By BENJAMIN ROCHETEAU
Recently, the world watched in horror as an event which almost nobody expected to happen happened: Trump was elected president. Immediately afterward, people started spreading the blame by accusing third parties or Trump supporters for this event. All in all, it was a pretty undemocratic response for a democratic election. In truth, almost everybody was at fault. This includes the Democratic National Convention (DNC), the Grand Old Party, the Democrats who did not vote for Clinton, the FBI and Clinton herself.
The DNC made two fatal mistakes in this election. The first was that they failed to host a good, diverse primary and allowed their primary candidate to be someone as unpopular as Clinton. Normally during the Democratic primaries, the Democrats split between the candidates, unifying again after a winner is chosen. This time, the candidates were Hillary Clinton, a candidate who would have been considered Republican before Reagan, and Bernie Sanders, an extremely socialist and anti-establishment candidate. While there were other candidates, they were so weak that many still do not know that they actually ran. Due to their largely different views and positions, there were hostilities between the Clinton and Sanders and their supporters. This is nothing new.
What is new is that after the primaries, some of Sander’s supporters were so upset that their candidate lost that they simply decided not to vote, leading to Clinton losing a number of voters she was supposed to have gained. If the DNC had not chosen an unpopular candidate like Clinton to be their champion, there would have been a larger voter turnout and the FBI’s intervention in the elections would have done a lot less damage. Clinton is un-energetic, unexciting, and does not make people want to vote for her. The added baggage of her husband did not help either. Ever since the founding of this country, Americans have hated dynasties, so when another Clinton tried to become president, the country reacted negatively.
The GOP played a major role in Trump’s election as well. Its inability to handle Trump and to take him seriously during the primaries was the only reason he won those primaries. As soon as he started to challenge party interests and stray from core GOP values, the GOP should have seen him as the threat that he is and acted accordingly. Its failure to see him see a threat left it vulnerable to Trump’s attacks and eventually led to Trump’s election.
However, those who are most to blame for the results are the Democrats who did not want Trump to win but who did not vote for Clinton either. According to Newsweek, third party voters could have even cost Clinton the election. Not to mention the fact that many people simply did not vote, seeing that a whopping 44.6% of eligible voters did not vote according to CNN. Had all of these eligible voters cast their votes in this election, the results may have turned out differently.
After the third debate, Clinton had a clear win ahead of her. For the first time in decades, several traditionally Republican states, including Texas, were leaning Democratic. But due to an ill placed remark made by James Comey, the director of the FBI, those states went back to being conservative, potentially costing Clinton the election. There is no doubt that the FBI went out of bounds with their investigation and statement. They interfered with a federal election, especially while they were supposed to be protecting the country from terrorism. It is a long standing practice not to interfere with the elections sixty days before they occur; this was severely breached, considering the remark was made only eleven days before the primaries.
Ultimately, however, Clinton’s arrogance and overconfidence were probably the main sources of her defeat. She relied too heavily on the polls and assumed that she had several swing states in the bag, when the election showed that she clearly did not. She should have acted a bit more like Trump, campaigning and rallying as much as she could in the swing states to gain public approval. Instead, she just delivered a couple of quiet rallies in places where she felt safe, which got her no support at all. There is no point in trying to win over people who already support you.