A stinging comment about the latest Clinton trainwreck from lefty Matt Stoller after Conor Lamb’s apparent victory last night:
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) March 14, 2018
Yeah, Lamb’s win sorely tests the elite-liberal theory of the case about the 2016 election, that a great mass of white working-class voters “didn’t like black people getting rights, [they] don’t like women getting jobs, [they] don’t want to see that Indian-American succeeding more than [they] are.” Suddenly, 18 months later, a district that went for Trump by 20 points seems pretty chill about all of that.
Perhaps the real difference is that Democrats fielded a garbage candidate in 2016 and a stronger one yesterday.
Clinton’s political instincts are famously terrible but you have to stand back and admire the sheer rankness of doubling down on the “deplorables” message just as her party is building momentum to claw back blue-collar votes in reddish districts before the midterms. In fact, she did more than double down. Remember, her original point about the “deplorables” during the 2016 campaign was that there was a *segment* of Trump’s base — a big one, half, but still just a segment — that fit that description due to their views on race, sex, gays, etc. In India she didn’t make that distinction. If a district went red, she implied, it’s because the electorate there is prejudiced in various ways. How excited her party must be to suddenly be saddled with that talking point:
Even some of Clinton’s own former aides and surrogates say the former Democratic presidential nominee should back away from the discussion about her failed campaign because it’s harmful to the party…
“She put herself in a position where [Democrats] from states that Trump won will have to distance themselves from her even more,” said one former senior Clinton aide. “That’s a lot of states.”…
“She’s annoying me. She’s annoying everyone, as far as I can tell,” said one 2016 Clinton surrogate. “Who lets her say these things?”
You know the party’s worried when Patti Solis Doyle, a former Clinton campaign manager, is turning up on TV to reassure viewers that Hillary doesn’t speak for all Democrats. It’d be one thing if Clinton had decided to retire from politics and didn’t care what consequences her deep thoughts might have going forward, but this is a person who wants some sort of role this year in the midterms. Calling Trump voters racist and sexist is something she thought it’d be fine to say before going out to campaign.
The irony of her latest “deplorables” musings is that, as people like Nate Cohn have explained at length, the pivotal vote in 2016 came from blue-collar whites who had voted for Barack Obama before but switched sides to support Trump over Clinton. It’s the voters, in other words, who *didn’t* object to having a black president who put Trump over the top. And the other irony is that, for all the heat Hillary’s taken from Democrats in the last few days for publicly articulating the silver-bullet “racism” theory for Trump’s victory, she’s hardly alone in the party in feeling that way. Berniebros resist that explanation, I think, because they’re old-school leftists who view politics through an economic prism: If working-class whites prefer Republicans, that’s not because they’re white, it’s because neoliberals like Hillary have done a piss-poor job delivering socialist solutions to solve working-class problems. Among the well-heeled, well-educated neoliberal Democratic establishment, though, it’s more comforting to believe that your opponents are “backwards” troglodytes. Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote about that yesterday:
[Clinton’s remarks] articulate what is becoming the central myth of the liberal elite: We are beautiful and successful because we’re morally superior…
Their desire to publicly announce and witness to their moral separation from the “rest” of the country frequently outweighs their better judgment on how to acquire power. The Democrats have lost the ability to denounce the “malefactors of great wealth” because they are led by an aristocratic klatch, one that can’t help adverting their contempt for the common man.
Each successive political guru has said that demographic trends would reelect them, and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, and cling to their chardonnay glasses or antipathy toward people who aren’t rich like them, or anti-populist sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations.
Here’s Solis Doyle, via the Free Beacon. In lieu of an exit question, read Reihan Salam on why it is that Hillary’s morally superior and certainly not racist blue coastal enclaves are more economically “dynamic” than Trump areas. One big reason is that the upscale liberal professionals there rely heavily on service industries staffed largely by a downscale minority underclass. Imagine all the stirring things about hope, progress, and equality Hillary’s maids and butlers have overheard in the past 25 years.