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Perhaps Hillary Really Did Lose Because Trump Ran A 'Great' Campaign (Stay With Me)

Labeling Trump an "easy" candidate that Hillary should've rolled right over ignores the fact that large swaths of America swallowed his racist horseshit like it was the antidote. How could she have stopped that?
Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

(Note: Ben Cohen published a piece on why Hillary Clinton has to take full blame for her loss to Trump going forward, which is a stance I cordially disagree with. So maybe consider the following a friendly rebuttal.)

After a whirlwind week of hilariously terrifying batshit interviews that culminated in Donald Trump literally running away from John Dickerson, but not before referring to Kim Jong-un as a "smart cookie" that Trump would love to meet, it became abundantly clear that our president shouldn't be trusted to have diplomatic talks with a banana. He'll fucking kill us all.

But Hillary Clinton really brought that point home when she effortlessly baited Trump during an interview on Tuesday with Christine Amanpour. CNN reports (emphasis mine):

The event marks the latest where Clinton, in a stinging rebuke to Trump, both blames herself for the 2016 loss but also casts the current President as someone aided by outside factors, including the Russian government.

After Clinton noted the 3 million more votes she won than Trump, Amanpour joked that the President would soon tweet about the comment.

"Fine. Better than the interfering in foreign affairs," Clinton said. "If he wants to tweet about me than I am happy to be the diversion because we have lot of things to worry about. He should worry less about the election and my winning the popular vote than doing some other things that would be important for the country."

And because I apparently should've sold my soul to write clickbait headlines, you'll never believe what happened next!

Before I get to my larger point, I just want to reiterate that Hillary Clinton cajoled that response out of Trump like she simply pulled a bell out of her purse and gave it a few rings. Yet we're somehow supposed to believe that spymaster Vladimir Putin isn't playing DumbBox L'Orange's strings like a fiddle from hell. Right. Also, just think about how easily Trump can be played - and probably already is - by any foreign actor who can read his tells like an open book. As others have more eloquently put it, Trump is the mark that he thinks he's the con man.

Back on topic, last month, Charles Pierce was already on the scene of this latest craze of slamming Hillary Clinton's campaign the second Shattered became catnip to everyone from the Sanders left and the shit-swamp right looking to mock Clinton for losing to such an "easy" candidate. Via Esquire:

You want a textbook example of a thoroughly bad campaign, look to the Dukakis juggernaut in 1988, not the Clinton campaign of 2016, no matter what you're hearing from people pitching books full of gossipy back-stabbing and obsequious resume-polishing. The fact is that the current spate of Clinton-bashing completely ignores one undeniable fact: Donald Trump was a helluva candidate. In fact, for the cultural and political context within which that election took place, he might have been a perfect candidate.


Consider this: Whatever you may think of how he won the presidency, and we'll get to that in a minute, Trump took on a Republican field composed of what was alleged to be the best that party had to offer, the deepest part of its allegedly deep bench, and he utterly destroyed it.

As Pierce goes on to note in detail, Trump mopped the floor with the GOP clown car during the primary simply by being a braggadocios cock-waffle who lacked the nuance and corresponding grey matter to speak in dog whistles, so he was just out and out racist. And it fucking killed.

Moreover, and I owe a hat tip to Scott Lemieux here, it's likely in retrospect that Trump's plan of action, while unconventional in the extreme and relentlessly eccentric, also was based in a kind of mad logic. There really was a big slice of the electorate, concentrated in states that were vital in the Electoral College, that was uniquely susceptible to Trump's appeal. He and his people spotted it and campaigned accordingly.

Last month, in a move that unbelievably flew in the face of the narrative that Christ himself returned to earth in the Doc Brown form of Bernie Sanders (who would've clearly won the election had the DNC said "eh, fuck the raw votes" and handed him the nomination just because), The Intercept of all places reported that Trump voters were predominantly more motivated by racism than economic issues. So what exactly the hell was Hillary Clinton supposed to do against that? Lynch somebody? C'mon.

If there's anyone who deserves the blame for Trump winning the election, it's the American people. Granted, an Electoral College-friendly assortment of American people, but the American people nonetheless. Because at the end of the day, no one genuinely believed this country would be stupid and blatantly racist enough to actually elect a bullshit reality star endorsed by the fucking KKK. There we all were, naively thinking to ourselves, "Gee, America seems like a nice guy. I'm sure he'll do the right thing."

But America didn't do the right thing. Instead, on a dark night in early November, America sent the world a dick pic, and then spent an entire month yelling at anyone who had the gall to be mad about it.

How was that Hillary Clinton's fault again?