Democratic donors are still in shock over Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump. It has taken them some time to come around to it but they are now asking that the party look closely at why their billion dollar effort to elect Clinton failed. From Politico:
“A lot of the bundlers and donors still are in shock and disbelief by what happened. They’re looking for some introspection and analysis about what really happened, what worked and what didn’t,” said Ken Martin, the chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and a top campaign bundler himself. “It may take some time to do that, but people are still just scratching their heads.”
Or, in the words of a Midwestern fundraiser who’s kept in touch with fellow donors, “A lot of people are saying, ‘I’m not putting another f***ing dime in until someone tells me what just happened.’”
Some donors are so disenchanted they are thinking about getting out of politics completely.
Without a framework for holding anyone accountable, increasingly annoyed party money men and women have been left to chatter amongst themselves about the underlying causes of the party’s defeat and about how to move forward — some have gone as far as to ignore calls from former Clinton finance officials seeking to thank them, while others muse about leaving politics altogether.
Obviously this is bad news for Democrats no matter what happens next. If their big donors decide to walk away that will hurt future fundraising efforts. On the other hand, a deep dive into what went wrong is bound to further inflame the divisions that remain in the party between Clinton supporters and the younger, more progressive Sanders wing of the party.
There is also the problem highlighted earlier this week by Democratic strategist Joe Trippi. Trippi’s insight was that, because the election was so close, almost any reason could be cited as the one that cost Clinton the election. That means an autopsy is going to be inconclusive at best. Will it point to Comey? To Russian hacking? To an unfair media? Hillary’s bout of pneumonia? Any or all of those might have made a difference of a few thousands votes. Can the party set a new direction and hold people accountable when there are a dozen plausible explanations for what went wrong? The answer is no, probably not. No matter what the autopsy concludes the margin was thin enough that alternative explanations will always be plausible.
In any case, the Democratic party isn’t ready for a sober assessment of why they lost. If they were they wouldn’t be rallying behind so Hail Mary passes, from pointless recounts to faithless electors, in the hopes of changing the outcome after the fact.