Monday, December 05, 2016

Random Thoughts on Assessing the 2016 Presidential Election

This is the first is an unknown number of posts regarding the 2016 presidential election. I thought I would do this in a series of shorter posts rather than one stream of consciousness rant.

First let me dispel the notion that Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate and a terrible campaigner. HRC as of December 5th has received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama. Her vote margin over Donald Trump is over 2.5 million and still counting. Trump's winning margin in the three critical "blue wall" states is now less than 80,000 votes, roughly equivalent to the seating capacity of an average college football stadium.

I'm not going to point out any single factor that caused Hillary Clinton to lose. Some have tried, but I don't think it's possible to blame it on one thing or even two things. But I will start with the thing that was probably the biggest factor of all.

Hillary Clinton is a pathological liar

This was the meme of this election. Hillary is a liar. Hillary is untrustworthy. Hillary can't tell the truth.

As a participant in social media and a denizen of a number of comments sections, I have seen the various versions of this meme many times. It's fascinating, though, that when I ask for examples of her lying, about 80-90% of the time I get "Clinton claimed she was under sniper fire on the tarmac in Bosnia." Of all the things that Hillary has been accused of over the years, this one consistently tops the list.Truth or lie, it is an incredibly trivial event, and yet it's deemed so important by detractors.

It is apparently not true that Clinton was under sniper fire on the tarmac in Bosnia. What is true is that the aircraft in which she was flying on this trip did use evasive maneuvers in its approach to the airfield as a defense against possible enemy fire in what was considered a war zone. Clinton admitted that she misremembered the event, Does that make it a lie? If you automatically assume she's a liar, I guess so. But it's so trivial and she corrected herself almost immediately.

Another one that is high on the list of "lies" is Clinton being named after Sir Edmund Hillary of Mt. Everest fame. It has been pointed out that Hillary's ascent of Everest post-dated Hillary's birth. IOW it is highly unlikely that she was named after him. Does that make it a lie? Not if that is what she was told when she was a little girl. And she says her mother told her that story to inspire her to do great things. My mother told me that I was a descendant of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. I was told this to feel that my mother's blood lines were every bit as regal as those of her Kentucky in-laws. Can it be proved? Not without 23 and Me. So again, trivial and immediately corrected.

I will continue with this long form rant in the days ahead, but I want to say that in my humble opinion, the "untrustworthy" meme was the biggest hurdle that Clinton faced in her campaign. And when I think about it, I can't see any way she could have mitigated that.

More to come.


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