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Exploring loser logic — and David Remnick's eloquent essay on the election

David Remnick
Courtesy of The New Yorker
David Remnick

The post-mortems on last Tuesday’s election result remind me of the great line, attributed to various economists, that “if you torture the numbers long enough, they’ll confess to anything.”

There’s the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton won, so it’s the fault of the Electoral College, that Donald Trump will be president. I am an Electoral College basher myself, but it happens to be the system we use.

I heard Newt Gingrich’s rebuttal yesterday that Clinton’s popular vote “victory” is mostly about her enormous margin in California. But, knowing that they couldn’t win California, the Republican simply put no resources into campaigning there. If they had tried, Gingrich suggested, the Trump ticket could have won millions more votes in California. But, because of Electoral College math, the Repubs didn’t bother trying. True? I have no idea, nor do you, nor does Gingrich. Plausible? Sure.

The minor party vote

There’s the minor party vote. In her piece in the New York Review of Books, the estimable Elizabeth Drew went over ways things could have turned out differently, including that if Clinton had received a certain likely share of the votes of those who voted for Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and/or Green Party nominee Jill Stein, she could have tipped several states, enough states, to win. Here’s Drew’s paragraph:

“In Florida, the count as of election night was Trump 49 percent to Clinton’s 48 percent, with Johnson getting more than the difference between the two main candidates, and Johnson and Stein together drawing close to 3 percent of the vote, more than twice that difference. In Pennsylvania, Trump beat Clinton by a mere 67,902 votes, while Johnson got 142,608. In Michigan, Johnson drew more than fourteen times the number of votes that Trump beat Clinton by. And in Wisconsin, the result was 47.9 percent to 46.9 percent in Trump’s favor, while Johnson pulled 3 percent of the vote; Stein also received more votes than the margin of difference between the two main candidates. A CBS News exit poll found that if those who voted for Johnson or Stein had had to choose only between Clinton and Trump they would have supported Clinton by nearly two to one. It’s not a stretch to conclude that, absent the third-party candidates, Hillary Clinton would have won the election.

Clinton herself, the New York Times reports, told a conference call of donors that if not for the improper interference by FBI Director James Comey, turning the nation’s attention back to her email problems just when Team Clinton believed they were on the brink of putting  Trump away, she would have won.

All of this (and more) is, of course, classic loser logic, like counting how many more games the Vikings would’ve won if placekicker Blair Walsh had made the kicks (that he missed).

Experts are picking the exit poll results apart, by state by age group, by class, which issue voters said they cared most about. Polling organizations are (with all due respect for dogs) in the doghouse for their failure to tell us this was coming, as if the biggest deal is not that Trump will be president for at least four years, but that we were caught by surprise.

The bigger deal

Actually, it’s the other way around. In a haunting, no-holds-barred summary of the bigger deal, New Yorker Editor David Remnick eloquently lays out what the bigger deal is. Here’s his first paragraph:

“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit — and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”

The rest of Remnick’s brief, blunt, powerful cri de coeur is here.

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Comments (63)

such "hate speech"

“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism."

I guess the celebration of name calling and hate speech is only allowed by the left in attacking the right.

that's not hate speech

That is not hate speech. Please inform yourself of what hate speech is. You can disagree with the writer or the person he quoted, but it's no where near the same as trump's rants, offensive language, and personal put-downs.

That is not hate speech. For

That is not hate speech. For hate speech, just read the t-shirts of the Trump supporters.

Democracy is the theory that

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard..... H. L. Mencken

"It would be some consolation for the feebleness of our selves and our works if all things should perish as slowly as they come into being; but as it is, increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid." Lucius Anneaus Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, n. 91

Is this a "Seneca Cliff" ? Or is just another day in the wandering path to make America great ?

Who knows?

All I know is that we elected a real-estate salesman who has long operated on the principle of the shadier end of that field---say whatever you need to say to close the deal, hope the other party doesn't look too hard before the signing, and only follow through (reluctantly) on what was actually written into the sales contract.

He is profoundly ignorant of all of the issues, and judging from his selection of Bannon and Priebus, will rule somewhere between the current crop of Washington Republicans and Infowars. Given the tenuous grip on reality that that segment of population has, it does not portend well, especially when he admits he takes in very little other than cable news and relies most on his gut instincts.

The Wall Street Journal has a story that says Trump was surprised that there was no carry-over of west-wing staff from one administration to the next--it seems he was counting on that for some assistance in the transition from Obama's west-wing staff. Another area of gaping holes opens up.

We are in the position of only being able to wait, and actually see what he proposes, pushes and signs. It will be an opaque process to most of America and will happen far faster than people are currently used to due to the alignment of Congress and President. Long-desired programs such as Ryan's proposal to privatize Medicare could come and be law pretty damn fast--after all of those bill have been written by our friends in the insurance industry years back. And that is true with a whole stack of similar bills.

There is complete awareness that they have a clear window of two years to do their work and fulfill their new contract on America--so it will be rapid.

Maybe Seneca was correct--ruin is faster than rise.

"What if....."?

The reality of "what is" makes for better discussion.
Speculation of "what shall be" is just that, and only that.
Or course it's a time for salve and wound-binding.

Salt salesmen beware. Your product greatly created the hypertension that became the silent disease.

What?

I usually enjoy your contrary views, but I'm afraid you've lost me here. While I might disagree that nuclear war is likely (though, I won't rule it out--smarter people than me are concerned), at what point do the signs of bad things happening actually mean bad things are happening?

Or, should we be compliant little frogs on the menu and simply set our minds to "adjust" as the temperature rises in the pot? One degree at a time--increase in hostile language and hate speech (one degree), actual increase in violence against minorities (one degree), selection of "alt-right" media monger for cabinet (one degree), selection of someone too racist/misogynist to be appointed judgeship for DOJ (one degree), bribing foreign officials with prizes and drinks at personal business (one degree)...until the water is boiling and we're all claiming it's a lovely bath we're having. If we get there slowly, will it be ok to have a Muslim registry or get visits from Secret Service (or threats thereof) over saying how tiny Trump's hands are? That last might be a facetious comment if it weren't for the fact that he already does the equivalent using the judiciary.

Also, in the land of personal responsibility, salt salesmen have little to do with the silent disease. (I won't go into the medical reasons that's bunk, regardless.)

I have said it before and will say it again

Liberals who felt that folks (of all colors) are worried about a bathroom law when they can't feed their children and make house payments are living in an alternative universe. That ideology turned off so many folks and fueled the election of Trump. When I heard a NYC democratic congressman say that the working folks who voted for Trump voted against their own interests because the GOP didn't back extended unemployment payments, you know they are out of touch. Note, working folks want jobs not handouts. The other big issue was the black vote that pushed Obama didn't come out for Hillary. I was out for drinks with some black friends last weekend and a 36 year old black young man said in his adult life George Bush and Obama did the same amount for the black community, nothing!! He had 16 years of Bush/Obama with nothing helping inner city schools, black unemployment and fixing the high crime rates in the inner city.. . I told him I heard the same thing from many ex-DFL'ers up north in Minnesota, they were tired of hearing what the DFL was going to do for mining and wanted to see some action. Both groups want action not promises!

Folks are way more united in wanting a job that allows them to raise children, have an education system that prepares their kids for life after 18, pay the bills and allows them to enjoy their life than divided by a "bathroom bill" or some other silly cause.

But of course

The people these folks have elected to office don't care about that desire. They need folks angry, and will ensure they shift blame to their opposition when the questions about why the changes they promised never come about. They will focus on exactly the things you say no one cared about, social issues, while ignoring entirely any good that could be done for working folks at all. The working folks have just cemented their status as lessers, servants for a new aristocracy. At best a new Gilded Age has arrived, at worst, autocratic feudalism. It seems we are doomed to continually repeat the mistakes of the past, no matter how distant that past may be.

Not to mention

I wonder how much "enjoying" they'll be doing of their lives in a world where overtime pay, OSHA safety regs, workmen's comp, and unemployment insurance cease to exist. Hope they keep quiet, because I imagine whistleblowers won't be treated too well when they lose protection as well. But hey, there's always a different job, except of course when non-competes gain the true force of law. What a wonderful world "the working folk" have laid out for themselves, its scope limited only by the conservative imagination...

Pay closer attention

The GOP is the party that was pushing the bathroom bills and passed one in North Carolina requiring people to have a permission slip to use a public toilet. You might ask the GOP leaders why they spent so much time and effort on a bill that you and I both agree is of little consequence to most people's daily lives.

Pay even closer attention please ..

N Carolina reacted to the Federal law mandating States have gender natural bathrooms and they said no. Trump won the state by over 3 points so I guess the folks have spoken!!

What?!

"Liberals who felt that folks (of all colors) are worried about a bathroom law when they can't feed their children and make house payments are living in an alternative universe." However, "N Carolina reacted to the Federal law mandating States have gender natural bathrooms and they said no. "

Which is it? Do they care, or do they not? Was this why they voted for Trump?

You might also let us know which federal law mandates states having gender-neutral bathrooms.

No federal laws were passed

There were guidelines issued by federal agencies about how to allow people to use bathrooms in federal buildings. There was also an announcement about withholding federal education funds to schools who didn't comply with those rules.

North Carolina is the entity that actually passed legislation on March 23. The executive orders were issued in May. You have your cause and effect completely backwards. You can have your own opinions but you can't have your own facts.

It does not surprise me that the same people who elected representatives who are overly concerned about how people use the bathroom also elected Donald Trump.

Favorite line

…from Remnick's essay:

“…His level of egotism is rarely exhibited outside of a clinical environment.”

On the one hand, the Trump victory (it's not at all a "mandate," as Republicans would now have us believe) is terrible news. Chances are high that he will choose terrible people for cabinet positions (the few names mentioned so far certainly fit into that meme). Worse news will be if Trump, as filmmaker Michael Moore has suggested, doesn't last 4 years. He would then be succeeded by Pence, who is an unabashed right-wing religious zealot, of the type who should, along with egotists of the Trump variety, never be allowed to have any sort of political power at all.

Other relevant favorite lines are, or should be, relatively well-known, and come to us from Martin Niemöller:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Feel free to substitute another minority group for one or more of those included above. I'll let readers decide for themselves if the parallel implied by my use of Niemöller is at least plausible. If Trump – and perhaps more ominously, his supporters – live down to their campaign promises and rhetoric, millions of Americans have much to lend credence to their anxiety about the future. That other millions of Americans think of that anxiety as something to celebrate says much that is damning about those voters.

Slippage

As someone at the grass root level, while I may or may not have been surprised, the slippage to Trump was real and palpable. Just as with the elections of Wellstone and Ventura I and others could feel it. As prescient local Nobel Prize winner suggested a long time ago, you really don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing.

Ventura

The parallel with Jesse is an interesting one.
After that election, many people said that they voted for Jesse as a protest because they didn't think that he had any chance of winning. They said that if they could do it over again, they wouldn't.
I wonder how many people voted for Trump on the same assumptions?

I sure hope not . . .

Considering how in even more recent news, the exact same thing appears to have happened with Brexit.

Then again, I'm not sure these are the people who are paying attention . . . . .

Third Party Votes

Perhaps if the debate forums had allowed all candidates to present, the final percentages would have been diluted from the 49/48, 47/46, 48/48, percentages. Our media dictates who and what the voters read and hear.
Jesse Ventura won Governor of MN post because he was allowed air time on the major stages.
I saw many people insisting their vote was going to a third party. Our media should have presented all the candidates forums.
This election was a travesty in so many ways.

"This election was a travesty in so many ways."

Agree. It was BENEATH the electorate.

The so-called Commission on Presidential Debates, which claims it's mission is to educate voters, in fact is dedicated to LIMITING the information available to voters.

It should be re-named the Commission to Preserve the Two-Party System at All Costs.

So well said...

Thank you for this.

Big Red and Big Blue apparently understood their corporate futures to be greatly endangered this year--
too seriously endangered to allow alternate democracy. Many "independents" surely voted, just not for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. Is the Green Party gone from the U.S. now?

Today I truly wonder if there is a coming Blue breakup or a Red reorganization. Both seem past due. I suppose, as always, that depends on where the big money goes from here.

Judging from the rapid rise

Judging from the rapid rise in banking and medical stocks (and private prison stocks) after the Trump election, and "a draining of the swamp" that is characterized by plenty of swamp critters having a seat at the table, money will follow the money.

The probability of eliminating banking and investment rules, the overthrowing of environmental and workplace laws, the turning over of Medicare to private insurance, all those are catnip to big money. Of course big money loves Trump--their his people.

A list of lobbyists, here: https://www.fastcompany.com/3065624/election-2016/not-quite-draintheswam...

Neal, let's not forget "Hope and Change!

Obama said he wouldn't have lobbyists in his administration, he did one better he not only hired them he let them co-write the ACA... Let's see if Trump truly wants to change DC corrupt culture or if he just does what has happened the last 40 years, feeds the beast.

So what can we learn?

I think the dems underestimated the degree to which populism, and hope for real change in washington, contributed to Obama's victory. And, as you note, they fell short on delivering that kind of change. That error contributed directly to first, the tea party movement, as well as occupy Wall Street, finally resulting in an opening which trump has exploited.

Based on what actions he & the Republicans are taking, it seems they will duplicate that mistake. Whether the dems will wake up enough to respond appropriately remains unknown & is probably unlikely.

Hebrews 13:8 (KJV)

"Obama said he wouldn't . . ." Sure. The article, however, was about President-elect Trump. The comment to which you are replying made no reference to President Obama.

So what, then, was the point of the remark? If we are going to judge the incoming President, shouldn't we judge him according to his own words, promises, and rhetoric? Or is this one of those nihilistic "everyone does it, so what's the beef?" arguments?

ah, yes, RB

a very good season for mixing metaphors, to be sure.

nice of you to cite Hebrews, when so many others are re-reading Revelations.

David Remnick's "An American

David Remnick's "An American Tragedy" essay spoke for many millions of Americans who paid close attention to the political campaign, from the gutter-level GOP primary conflicts to the gutter-level Trump manner of waging a campaign. We know he is a con man, not to be trusted to live up to his promises or threats (please note the many, many issues on which he is already "walking them back"in the first days post-election!

Not one of you guys has the right to tell us to stop mourning his election. He will be a disaster for America, and for the world. How anyone in 2016 can still deny that the climate is changing drastically, because of humans, boggles the mind; the guy will slam the door on the existence of our planet.

And for all those who voted for the pothead from New Mexico who doesn't know where or hat Aleppo is, or for the naif who ran for the flimsy American Green party: Thanks a lot! You did make a difference; from a smug arrogance of self-satisfaction that you are "pure" in not voting for a "warmonger" (Hillary Clinton's rep among the Bernie folks) you contributed strongly to electing Donald Trump. That's not a "what if," it's a close analysis of where the votes were or were not.

All we can do now is hope that the saner Republicans in Congress can rein him in--but then, those Republicans want to privatize not just Medicare but Social Security, take health care insurance away from more than 20 million people, remove all regulations on business and industry that have protected the average consumer, destroy the Environmental Protection Agency, outlaw all abortions, and cut taxes on the wealthy. And a long et cetera: Lots of us have been paying attention and actually know something beyond our personal emotions.

Heaven help America.

1968

all over again.
And we survived that (more or less).

"a smug arrogance of self-satisfaction"

Be careful there. The first image that comes to mind on hearing this phrase is of Hilary Clinton.

Some of us decried EITHER of these candidates winning the office, equally bad for the country, but in completely different ways. It shows how rotten the performance of both major parties was, as to the best interests of the country.

It always amazes me that people blame ANYONE from a 3rd party for their loss. Maybe if we had better candidates, it wouldn't be close enough for them to make a difference??

Thank you, Constance.

Thank you, Constance.

Trying to recall...

As arterial sclerosis develops, isn't it the extremities that first go numb and grow cold?

My biology was first-rate, but very long ago. Cannot remember: Are the arteries shown as blue, and veins as red, or the other way 'round? Any help here?

Other way 'round

Arteries red, veins blue. Not sure what your point here is, though.

The biology

involving hardening of the political arteries.

Heart disease is known as

...the American way of dying.

He makes a metaphor here.

Third-Party Vote

Here's a little back of the envelope calculation about whether the two third-party candidates, Johnson and Stein, made a difference for HRC. I read this in BBC News:

"According to exit polls, a quarter of Johnson and Stein voters said they would have backed Clinton if they had to pick between the two major-party candidates. About 15% would have backed Trump. But - and here is the major flaw in the argument - most Johnson and Stein voters said they would have just stayed home if their only choices were Clinton and Trump."

So I’ll assume that “most Johnson and Stein” voters as used here means the 100- 25- 15 = 60%, and so this percentage of those who voted for either Johnson or Stein simply would have had no impact at all on the outcome.

In other words, it suffices for this simple back of the envelope calculation to add a net .10 %-pts of the Johnson and Stein %-pts of votes to HRC's total %-pts of votes. And so I went to another BBC News piece and found the total vote-share percentages of DT, HRC and ‘Others’ in the 8 Key Battleground States. Since HRC won VA, I added .10 %-pts times the ‘Others’ vote-share percentages in the remaining 7 Key Battleground States to HRC vote-share percentage in each state and noted when and if this slightly higher vote-share percentage for HRC would have given her a win.

Results: HRC still would have lost in FL, PA, OH, NC, AZ, and WI. She, perhaps, would have squeaked by in MI (by a 0.22%-pt margin).

So from this little back of the envelope calculation, did the two third-party candidates, Johnson and Stein, likely make a difference for HRC? Apparently, not so much.

There were more than 100

There were more than 100 million eligible American voters who sat out this election and did not vote for anyone for president (Only about 132 million voted). That's almost 46% of our eligible voters who ignored the whole thing, thus letting about 25% of us elect this bozo to the most important office in the world.

I don't see much difference between a total non-voter and someone who threw their vote away on a non-electible minor-party person. Neither group chose to do the adult thing, which was to make a tough choice (in some people's mind; I think Hillary Clinton was probably the most-qualified presidential candidate I have seen in 50 years of voting for presidents). It's so much easier to sit aside feeling superior and watch the rest of us struggle to do our duty. As someone's mother said: "An election is a choice, and Perfect is never on the ballot."

If Gestur Davidson Were a Public Figure

and I started a campaign to besmirch his reputation,...

a campaign of lies and half truths,...

based on complex issues that the public wasn't going to take the trouble to understand,...

then got everyone, in every corner of the media to repeat,...

or to express "concern" about all the "questions" that had been "raised" about Mr. Davidson,...

over 20 years or more,...

I'm sure I could get a lot of people to believe HE was "untrustworthy,"...

and to stay home instead of voting for him.

Now that this has worked once,...

I can't help but believe that EVERY future Democratic Candidate,...

will be defeated by a similar program of character assassination.

Even Jesus Christ, himself, whom many believe to have lived a perfectly blameless life,...

did a lot of things about which "questions," could have been "raised."

Contradiction

Ms. Sullivan, if you know that Trump “is a con man, not to be trusted to live up to his promises or threats,” why are you worried about him “privatize not just Medicare but Social Security, take health care insurance away from more than 20 million people, remove all regulations on business and industry that have protected the average consumer, destroy the Environmental Protection Agency, outlaw all abortions, and cut taxes on the wealthy?” I also wonder if climate change is the greatest threat to our planet and humanity that you can think of. Also, what made Clinton the most qualified candidate in 50 years?

The problem with Trump

Is that he has no principles beyond self promotion, and is thus unpredictable.
He might gut Medicare; he might strengthen it.
Until we know which there is reason for fear.
--------
Climate change is not a threat to the planet -- it will keep on rolling along.
It IS a threat to the well being and possible survival of the human species.
The only other global threat is nuclear war, and that seems unlike since there would be no winners.
Since there is already evidence that the climate is changing (95% of climate scientists and all that) we KNOW that it will affect us -- the only question is how and how seriously.

Thank you, Mr. Brandon, for

Thank you, Mr. Brandon, for helping Ms. Sullivan with response. Anyway, we may all fear the unpredictability of Trump (or actually, of the future in general) but that was not what Ms. Sullivan said… And the reference to Trump’s slamming “the door on the existence of our planet” is impossible to misunderstand… climate change will kill the Earth, or at least all life on Earth. But as we talked before, that is a very dubious statement which is not even supported by those 95% (or is it 97%) of all scientists… or any scientist to the best of my knowledge. I would also say that the question of how climate change will affect us is a major one… and as long as we do not know the exact answer to this question we should not take expensive measures.

Exact answers

Science never has exact answers; that is how it differs from religion.
But if the likelihood of a disastrous event is high enough, it behooves us to take action to avoid it.
And as I said before, the disaster is NOT 'killing ALL life on earth'. It doesn't help the human species if only bacteria survive climate change.

Article on climate change

Privatizing

Because whether or not Trump himself lives up to his promises on those issues, there are plenty around him who want to gut those programs (e.g. Republican-dominated US Congress) and I'm pretty sure that any legislation of that sort that finds its way to his desk will get signed without any further discussion.

trepidation

I look forward with trepidation to the fallout when the rubes realize they've been conned.

Trying

I know I've made more than my share of colorful remarks about Trump supporters in the past. Even so, I'm trying not to think of them as "rubes." I hate the bigotry many of them espouse, and I hate that that bigotry was not a deal-breaker for the rest of them. Still, it's not hard to see the economic frustration that drove them to overlook bigotry and line up behind a man who offers them nothing beyond loud slogans.

And they were conned. Unfortunately, we all have to pay the price.

May I suggest

relaxing in a comfortable chair during the long wait?

Maybe

Maybe with a glass of wine, or some hot chocolate and cookies. Anything to reduce this high level unhealthy fear of change.

The Conservatives and the Country survived 2009 and 2010, I am sure 2017 & 2018 will be fine. The pendulum just keeps a swinging...

Over

the Pit.

Two Pits

Actually over 2 Pits. On one side we have excessive Capitalism and the other we have Democratic Socialism.

I hope we find a way to stay between the 2 in a balanced mixed economy that strongly pressures every health person to contribute (ie learn, work, save & invest) while taking care of the truly disabled....

No understanding

So Trump’s victory is “a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism?” Doesn’t that mean that all Trumps supporters are nativists, racists, etc.? So insulting someone on the basis of belonging to a group with similar body parts is hate speech but insulting someone on the basis of belonging to a political group is not? But of course, this hateful speech and insults ares what elected Trump so Mr. Remnick is just making sure that those people who voted for Trump will never abandon him. Smart! By the way, so is Mr. Thompson… so thank you, Mr. Holbrook, for standing up against hate speech.

How come

Liberals understand and want to include everyone… except conservatives who are always the worst enemies.

Yet Another ...

Yet another truculent journalist throws his teddy from the pram.

"According to exit polls ..."

Who talks with pollsters on election day? I don't. I know a few that do, but they enjoy providing them with false or misleading information. If nothing else, we should have learned from this election that polls are unreliable.

And, still whinging about the electoral college? Some things never change.

Never changes

"Politics, noun. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." —Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

deja vu all over again... Clinton lost.

If Clinton had been a strong candidate she would have won. All this number crunching democrats do after they lose (last time they blamed Nader) is just another way of documenting the fact that if more people voted for Clinton she would have won. Blaming Comey is ridiculous for two reasons: A) The whole e-mail controversy wouldn't have existed if Clinton hadn't violated basic data practices policies that would have gotten anyone else fired in the first place. B) A strong candidate with a commanding lead wouldn't have been so vulnerable in the last day of the campaign. Comey releases a non-story about a controversy that shouldn't have existed in the first place and you blame THAT for losing the election?

Democrats put Clinton on the ballot, she was their candidate, they own the results. Trying to blame the voters for voting for someone else is fatuous.

The apparatus

The DNC was gonna have Clinton on the ballot come he11 or high water. It was "her turn". And no party insiders were going to risk the "Wrath of Wasserman-Schultz" and their own political futures by messing with that.

Looking back, how could that juggernaut have been stopped?

Figuring that out is part of the solution, I think . . . . . .

Not to quibble

And certainly not a Clinton supporter (though I fulfilled my duty to society by voting for her), but for the record (they'll look to my writing of course) I don’t believe that she “violated basic data practices policies that would have gotten anyone else fired in the first place.” To my understanding, the only thing that Clinton did that was improper (other than overlooking a “c” on two emails out of 30,000) was that she engaged in the transmittal of unclassified emails via her personal unsecured server instead of via the State Department’s unsecured server. I understand it is a federal executive branch policy to not conduct official business on a personal account, but that everyone, from top to bottom, ignores that policy, in part because of the outmoded technology with which federal employees make do. And having official business on a private account does not violate the Freedom of Information Act. So aside from those two emails, to my understanding the Clinton email scandal equaled precisely nothing, except of course that it was one of a number of independent but sufficient causes of the nation's decision to move from potential democracy to authoritarianism.

Using a private server or even just a private e-mail....

Is not allowed. I have several relatives who work for the government on state and federal levels, they're all given .gov, .state email accounts and data practice law, national security etc. REQUIRE they use those accounts and only those accounts to send work related e-mail. And yes, violating data practice regulations is grounds for termination in and of itself. State workers aren't even supposed to use their own cell phones, or laptops, the're given state phones and laptops. The reasons for these regulations and laws are too numerous to relate here, but the rules are clear and Clinton never gave a convincing reason for violating them. I personally never considered this a "huge" deal, but it is what is nevertheless and had she simply used the .State e-mail account she was given none of this would ever have become an issue.

Just a tile chip in a greater mosaic

CNN provides a reasonable and readable summary of Hillary's email misadventures; they were not quite as dismissive:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/02/politics/hillary-clinton-fbi-interview-notes/

It is a big deal though not a deal breaker. In November 2014, I provided this succinct explanation of why Hillary Clinton would not become President.

"https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2014/11/does-history-show-hillar...

“The next President may be a Democrat, but not this Democrat.

I will comment on two reason this is the case. The first is that she is not a likable person nor a likable candidate. I am aware of the polls that have her winning the presidency in 2016. Those are the same polls that in 2006 had her winning the Presidency in 2008. Let's get excited about those polls!

The second reason is Bill Clinton, who was a likable person. Bill wore the Teflon suit that enabled him to shed the slime that he created. It did however get on those around him. Ask Al Gore. While not a likable person, he had spent the previous eight years to his presidential bid as the VP of a popular president. How did he parlay that resume' into a loss? Some of the Clinton slime came to rest on Al; Hillary wears it too.”

Another issue related to the e-mail thing

This election really was a rebellion against the political elite in both parties, and many have pointed out the fact that no one is more "elite" than the Clinton's. I think that elite status may be one reason that the e-mail scandal, while something of a tempest in a tea-pot still resonated with so many people.

There are just too many people working every day with sensitive work e-mails to buy into Hillary's private server. My wife works for the state, she has two e-mails, and gmail and a .state.mn email. In our humble home there is a rule that we simply do not use the state e-mail for anything other than work related communication, and we use the state email for any and all work related communication. My wife could be fired for violating this rule, that's a fact. My wife works for the Health Dept. so she's dealing with all kinds of data practice issues ranging from privacy to security.

Clinton was Secretary of State, she was the boss of the State Department. She didn't just use a private e-mail to transmit work related material, she actually set up her private email on a private server!

When you look at Hillary's private server, whether they found top secret stuff or not, her conduct is only excused by her elite status... she was the boss. Anyone below her rank would have been investigated, reprimanded, or fired. If other SOS's did similar things, that was a reflection of THEIR elite state, they were the boss. I think millions of Americans are in an anti-elite mode, and they're just tired of seeing elite of various kinds get away with all kinds of crap, big and small, that most us would get nailed for.

Then of course the business of deleting something like 30k emails AFTER receiving a legal House subpoena, that was just funky and Clinton simply could not explain that. Again, I think the impression people got was that Clinton gets to play by different rules, and people don't like it.

At this point who cares...

But fyi, I think your wife might be the ONLY person who adheres to that guideline. Being in a position where a goodly number of people give out email for communication purposes while recieving services, state addresses are no less common than any other.

Well...

No, my wife isn't the only government worker that uses her government e-mail to deliver services to the public. On the contrary, I challenge you to show me a single state worker that's using a private e-mail account to deliver government services and communicate with the public or even discuss government work among themselves.

When was the last time you got an e-mail from the Attorney General's office or even Mark Dayton using a gmail account? Have you ever e-mailed your state or federal representatives? Did anyone use a hotmail account or their own private server? I've been doing this since e-mail existed and I've NEVER seen it.

One reason government workers and elected representatives get government e-mail accounts is because they work for and are accountable to the public. They're supposed to be accessible. How would you e-mail a tip to a state prosecutor or file a complaint with city council member if they had orphan government e-mail accounts used private e-mail accounts instead? No one would ever get their e-mails.

Look, this is simply a great example of teapot that becomes a huge kettle when you try to minimize, excuse, or otherwise ignore it.

Even if my wife were the only one, that still doesn't change the rules or justify anyone else's violations so it would fail to exonerate Clinton. You simply can't provide an honorable explanation for this, all you can do is ask voters to ignore it or dismiss it. I need to vote for Clinton because YOU don't think this is important. That's the weakest possible campaign message anyone would run with, and it's obviously not how people vote.

Who cares? Obviously millions of people who didn't vote for Clinton care and it's important to understand those votes if democrats are going to nominate a candidate that can beat Trump three years from now.

Didn't quite work to

"ask voters to ignore it or dismiss it." did it? One's "gut" often successfully steers a voter through such political "mind fields."

If any slogan should be carried to future elections, "It's the character, stupid" should be the one.
Regardless of advertising and other promotional efforts, voters were ultimately left with this fundamental judgment...cleary not an easy or clear one.

Well,

Except that not even the best literary minds of our generation could construct a figure with a lower character than Ms Clinton's opponent. One can over-apprehend Ms. Clinton's "character" issues a thousand times and the comparison still would be an easy and clear one. (I objected to Ms Clinton on grounds of her worldview and positions, not her "character.") It's hard to see "It's the character, stupid" as the lesson to be learned here.

It is the "character," Charles

World views and other positions all grow amidst that fertilizer. One must trust another's character in order to trust most anything else about them. Yes, 2016 was a test for all voters, a test of two other characters. Neither one barely passed scrutiny. After-action interviews indicate many voted for "the least of..." Many others simply could not precisely parse that...and did not vote.