearest Bernie Sanders. “Who he? – Ed” – was the first thought that ran through my mind, when that answer came up for me, although I had vaguely heard of the junior senator from Vermont.

Is the US the only country where a 73 year-old can be described as “junior”? And is it wrong that whenever Vermont is mentioned, I either think of Bill Bryson’s hilarious tales from Vermont or that fantastic old comedy programme with Bob Newhart where he ran a hotel in Vermont and spent much of the show opening the door and letting in gustfuls of snow?

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