Obama On 2016: Democrats Just Didn't Show Up

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Dec 23, 2016 5:00 PM
Obama On 2016: Democrats Just Didn't Show Up

President Barack Obama continued his post-election griping last week, noting that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton lost because Democrats didn’t show up, and that his party had a bad election strategy (via The Hill):

In an interview with NPR broadcast Monday, the president said the country has a "scrambled political landscape."

"There are some things that we know are a challenge for Democrats — structural problems," he said.

Obama noted that Democratic voters are often clustered in urban areas and on the coasts.

"So as a consequence, you've got a situation where there're not only entire states but also big chunks of states where, if we're not showing up, if we're not in there making an argument, then we're going to lose," he said.

"And we can lose badly, and that's what happened in this election."

Obama said he doesn't think the Democratic Party's problem is its core argument. The values presented by the Democratic Party have strong support, he said, citing the minimum wage.

The president took unprecedented steps to help Clinton win the election that fell short, once again showing that his powers of persuasion are highly overrated. It also highlighted what many have known about Clinton, which us that she’s a terribly weak candidate. Obama’s steroid-induced push to help her out in the campaign seems to indicate that even he thought Clinton wasn’t up to the task to do this on her own. In the end, she failed, though even without Obama’s help, Clinton still blew a winnable election.

She ignored millions of white working class voters that dot the Rust Belt, instead focusing on driving up turnout in the most liberal places in the country (also the most insufferable politically)—banking on the Obama coalition to turn out for her. They didn’t for obvious reasons: Clinton isn’t Obama. She’s not charismatic. And there were significant levels of distrust among young voters about her. It also didn’t help that a healthy chunk of this coalition found Sen. Bernie Sanders more palatable. The leaked DNC emails showing the executive staff at party headquarters trying to sabotage his presidential ambitions also gave the party a lot of heartburn on the eve of their convention, confirming to Sanders supporters what they have suspected all along. The Democratic debate schedule was a dead give away.

Clinton focused on what Donald said, which disgusted progressive urban America, but was looked at with either a shoulder shrug or just hilarity in Middle America. Democrats learned that there is another America that exists beyond the cities, and these people are angry. Millions of Obama supporters flipped for Trump too, some of them two-time supporters which only pours more salt in the wounds. Even in the aftermath, the Left still has learned anything. Congressional Democrats picked Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi to lead them in Congress, liberals from New York and California. Obama’s mentioning of the minimum wage isn’t the be all and end all either with working class Americans. No one wants to work at a fast food establishment the rest of their lives. The same goes for childcare. Yes, it may be viewed as a cushion, but it’s not a substitute for a job. If Democrats think they can reconnect with Middle America through the leadership from party members who represent the very people who cost them the election, they’re in for many more years of pain.