After the result of the presidential election sank in many Democrats felt disillusioned and disappointed. Going into Election Day, the projected winner of the presidential race was Hillary Clinton in most polls and forecasts. But Trump supporters showed up at the polls in larger numbers than anyone had predicted. Donald J. Trump carried state after state, including some that most Democrat analysts considered a safe bet. The fact that they had lost the White House painted a different picture for Democrats than the one they ran on during the campaign. It’s a picture where the party is out of touch with its own base.
High Expectations for the Election
The Democrats were preparing for a historic night. Not only did they believe they were going to see the first female president in the history of the United States elected on a Democrat ticket. They also had hopes of taking back the Senate. Instead the results of their efforts in the campaigns of this General Election were disappointing. The Republicans are going to start the 115th Congress with a majority in the House and in the Senate. The next president is going to be a Republican who entered the race as an outsider and owes little to the political establishment. In one fell swoop the Democrats lost everything, including the White House.
In recent years, the White House had remained the last bastion for the Democrats. They had lost gubernatorial positions as well as both chambers of Congress. But demographic trends looked favorable to the when it came to presidential electoral math. The Democrats had their hopes pinned on the White House, hoping to secure a third consecutive term for a Democrat president. A feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the 19th century.
Democrats Look at Their Strategy
But the emerging American electorate that they were counting on underperformed at the polls. In 2008 and 2012 Barack Obama brought together a diverse coalition of social groups to secure his win in the presidential race. It included Hispanics, African-Americans, millennials and single women. But the turnout that Barack Obama secured could not be replicated for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. They did not go to the polls in numbers as high as Democrat pollsters were anticipating. Instead, large numbers of Trump supporters showed up at the polls, including in blue states. Trump managed to shatter the Democrat party’s “blue wall”. He won in Michigan, Wisconsin as well as Pennsylvania. These three states hadn’t voted for a Republican since the 1980s.
In the aftermath of the election, Democrats were acknowledging the need to take stock and understand where they went wrong.
“We’d be foolish not to question every assumption we’ve made about how Democrats win,”
said Faiz Shakir, a senior adviser to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.
Steve Schale is a Democratic strategist from Florida. He says that the strategy that the Clinton campaign used in trying to appeal to a more diverse electorate was largely correct. But that it was offset by how many votes she lost in other demographics.
“We got absolutely just crushed in exurban and suburban counties,”
said Steve Schale.
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