If Hillary Had Won, We’d Be Already Talking about Chelsea’s First Campaign
With the Democrat Party now in tatters, Frank Bruni—yes, that Mr. Bruni of the NYT—points out that after telling the readers ad nauseam that the Republicans were unraveling, readers of the New York Times might not ever care to listen to the paper’s predictions about, for example, the Super Bowl or the Oscars.
The smugness and sanctimony of political correctness undermined its own goals. Mr. Bruni admits he has learned a lesson—he will now listen harder to fellow Americans who go against the grain of NYT’s thinking. Mr. Bruni promises to use greater care in talking with fellow Americans who are “more culturally conservative” than is he. “It’s a grown-up acknowledgment that we’re a messy, imperfect species.”
Democrats, as well as Republicans, need to understand that many Americans voted for Trump as an instrument of change, “which they craved keenly enough to overlook the rest of him.” The Clintons, Mr. Bruni reminds us, shoulder much of the blame for voters’ demand for change.
It’s hard to overestimate the couple’s stranglehold on the party — its think tanks, its operatives, its donors — for the last two decades. Most top Democrats had vested interests in the Clintons, and energy that went into supporting and defending them didn’t go into fresh ideas and fresh faces, who were shut out as the party cleared the decks anew for Hillary in 2016.
In thrall to the Clintons, Democrats ignored the copious, glaring signs of an electorate hankering for something new and different and instead took a next-in-line approach that stopped working awhile back. Just ask Mitt Romney and John McCain and John Kerry and Al Gore and Bob Dole. They’re the five major-party nominees before her who lost, and each was someone who, like her, was more due than dazzling.
After Election Day, one Clinton-weary Democratic insider told me: “I’m obviously not happy and I hate to admit this, but a part of me feels liberated. If she’d won, we’d already be talking about Chelsea’s first campaign. Now we can do what we really need to and start over.”
The loss is not entirely the blame of the Clintons. President Obama, who campaigned unprecedentedly hard for Hillary Clinton and criticized and mocked Donald Trump relentlessly, now looks at a tattered Party. With perhaps as many as 12 fewer Senate seats, 60 fewer House seats, about 14 fewer governorships, and more than 900 fewer seats in state legislatures from when President Obama first took office, it is a “staggering toll.”
It was an ugly race on both sides. Let’s hope lessons will be learned and both sides can move forward. President Obama, pledging to help make a peaceful transition of power, said he is now “rooting for success in uniting and leading the country.”