Home / General / FBI Director Implying One Candidate is a Liar and Crook has Material Negative Effect on Candidate, Shocking Research Finding Says

FBI Director Implying One Candidate is a Liar and Crook has Material Negative Effect on Candidate, Shocking Research Finding Says

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Conversation survey data shows what…pretty much all of the relevant data shows about the effect of James Comey deciding to kneecap Hillary Clinton based on absolutely nothing less than two weeks before the election:

Most decisively, there was a sudden change in the net sentiment results that followed immediately after FBI Director James Comey released his Oct. 28 letter to Congress about a renewed investigation of Clinton emails. Immediately afterwards, there was a 17-point drop in net sentiment for Clinton, and an 11-point rise for Trump, enough for the two candidates to switch places in the rankings, with Clinton in more negative territory than Trump. At a time when opinion polling showed perhaps a 2-point decline in the margin for Clinton, this conversation data suggests a 28-point change in the word of mouth “standings.” The change in word of mouth favorability metric was stunning, and much greater than the traditional opinion polling revealed.

Based on this finding, it is our conclusion that the Comey letter, 11 days before the election, was the precipitating event behind Clinton’s loss, despite the letter being effectively retracted less than a week later. In such a close election, there may have been dozens of factors whose absence would have reversed the outcome, such as the influence campaign of the Russian government as detailed by US intelligence services. But the sudden change in the political conversation after the Comey letter suggest it was the single, most indispensable factor in the surprise election result.

This conclusion helps us to understand how it is possible that the polls were generally correct about a Clinton lead through most of the campaign, but nevertheless Trump still won because of a late October surprise. In other words, pollsters and the media were likely correct that Clinton was “winning” during most of the campaign.

Obviously, in roughly 99% of cases people demanding “MOAR EVIDENCE” about the Comey effect are making the demand in bad faith, because no alternative hypothesis to “Hillary Clinton lost because, in her perfidious neoliberalism, she failed to understand that marginal voters in every jurisdiction in the country have exactly the same policy preferences and priorities as Brooklyn socialists” is ever going to be entertained. (Sometimes, this will be followed by demands that nobody else discuss any other variable either.) But the evidence that Comey’s intervention was decisive ceteris paribus is about as clear as any such counterfactual could be.

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  • MyNameIsZweig

    But Scott, unless you can identify specific voters by name who admit to switching their preferred candidate after hearing about the Comey letter, then this is all just neoliberal ass-covering speculation.

    • Oh, boy! I've been looking for a way to prove that there is no such thing as structure racism and sexism. I think your framework is very promising for that purpose.

      • vic rattlehead

        You don’t really know what’s in people’s hearts. Ergo, you can never truly say whether someone is racist or sexist.

        • Shantanu Saha

          Sure you can. Anti-racists are the real racists. Feminists are the real sexists.

          • Jay

            Jews are the real Anti-Semites.

            edit: messed up the sarcasm font.

            • Shantanu Saha

              If someone looks Muslim to you, you can shoot him as a terrorist and sort it out later, and call a mulligan if he isn't

  • But he’s had a major religious conversion. It is now unethical for him to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation, including whether one even exists. And he is highly principled, and will never violate that rule. Apparently the heavens opened, the sun rolled back in the sky, and a booming voice rang in his ears.

    So not to worry, he’ll never do it again.

  • Pfft. She lost because she didn’t campaign in this one state that even if she won she still would have lost overall, wouldn’t have been needed if she’d won FL and either MI or PA (in each of which she campaigned, in two of them extensively), and which she was leading comfortably without campaigning in prior to the release of the first Comey letter.

    Also, this argument is bogus. While you’re really saying everything else PLUS the Comey letters is why she lost, so if you take out the Comey letters, she would have won, I’m going to accuse you of saying nothing else mattered except the Comey letters, because that’s a stupid argument which though you didn’t make it, is easy for me to ridicule as obviously stupid.

    • Davis X. Machina

      Well done. (Citizen Kane claps…)

      • TVTray

        Who’s Citizen Kane?

        • rea

          Figures that you wouldn’t know.

    • Also, this argument is bogus. While you’re really saying everything else PLUS the Comey letters is why she lost, so if you take out the Comey letters, she would have won, I’m going to accuse you of saying nothing else mattered except the Comey letters, because that’s a stupid argument which though you didn’t make it, is easy for me to ridicule as obviously stupid.

      What Comey did was almost a drive-by shooting. While you can make the case that Hillary as a candidate made the effect much worse than it otherwise could have been, would any candidate have survived the director of the FBI popping up a few days before the election and stating for the record that the candidate was under an active FBI investigation?

      • Alex.S

        Throw in that “Because the FBI is told not to do this, because they are doing this, it means that it is super important and extra special serious”.

        Followed up by “Just kidding, the FBI let Clinton get away with it again. I mean, they say there was nothing wrong. But remember the last week when we said something was wrong?”

    • Scott Lemieux

      You’re ignoring the fact that Clinton could have made Wisconsin worth 80 electoral votes, which it is absolutely certain she would have won had she visited the state two or three more times, but she Didn’t. Even. Try.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        “Hillary was history’s worst campaigner. Also, in several key locations she didn’t campaign *enough*.”

        • Also, “I’m upset the candidate I didn’t vote for didn’t win, because I didn’t vote for Jill Stein because I thought she’d win or be a good president, I did it to preen, but the rest of you idiots let me down and didn’t let me maintain my cost-free purity!”

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            “I’m upset the candidate I voted for in the primaries didn’t win, and as such have decided the best use of my time is wanking on how much the primary victor sucks calling anyone who doesn’t hate them as much as I do neoliberal shills.”

      • TVTray

        It’s true! She didn’t try!

        • TVTray appears to not get sarcasm.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            TVTray also appears to be about ten years old, since they apparently have never heard of Citizen Kane.

            • I’m sticking with my initial hypothesis of “paid Russian troll”.

    • liberalrob

      I’m going to accuse you of saying nothing else mattered except the Comey letters, because that’s a stupid argument which though you didn’t make it, is easy for me to ridicule as obviously stupid.

      Well, actually he did make that argument. He just made it again, by favorably (presumably) citing the conclusion of the study:

      Based on this finding, it is our conclusion that the Comey letter, 11 days before the election, was the precipitating event behind Clinton’s loss, despite the letter being effectively retracted less than a week later. In such a close election, there may have been dozens of factors whose absence would have reversed the outcome, such as the influence campaign of the Russian government as detailed by US intelligence services. But the sudden change in the political conversation after the Comey letter suggest it was the single, most indispensable factor in the surprise election result.

      And then in his very own words:

      But the evidence that Comey’s intervention was decisive ceteris paribus is about as clear as any such counterfactual could be.

      “Ceteris paribus” is a nice bit of hedging, attempting to obscure the fact that non-ceteris paribus the Comey letter would possibly have been completely irrelevant to the outcome, and therefore maybe not quite as absolutely “decisive” as he’d like everyone to believe. Ceteris paribus, if the media had not spent the past year obsessing over EMAILZ! as some kind of existential danger to our national security, that most likely also would have been “decisive”.

      I don’t think anyone denies that the Comey letter, in its timing and the context in which it was delivered, was inappropriate (charitably) and quite possibly was the clincher for Clinton’s defeat. What I and others don’t want to see happening is, in the rush to (deservedly!) pillory Comey we de-emphasize all those other factors absent which Comey’s letter is just a footnote, a last desperate attempt at character assassination by a losing campaign.

      • sibusisodan

        “Ceteris paribus” is a nice bit of hedging, attempting to obscure the fact that non-ceteris paribus the Comey letter would possibly have been completely irrelevant to the outcome, and therefore maybe not quite as absolutely “decisive” as he’d like everyone to believe.

        But…that’s how counterfactuals work!

      • djw

        “Ceteris paribus” is a nice bit of hedging, attempting to obscure the fact that non-ceteris paribus the Comey letter would possibly have been completely irrelevant to the outcome, and therefore maybe not quite as absolutely “decisive” as he’d like everyone to believe.

        Look up “ceteris paribus” and try again.

        • liberalrob

          I know what it means. You try again.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Well, actually he did make that argument.

        This is flatly false, both about me, and about the linked article. You don’t even have to click through! You’re just utterly full of shit.

        “Ceteris paribus” is a nice bit of hedging

        LOL

        • liberalrob

          It is not flatly false. You deny what you wrote in your own post? And in every post you’ve made on this subject for the past 5 months? OK.

          You cannot divorce the Comey letter’s effect on the election from the context in which it existed. That context is the result of years, literally decades of unjustified, baseless, “counterfactual” attacks on Hillary Clinton for being Hillary Clinton. Excluding this context from analysis of the Comey letter is wrong.

          And I am not full of shit. I took a righteous dump this morning. Everything came out OK.

          • djw

            You cannot divorce the Comey letter’s effect on the election from the context in which it existed.

            I know you think you know what ‘ceteris paribus’ means, but the evidence to the contrary is really piling up.

            • liberalrob

              Sigh. It is a term from economics, “all things being equal”. It means that taken in isolation from all other factors, one single event explains the difference between result A and result not-A. In other words, absent the Comey letter, Clinton wins the election. Which I don’t disagree with! Nor does Greenwald!

              What I am saying is, all things are not equal. EMAILZ! should never have been the cause celebre’ it was. It only was because it was Hillary Clinton’s emailz; nobody else’s emailz would have mattered as much. Her emailz only mattered because of the multi-decade campaign of character assassination visited on her and her husband. Greenwald is pointing out that the Comey letter is one of a laundry list of (some actual, some possible) external factors being pointed to by the Democratic Party leadership to absolve themselves of any introspection following the election loss. Scott is saying Greenwald is attempting to deflect criticism of Comey out of ignorance or agenda. I am saying that’s not how I read Greenwald’s columns. Scott says it’s Greenwald so end of story, for 5 months running. I’m frustrated to see a college professor doing this sort of thing.

              • djw

                What I am saying is, all things are not equal.

                Indeed they are not. Perhaps the concepts you need more work on are “counterfactual” and “hypothetical.”

                Greenwald is pointing out that the Comey letter is one of a laundry list of (some actual, some possible) external factors being pointed to by the Democratic Party leadership to absolve themselves of any introspection following the election loss.

                “It’s true, but it’s not what I want to talk about, so you shouldn’t say it’s true.”

                • liberalrob

                  I will admit to apparently having no idea what the hell “counterfactual” means as used here; to me it sounds like the opposite of factual, i.e. not a fact, a.k.a. a falsehood. But if that’s the case then the statement

                  “But the evidence that Comey’s intervention was decisive ceteris paribus is about as clear as any such falsehood could be.”

                  makes no sense. Is Scott claiming his own opinion is based on a falsehood? And I have no idea what “hypothetical” has to do with anything we’re talking about here. The Comey letter and the election result actually happened.

              • JMP

                Why the fuck should anyone take the advice of a far-right activist and supporter of Trump and fucking Vladimir Putin like Glenn Greenwald on what the Democratic Party should do?

              • Scott Lemieux

                Nor does Greenwald!

                [cites omitted]

                • liberalrob

                  You want me to cite all the times Greenwald has not said that the Comey letter was not significant to the outcome of the election?

                  Well, OK then! Ya got me there.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  No, I want you to cite an example of him saying that the letter did matter, which is your claim. Glenn saying that Comey is a just a “scapegoat” and that the Democratic Party is entirely responsible for the election, conversely, is cited below.

                  The fact that he doesn’t think Comey’s interventions are worth mentioning in lengthy rants about the DEEP STATE in which he finds time to complain about former CIA officials writing op-eds nobody read also seems relevant here.

                • liberalrob

                  I want you to cite an example of him saying that the letter did matter, which is your claim.

                  That is not my claim. My claim is that your claim that he said or implied that the Comey letter was of little or no consequence is misguided. What he literally said was that it was his opinion that the Comey letter and the other “external factors” were being used by the Democratic Party leadership to exempt themselves from accepting any role in the election loss, that the loss was entirely caused by these factors beyond their control. That says nothing whatsoever about the relevance of the Comey letter to the election result. The column is entirely aimed at a Democratic Party leadership that has a long list of factors outside of their control to explain the loss but curiously few if any examples of things they could have done better or mistakes they made. Somehow you manage to conflate that into Greenwald claiming the Comey letter is of little or no relevance to the election result.

                  I mean, do I have to ask if you read the whole thing?

                  While Democrats point fingers at anyone they can find, the evidence mounts that all critical sectors of their party’s apparatus fundamentally failed. Their renowned strategic geniuses were blinded with arrogance and error…Clinton’s campaign staff, drowning in a sense of inevitability and entitlement (again), ignored pleas from worried local officials for more resources to states that proved decisive. The Democratic Party’s last two chairs were compelled to resign in scandal (one from CNN, the other from the DNC itself). And the party is widely perceived to be devoted to elite Wall Street tycoons and war-making interests at the expense of pretty much everyone else, and chose a candidate who could not have been better designed to exacerbate those concerns if that had been the goal. As Steve Bannon put it: “Hillary Clinton was the perfect foil for Trump’s [anti-establishment] message.”

                  He doesn’t mention the Comey letter at all after the one reference to it as being one of the “external factors” being used to absolve the Democratic Party leadership, it’s true; but he is not analyzing the election result, he is criticizing the Democratic Party for seizing on these “external factors” to avoid taking a serious look at what they themselves might have done differently and/or better. I’m not going to say I completely agree with his opinion; I think it’s entirely plausible that the Democratic Party could have done everything right and still lost as we did. But saying that by criticizing the Democratic Party he is minimizing or dismissing the Comey letter is just wrong.

          • Scott Lemieux

            You deny what you wrote in your own post?

            I did not write in this post, and have never written, that the Comey letter was the only factor that mattered. You’re just flat lying.

            You cannot divorce the Comey letter’s effect on the election from the context in which it existed. That context is the result of years, literally decades of unjustified, baseless, “counterfactual” attacks on Hillary Clinton for being Hillary Clinton. Excluding this context from analysis of the Comey letter is wrong.

            There are words here, but they are not in any way material to any argument anybody is making.

          • “‘The straw that broke the camel’s back’ was decisive, and if you argue it was decisive, that means if you took away all the other straws, that single straw still would have broke the camel’s back. I understand causal concepts like sufficient & necessary.”

            “PS, I am not a crackpot”

      • I think the moral of the story is that:

        1. Whether you’re living on an isolated prairie or in the middle of a fuel dump, a cruise missile is a cruise missile and will still take you out, yet

        2. You probably still don’t want to live in the middle of a fuel dump.

        Just sayin’

    • Shantanu Saha

      You’ve got to use the sarcasm font or people like liberalrob will take you seriously.

      • Yeah, I haven’t been around here much lately, I’m out of practice.

  • liberalrob

    (Sometimes, this will be followed by demands that nobody else discuss any other variable either.)

    You really hate Greenwald. You’ve made that as clear as crystal.

    • vic rattlehead

      Please tell me you’re wearing a condom when you fuck that chicken.

      • liberalrob

        fuck that chicken

        This meme needs to die.

        • Tom in BK

          Are you aware of all Internet traditions?

          • liberalrob

            Nauseatingly so, at this point…

    • Because why would anyone ever criticize somebody’s argument unless you really hate them, amitrite?

      • liberalrob

        When you criticize somebody’s argument repeatedly for months on end, and that criticism is always exactly the same, and it is even used in criticism of statements completely unrelated to the cause of the original criticism, often veering implicitly or explicitly into attacking the motivations and character of the person criticized…it begins to go beyond mere “criticism” and starts to look more like obsession.

        • So, you hate Scott, do you?

          Seriously, this reminds me of that “terrorism exoert” in the Trump administration calling up a persistent critic and whining “Why the hostility? We’ve never even met!”

          Sometimes it really is not personal. Sometimes it really is about the issues. Issues are important, because they affect many people, and one individual ‘s hurt feelings are beside the point.

          • liberalrob

            I hate Scott’s continuous dismissal of Greenwald on an issue where I think both he and Greenwald make valid points. Scott is right that the Comey letter is quite possibly one of the signature infamies in our nation’s history, right there with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the Indian Removal Act. Greenwald is right that we must not ignore the other factors contributing to the political mess the Democratic Party (and our country as a whole) is in, factors that made the Comey letter’s effectiveness possible. Scott accuses Greenwald of minimizing the Comey letter out of bias and at best ignorance; nowhere in his columns does Greenwald minimize the Comey letter. And I’m personally frustrated by this continual Greenwald-bashing month after month on an issue where I see no basis for such bashing.

            • Scott’s “continuous dismissal of Greenwald” is, in fact, a continuous dismissal of the following claim:

              Democrats have spent the last 10 days flailing around blaming everyone except for themselves, constructing a carousel of villains and scapegoats – from Julian Assange, Vladimir Putin, James Comey, the electoral college, “fake news,” and Facebook, to Susan Sarandon, Jill Stein, millennials, Bernie Sanders, Clinton-critical journalists and, most of all, insubordinate voters themselves – to blame them for failing to fulfill the responsibility that the Democratic Party, and it alone, bears: to elect Democratic candidates.

              If you want to equate the man with one stupid argument (or a set of stupid arguments) he made, go ahead, but know it’s utterly absurd. Yet that is what you imply when you say that bashing this claim is “bashing Greenwald”. Nonsense.

              You yourself said you dislike Scott’s arguments, and you imply that this dislike is not motivated by personal animus towards Scott. How can you claim in good faith that others can’t do what you say you do? You can’t.

              nowhere in his columns does Greenwald minimize the Comey letter.

              He just lists it among the “villains and scapegoats” used by Democrats to deny responsibility “for failing to fulfill the responsibility that the Democratic Party, and it alone, bears: to elect Democratic candidates.”

              Why make claims that can be so easily disproven?

              • Scott Lemieux

                He just lists it among the “villains and scapegoats” used by Democrats to deny responsibility “for failing to fulfill the responsibility that the Democratic Party, and it alone, bears: to elect Democratic candidates.”

                Thank you. Glenn is not saying “Other factors were important, but let’s not lose sight of Clinton’s mistakes,” which would be fine. He’s saying the other factors are just excuses. Saying Comey is a “scapegoat” clearly implies that he bears no responsibility.

                • liberalrob

                  He’s saying the other factors are just excuses. Saying Comey is a “scapegoat” clearly implies that he bears no responsibility.

                  I don’t understand where you are getting that “clear implication.” It is not clear to me at all. It seems to me that it is entirely possible for Comey to bear massive responsibility for his action AND for that action to seized on by Democrats as an excuse to avoid taking a hard look at their own actions.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Nothing about what Glenn has written about the election suggests that Comey bears any responsibility at all, let alone “massive responsibility.” A “scapegoat” is someone you blame for something that’s your fault.

              • liberalrob

                If you want to equate the man with one stupid argument (or a set of stupid arguments) he made, go ahead, but know it’s utterly absurd. Yet that is what you imply when you say that bashing this claim is “bashing Greenwald”. Nonsense.

                No, it’s not nonsense. This isn’t the first time Scott has decided to ridicule Greenwald. It’s just the latest in a series:

                2017/02/neo-mccarthyism111#comment-2640799

                So the new definition of “McCarthyism” is “discussing anything about the 2016 campaign other than ‘Hillary Clinton sucks.’”

                A blatantly willful misreading of what Greenwald wrote. But I’m the one full of shit.

                2017/01/paul-ryan-international-man-of-seriousity

                But, to be fair, I think there’s at least a 50/50 chance that over the next four years Glenn Greenwald will stop writing that the American power elite is collectively and resolutely opposed to Donald Trump.

                Greenwald specifically singled out the Democratic Party power elite, not “the American power elite,” as having been united behind Clinton. But that didn’t stop Scott from misrepresenting what Glenn actually wrote so he could take a shot at him.

                2016/12/so-not-really-never-then

                Within about 3 months, the only even nominal opposition to Trump from anyone of any influence within the Republican Party will be in Glenn Greenwald’s imagination.

                That Greenwald and his imagination, amirite?

                To be scrupulously fair, in the past Scott has been complimentary to Glenn on many occasions. In that sense I am probably making him a party to the egregious abuse Loomis has heaped on Greenwald, and for that I apologize to Scott. (It does, however, make the instances where Scott does criticize Greenwald unfairly more incomprehensible and dissonant.) But nevertheless, there is a long and constant history here at LGM of front-pagers heaping scorn on Greenwald, so I think I’m a little justified in expressing being fed up with seeing it.

              • liberalrob

                This got lost in moderation hell, so let me try to post it without any links.

                If you want to equate the man with one stupid argument (or a set of stupid arguments) he made, go ahead, but know it’s utterly absurd. Yet that is what you imply when you say that bashing this claim is “bashing Greenwald”. Nonsense.

                No, it’s not nonsense. This isn’t the first time Scott has decided to ridicule Greenwald. It’s just the latest in a series:

                2017/02/neo-mccarthyism111#comment-2640799

                So the new definition of “McCarthyism” is “discussing anything about the 2016 campaign other than ‘Hillary Clinton sucks.’”

                A blatantly willful misreading of what Greenwald wrote. But I’m the one full of shit.

                2017/01/paul-ryan-international-man-of-seriousity

                But, to be fair, I think there’s at least a 50/50 chance that over the next four years Glenn Greenwald will stop writing that the American power elite is collectively and resolutely opposed to Donald Trump.

                Greenwald specifically singled out the Democratic Party power elite, not “the American power elite,” as having been united behind Clinton. But that didn’t stop Scott from misrepresenting what Glenn actually wrote so he could take a shot at him.

                2016/12/so-not-really-never-then

                Within about 3 months, the only even nominal opposition to Trump from anyone of any influence within the Republican Party will be in Glenn Greenwald’s imagination.

                That Greenwald and his imagination, amirite?

                To be scrupulously fair, in the past Scott has been complimentary to Glenn on many occasions. In that sense I am probably making him a party to the egregious abuse Loomis has heaped on Greenwald, and for that I apologize to Scott. (It does, however, make the instances where Scott does criticize Greenwald unfairly more incomprehensible and dissonant.) But nevertheless, there is a long and constant history here at LGM of front-pagers heaping scorn on Greenwald, so I think I’m a little justified in expressing being fed up with seeing it.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  A blatantly willful misreading of what Greenwald wrote.

                  No it isn’t, and your failure to point out what’s distorted thinks for itself. As anyone can see, the harm that Greenwald has identified from “the New McCarthyism” is that it’s a distraction from how Hillary Clinton sucks. It’s a terrible argument, but it’s his argument.

                  Greenwald specifically singled out the Democratic Party power elite, not “the American power elite,” as having been united behind Clinton. But that didn’t stop Scott from misrepresenting what Glenn actually wrote so he could take a shot at him.

                  Oof, this is just embarrassing on your part. Absolutely embarrassing. I happen to have Glenn Greenwald right here, and:

                  Not only did it just lose the White House to a wildly unpopular farce of a candidate despite a virtually unified establishment behind it


                  And here:

                  Elites (outside of populist right-wing circles) aggressively unified across ideological lines in opposition to both.

                  Either you’re a liar, or you’re illiterate.

                  That Greenwald and his imagination, amirite?

                  Um, what? The Republican Party is in fact united behind Trump. What the hell are you talking about? Anyway, I’m sure you’ll find evidence of Greenwald thinking that Comey materially affected the election any day now.

            • kped

              Fuck Glenn. I don’t care if it makes you sick. Fuck that guy. Someone mentioned on twitter that he’s not exactly talking truth to power anymore…and his lame response was “durr, the media and dems and deep state are power”. He is totally rolling over for Trump in his quest to…do whatever the fuck he is obsessing over.

              I’d call him a useful idiot for Trump, but that gives idiots a bad name.

              • TVTray

                Relax kped. Greenwald doesn’t matter.

              • Origami Isopod

                I can’t +1 this comment enough.

    • Shantanu Saha

      I vehemently disagree with Greenwald’s arguments, and dispute the logic behind them. Hating him is just a bonus.

      • No no no no no, it’s impossible for you to grow to dislike or even hate another person because of the arguments the other guy makes, you only hate arguments based on personal feelings toward that guy that developed in the absence of any observations of the other guy and what his actions imply about his character.

        • Shantanu Saha

          Exactly. For instance, who the hell likes people with alliterative names? That shit’s not right.

        • Rob in CT

          LIAR!!!!

          Update: LYING LIAR!!!

          Update 2: LYING LIAR WHO LIES!!!

          • Dalai Rasta

            God, but I miss SEK. I could really use another OLDMAN CAT post right now.

        • Scott Lemieux

          [While there’s nothing wrong with this, FTR I personally have no personal animus towards Glenn at all.]

          • Rob in CT

            I should have saved my post and used it as a reply to this. Sad.

          • kped

            Also…this post wasn’t even about Greenwald as far as I can tell. Obviously, he has made the counter…but so have many others on the left, so this didn’t strike me as an anti-Greenwald front page post.

            (but he deserves one…see my comment above about his twitter argument, where someone said he isn’t exactly attacking the power structure anymore, and his response was “dems, media, deep state are power”. So, he’ll keep giving Trump a pass and going after Dems, who hold next to no actual power. He’s a hack).

            • sibusisodan

              dems, media, deep state are power

              Wait, what?

              I mean, it’s kinda true, but ignores the party controlling all three branches of govt right now.

              • kped

                Yup. And most states. And local boards. Do they have power on their own? Sure. But not power to enact horrible regressive policies…that’s the Republicans. The Democrats at best can gum up the works. Same with the media and “deep state”. To say that criticizing them non-stop is speaking truth to power is so transparently ridiculous I couldn’t believe he tweeted it today.

              • Scott Lemieux

                As you can see at the link, Glenn is literally still arguing that the entire American establishment opposes Trump. I mean, what power do Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have, really?

                • liberalrob

                  A column Glenn wrote right after the election last November (and which was aimed squarely at the Democratic Party “establishment”, not “the entire American” one) is “still arguing.” Well, I guess it is still up on their site, so in a sense that’s true…

                  Or is there some other link to something more recent.

                  (Hopefully not fucking Twitter. I swear, I’m ready to argue that Trump’s win was as much due to fucking Twitter as James Comey or “the media”.)

                • The Establishment is Meryl Streep, Krugman, & Cher. They all oppose Trump. Ergo, the American Establishment opposes Trump.

                  I don’t know what’s so hard to follow here…

    • JMP

      As should everone! Greenwald is a horrible piece of shit who deserves to be hated.

  • Peterr

    Shocking research, indeed, but I’m glad this question has been cleared up.

    Moving forward, has their been any similar progress on determining the shape of the earth?

    • Opinions differ in that area as well, I understand.

    • Shantanu Saha

      I have evidence for the theory that it is an oblate spheroid, but since science says that no evidence can ever prove a theory beyond any shadow of a doubt or evidence adjusting or improving that theory, nobody can say whether it is true. What I can say is that tax cuts for rich people and eviscerating regulations will bring on Utopia, because that theory is not based on evidence, it's based on faith.

    • liberal

      Moving forward, has their been any similar progress on determining the shape of the earth?

      Given the potential confound of undecideds breaking late for Trump instead of more evenly, it’s actually not that simple a question to resolve.

      • Shantanu Saha

        Seriously, you gotta lay off that bong for a bit.

  • Ah, but of course there’s always the usual fallback position, isn’t there?

    “Well, it should have never been close enough for the Comey letter to make a difference anyway. Clearly then, Clinton must have been the Worst Candidate Ever, because how else could American voters ever even possibly elect someone so morally atrocious, so lacking in basic aptitude for public office, so manifestly and dangerously unfit to be President, as Donald J Trump?”

    • Tyto

      Followed closely by, “Next time, the *adults* will run this thing and tell you how to vote.”

    • TVTray

      Seems like a reasonable opinion, Paul! Donald Trump is very unpopular.

      • You are begging the question, TV Tray. The question is why Clinton lost to an unpopular, unsuitable candidate. Saying “the only way anyone could ever lose to such a candidate is if they are a terrible candidate” is not actually an explanation.

        • DamnYankees

          It’s also just a dumb argument. By definition, any argument of “Hillary didn’t do enough X to win” is true. She lost, so by definition she didn’t do enough of anything to win. Like, she didn’t ride enough ponies to win. She didn’t beatbox enough to win. She didn’t attend enough screenings of La La Land to win.

          What’s the purpose of making arguments like that?

          • TVTray

            No, I think a big reason she lost is that she ran a horrible campaign! And she spent the years before the election giving speeches to elite bankers that she refused to talk about! And she spent the summer before the election trying to get Republicans to vote for her!

            • Who are you shouting at?! Are you hard of hearing?! Do you need to go to the hospital?!?!!

              • Scott Lemieux

                Look, all TVTray is saying is that 1)Hillary Clinton was incompetent because everybody hated Trump so the election should never have been too close to steal and 2)Hillary Clinton was incompetent because she didn’t realize Trump’s support was so rock-solid among Republicans that her only chance was eking out a narrow win with only Democratic-leaners. Why do you find this incoherent?

                • liberalrob

                  Maybe it would make sense if it was read as sarcasm or some kind of parody…but since it’s apparently intended as a serious argument…SMH

        • Scott Lemieux

          You don't understand -- given today's weak partisan commitments, the election shouldn't have been close enough to steal. Republicans would have gone to Bernie en masse.

          • Donna Gratehouse

            Bernie was a perfect candidate who would have won the general election in a landslide were it not for the fiendish DNC and their all-powerful snotty emails that caused 4 million more Democrats to vote for Hillary! /don’t know how to do the sarcasm font.

            • liberalrob

              [it’s the “code” button up there when you’re entering a comment][don’t know if it’s there for mobile users]

              /sarcasm also works

        • Spider-Dan

          So then:

          – Hillary lost to Trump, a terrible candidate, because she was even more terrible. Blaming interference from other factors is scapegoating and excuse making.

          HOWEVER

          – Bernie lost to Hillary, who we just determined is The Most Terrible Candidate. And since we know that blaming interference from other factors is trite and meaningless, that must mean that Bernie was actually the most terrible candidate of them al—-BZZZT SYSTEM CRASH

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Then what does that make Chafee, Webb, and the unidentified males?

            • Abbey Bartlet

              LINC WOULD HAVE WON.

  • Murc

    Scott, I would be entirely comfortable if every post for the nest four years ended with “Comey delanda est.”

    (No snark.)

    • Rob in CT

      Friendly amendment:

      “Democrats appointing Republican daddies delenda est.”

      Admittedly, it’s clunkier.

      • Shantanu Saha

        I’d be satisfied with GOP Delenda Est

        • Rob in CT

          Well, there’s that too. I went through a phase of using that as a tagline.

      • Anna in PDX

        YES please Dems stop doing this. There is literally no upside. Ever.

        • liberal

          There’s no way Obama could have realized this when he appointed Comey (or Gates, for that matter). It would have taken an uncanny amount of foresight!!1!

          • Rob in CT

            Well…

            It was a bad idea, particularly because Comey was involved in the Whitewater bullshit.

            But to know that the outcome would be this bad actually would require uncanny foresight.

            However, having gotten this object lesson in consequences, Democrats have to learn the lesson.

          • Hogan

            Just can’t take yes for an answer, can you?

  • Joseph Slater

    This is such a horrifyingly disingenuous figleaf to try to justify your unforgivable indifference to the fact that the new head of the DNC is a despicable neoliberal (well, not literally, but super-symbolically).

  • Bootsie

    This suggests that losing the election was not 100% HER fault because she was a BAD CANDIDATE.

    You will be the first to die in the revolution.

    • liberal

      More interesting to me is the apparent belief around here that losing the election was 100% not her fault.

      • Rob in CT

        100%? Nah.

        Hillary made some mistakes, and had weaknesses she couldn’t overcome. Some of those weaknesses were actually her own fault, whereas others were not. She was an ok candidate, not a terrible one and not a great one, IMO. She ran a pretty good but not great campaign.

        This is not an outlier position at LGM, and a good faith reading of the blog & its comments would lead you to the same conclusion.

        • pillsy

          Right. Not stellar, not terrible. About average all told.

          But for various reasons, if she’s wasn’t terrible, and Trump won anyway, we might have to look elsewhere for why. This may be uncomfortable for people who, like Greenwald, have a lot of reasons to not want that.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Longer liberal: “Also, this argument is bogus. While you’re really saying everything else PLUS the Comey letters is why she lost, so if you take out the Comey letters, she would have won, I’m going to accuse you of saying nothing else mattered except the Comey letters, because that’s a stupid argument which though you didn’t make it, is easy for me to ridicule as obviously stupid.”

        • Shantanu Saha

          I see what you did there.

        • JMP

          Hell, it sounds pretty similar to the arguments you STILL hear from idiots trying to claim that somehow Ralph Nader wasn’t responsible for electing George W. Bush.

          • Scott Lemieux

            It’s exactly the same, although at least when discussing the 2000 election people generally didn’t pretend not to understand that events can have multiple causes to defend Antonin Scalia or Katherine Harris. But some dudes hate Hillary Clinton so much it’s now “punching left” to criticize James Comey or Julian Assange.

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              He’s basically a sober, less intellectually honest ProgressiveLiberal*, or a(n also sober) Slothrop with a thesaurus.

              *By-the-by, Aaron Morrow intimated in a previous thread that ProgressiveLiberal was sockpuppeting the Throttle Jockey account; any truth to that accusation?

              • I would say that is unlikely. Not PLs style. He will change names, but I have never seen him sockpuppet

      • Abbey Bartlet

        More interesting to me is the apparent belief around here that losing the election was 100% not her fault.

        Please tell me what she could have done differently that would have counteracted (1) the FBI; (2) Russia; (3) hyper-partisanship; (4) whiny “leftists”. Thank you for your time.

        • Shantanu Saha

          She could have announced a deal with Putin to use Russian oil to usher in a new, Socialist Utopia for the White Working Class but she. didn't. even. try.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Or publicly state that a valid context behind Russia’s intervention in Ukraine– i.e., interpretation of both NATO expansion and the color revolutions as Western encroachment — thus means Russia is totally exculpated of any responsibility in Eastern European crises, and that any criticism of this conclusion is NEOCONSERVATISM.

        • Rob in CT

          Not be Hillary Clinton is the short answer.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Not be Hillary Clinton is the short answer.

            So, nothing.

          • nemdam

            Wanna try a real answer? I notice when actually asked why Hillary sucks, the response generally boils down to because it’s obvious. Less often is some silly point like “She didn’t campaign in Wisconsin”, “She was for TPP”, or “She didn’t have a message” that has been repeatedly debunked. Rarely is there actually any substantive point since even her biggest fans agree she isn’t perfect. But given that no politician is, this is a trivial.

            • TVTray

              “Less often is some silly point like “She didn’t campaign in Wisconsin”, “She was for TPP”, or “She didn’t have a message” that has been repeatedly debunked.”

              Let’s see your evidence for this, nemdam! I’m very curious to read your debunking!

              • nemdam

                *Wisconsin is not worth 38 electoral votes. And she did campaign heavily in PA and OH but still lost.
                *She was in fact, not for TPP. The fact that the purity left chose not to believe this shows the stupidity around the discussion of TPP.
                *The four times in the campaign she had an unfiltered opportunity to speak directly to the voters (the convention and 3 debates), she crushed it. You can’t do that if you don’t have a message. And her message was building on the progress of the Obama years by being “Stronger Together”.

                But I have feeling none of this will convince you because she is NEOLIBERAL or something.

                • TVTray

                  Okay, I surrender.

                • nemdam

                  Wow that was easy.

                • Aexia

                  Not to mention, Russ Feingold ran *behind* her.

                  I’ve yet to see anyone grapple with that. You can’t blame Feingold for neglecting the state. You can’t call him a neoliberal. You can’t blame TPP or any other economic issue because Johnson actually is the straight up corporate goonie the alt-left imagines Clinton to be.

              • Spider-Dan

                1) It’s true that she did not campaign in WI, although one could argue that if the Dems lose WI then the race is already out of hand (and, ahem, it was). That argument is like saying McCain lost because he didn’t campaign enough in IN.

                2) Hillary Clinton on TPP in August 2016: “I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as president.” You’re basically just saying you don’t believe her, in which case anything she says is irrelevant.

                3) https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/
                Let me guess, too much detail on too many things, therefore no message?

            • pillsy

              Here are things that are, I think, plausibly real problems with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. None of them are overwhelming, all of them might have made a difference at the margin in what was arguably the narrowest loss in US history.

              1. A focus on Trump’s personal shortcomings and ways in which he was exceptionally unfit to be President, rather than the ways in which he was advancing stuff that was bad policy. She was faced with an unprecedented situation, and it appears that she may have chosen wrongly.

              2. Picking Tim Kaine over Tom Perez as VP. VP choices are rarely a big deal, but I think Perez would have been a clearer signal to a lot of quasi- or de-motivated folks on the left who were dismayed at Kaine for being too much of a safe and centrist choice.

              3. EMAILS! In particular, doing all the nuanced throat clearing about responsibility instead of just brazening it out. Unfortunately (really) the press interprets that as evidence of guilt, and the opposite as evidence of innocence, and it also set various surrogates and Dem party actors to follow her course.

              None of these is, “Didn’t expropriate the expropriators!” or, “Ignored one state that wouldn’t have swung things regardless.” I also think none of them, with the possible exception of (2), were really obvious at the time. This is about what you’d expect from a reasonably competent but still losing campaign–they weren’t making a ton of mistakes that were obvious without benefit of hindsight.

              • Really–Perez who was instantly called a shill and a corporate stooge five seconds after he ran for head of DNC by the leftists who you think would have been reassured by his selection?

                • tsam

                  It could have been Bernie Sanders and they would have shit stacks of purple bricks. This is a group that just hates everything involving the Democratic Party, and when pressed to answer difficult questions like “what do you want that ISN’T magic?” they start hurling epithets like neoliberal and dank memes that make a bullet proof case that both parties are the same except for Democrats who are the worst but mostly the same.

                  They don’t have a policy agenda, they hate institutions that helped shape the party (women’s groups, LGBTQ groups, AA groups), and they fantasize about nothing other than just burning shit down.

                • pillsy

                  No, I was thinking people who were frustrated by Kaine’s bland white guy-ness coupled with his squishiness on reproductive rights. A different (and mostly disjoint) set of folks on the left from the Bernie dead-enders.

                • brewmn

                  Nummber 1 is the only one that feels like it might have made a difference. I think she should have made him a joke instead of the scariest thing ever.

                  Even if he happens to be both.

              • nemdam

                I disagree with all of these*, but they are all reasonable arguments. But as you say, none of them are overwhelming and may have only mattered because the election was so close. To me, this is evidence that she is in fact not a horrible candidate, but merely someone who made some mistakes which every candidate does (anyone remember Obama’s first debate against Romney?)

                *I should note that I do think there are mistakes she made. But it was nothing major, and given the environment she was facing, no one could’ve run this election flawlessly.

                • pillsy

                  My position is that Hillary Clinton was a reasonably good candidate who ran a reasonably good campaign. She wasn’t Barack Obama, but she also wasn’t Mike Dukakis or Bob Dole.

                • nemdam

                  Sorry if I came off as critical, but that was my interpretation of your comments. It is my opinion as well. She isn’t as good as her husband or Obama, but better than Dukakis and Gore and probably better than Kerry. She’s about as good as GWB though with a vastly different profile.

                  FWIW, though I don’t think Kerry is good, I’ve always thought he was underrated.

              • Spider-Dan

                As to 1, I think when you are faced with the most unpopular, unsuitable candidate in history, you have to make it about him. It’s one thing to lose because it turns out a lot of voters don’t have a problem voting for racists; it’s quite another to lose because you ran against Trump as if he was no different than Mitt Romney. If you think the hindsight criticism is bad now, it would be infinitely worse in that scenario.

                As to 2, it’s hard to say that the VP pick mattered when the Berniemen were calling Bernie himself a traitor and sellout for supporting Hillary. Any person she picked was necessarily terrible by the simple virtue of being on the ticket of a Neoliberal Corporatist.

                As to 3, it’s easy to say now that the best way to handle any scandal is Trump Obstinacy, but you’re deluding yourself if you think that would have made it LESS of a story.

                • pillsy

                  These are all totally fair objections.

                  A reasonable candidate running a reasonable campaign is not, I’d argue, likely to make a lot of horribly boneheaded mistakes, and the election outcome reflects that. The fundamental problem here is people are assuming that Trump was an unutterably horrible candidate, but… well, he wasn’t, because the weighting there is heavily on things that don’t matter enough to a lot of voters.

            • Rob in CT

              I guess I should have made it more obvious: I was saying that the real answer for those who think HRC could do no right was “not be Hillary Clinton.” I am not such a person.

        • TVTray

          She probably should have tried to court Dem votes! Instead she tried to appeal to Republicans! Why doesn’t this piss you off?

          • Abbey Bartlet

            She probably should have tried to court Dem votes!

            Dems voted for her.

            • TVTray

              Not enough did! That’s why she lost!

              • She really didn’t try to court republican voters–the fact that she ran, loud and proud, on Obama’s record and advancing it was understood by absolutelyfucking everyone as a decisive moment in her trying to run for Obama’s coalition and not for republican voters.

                She lost because white voters who had voted for Obama were never secure democratic voters and saw this election as a chance to vote for a republican demagogue who promised revenge for Obama’s failures and gifts to black people. This is really not as mysterious as people make out.

                • TVTray

                  “She really didn’t try to court republican voters…”

                  Okay, I guess I must be mistaken!

                • pillsy

                  The last is really under-appreciated. People seem to assume that people who voted for Obama in ’08 voted for Trump in ’16 out of desperation, but no matter how much you want to bang on about the immiseration of the white working class and deindustrialization and Hillbilly Elegy, shit was on fire in 2008 and it wasn’t in 2016.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  She lost because white voters who had voted for Obama were never secure democratic voters and saw this election as a chance to vote for a republican demagogue who promised revenge for Obama’s failures and gifts to black people. This is really not as mysterious as people make out.

                  Once more for the people in the back.

                • Snuff curry

                  She lost because white voters who had voted for Obama were never secure democratic voters and saw this election as a chance to vote for a republican demagogue who promised revenge for Obama’s failures and gifts to black people. This is really not as mysterious as people make out.

                  This is about as succinct and compleat as you can get. Very much this.

              • The fact that Clinton ‘s efforts to bring out Democratic voters were not 100 per cent effective does not prove that she didn’t make those efforts, let alone that she neglected to make such efforts because she was too busy courting Republicans. That’s a logical fallacy, TVTray.

                • TVTray

                  Many people were confused by her attempts to rehabilitate Republicans who were responsible for the disastrous Bush administration! Don’t you remember when her campaign was yakking about how it was okay for Republicans to vote for down-ticket Republicans as long as they voted for her at the top, because Trump really wasn’t a Republican? How does that not enrage you, now that she lost?

                • I keep on reading TVTray’s comments as if they were written by Christine from Maskerade.

                • Many people were confused by her attempts to rehabilitate Republicans who were responsible for the disastrous Bush administration!

                  You must have been confused to imagine that Clinton was doing anything of the sort.

                  Don’t you remember when her campaign was yakking about how it was okay for Republicans to vote for down-ticket Republicans as long as they voted for her at the top, because Trump really wasn’t a Republican?

                  No, I don’t. I remember Clinton attacking Trump personally rather than as a Republican which, some commentators speculated, could encourage certain voters to vote for Clinton but also vote for Congressional Republicans. But she was not arguing that voters should do that.

                  How does that not enrage you, now that she lost?

                  I prefer not to get enraged at imaginary events. Real-life events are upsetting enough.

                • Hogan

                  I keep on reading TVTray’s comments as if they were written by Christine from Maskerade.

                  Sometimes I just love you to pieces.

                • Snuff curry

                  No, TVTray. I remember deplorables, a step (mis- or otherwise) that communicated something entirely different — indeed, the precise opposite — from the fevered imaginings you’re fisting off of over here.

              • liberalrob

                Not enough did! That’s why she lost!

                She got 3 million more votes than the other guy, what more do you want? If she’d gotten every single voter’s vote in California and New York, Dem and Repub, she’d have won by 10 million votes yet still lost the election.

                I don’t think we can blame turnout alone for the result. It’s the distribution of that turnout within a broken electoral system that’s more to blame.

          • Rob in CT

            As Aimai said, she stood up for strong liberal positions on lots of stuff during the campaign too. The appeal to Republicans was basically “come on, you know he’s a lunatic unfit for the office. I don’t expect you to become Democrats, but come on, put your country first.”

            It was a tactical choice that didn’t work out, not some kind of violation of liberal principles. She actually got some of those votes – just not enough of them and not in the right places.

            So while I think in hindsight it was misguided, I do not find it enraging.

            • DamnYankees

              I actually think her plan worked in what it was trying to do – college educated white people had a huge shift towards her. Their goal to get a certain group of people to be alienated from Trump for non-policy reasons was incredibly effective.

              So while their frontal attack worked, they neglected the flank. They didn’t realize what a huge, huge portion of the uneducated, rural white population would flip towards Trump. I find it weird people blame her singlehandedly for this though – as far as I can tell, no one expected this. It wasn’t in the polls. Hailed election geniuses like David Plouffe were going on podcasts saying her path to 300 EV was a locked.

              Hindsight is 20/20, as always.

              • liberalrob

                We underestimated the number of rednecks in the country. Turns out there’s lots.

                I blame Jeff Foxworthy.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  I didn’t underestimate the number of people who would directly vote for him. I did underestimate the number of people who would refuse to vote for her.

      • Donna Gratehouse

        Of course her campaign made mistakes, all campaigns do. I personally witnessed some bad GOTV strategy here in AZ that may have contributed to her narrow loss in this state. The mistakes I saw (and tried to call out to the organizers the best I could but I’m only one person and it was a hectic time) are not unique to her campaign. But I’m not interested in having that discussion with people who hate her irrationally and engage in bad faith arguments such as “you believe her loss was 100% not her fault!”

  • Perkniticky

    This makes perfect sense to me – but I also REALLY want to know what the precipitous drop in Hillary sentiment between 2 and 9 October was about. Any ideas?

    • Hogan

      WikiLeaks posted excerpts from her Wall Street speeches on Oct. 7.

      • rea

        Which nobody read, and which said nothing particularly surprising or dismaying.

        • Hogan

          Do you have a different explanation?

        • Donna Gratehouse

          Nobody read any of the content of the Wikileaks but it didn’t matter. They and the media spun what was in them as bad and people constantly saw headlines to that effect.

      • jeer9

        Yeah, but that was the same day that the Billy Bush tape came out and Trump only dropped 9 points vs. HRC’s 26. It’s a strange comparison. Of course, it’s probably fairly difficult to drop much below negative 55 unless you turn into a chimpanzee flinging poo.

        Many people, especially in the key states, were looking for a reason to vote against Clinton (or were uninterested in the bother of showing up for her/thought she had it locked up: all the polls said so), and Comey gave them one final something with which to rationalize their animus. The insubstantiality of EMAILZ!!! weighed much more heavily upon their political judgment than her opponent’s open bragging of sexual harassment, clear mental unfitness for the office, failure to disclose tax returns, etc.

        I wish there was something Clinton could have done in those key states but, other than being someone whom she wasn’t, the choices were few and far between.

        • It’s possible that Trump leaners actually interpreted the Billy Bush tape as “Clintonian dirty tricks”. I believe it’s also the case that negative campaign news tends to make the public like both candidates less.

    • Rob in CT

      Was that a period during which Trump managed to stop tweeting?

      Every time he shut up for a bit, the polls tightened.

  • Of course, this factors into the Bernie-or-Hillary discussion, for whatever the hell its worth, but the point is that without Comey’s meddling, it is highly probable that Clinton would have won the EC, and maybe picked up a Senate majority to boot. Whatever you want to say about Clinton as a candidate, Comey turned the election and doomed us all. Period.

    On another note, I was watching a new show last night called ‘Taken’, and there was a line in the dialog where the director of this unit made the statement that she reported directly to the president, and I was like great, she reports directly to Trump. And it occurred to me just how corrosive having Trump as president is to even fictional TV.

    • liberal

      Whatever you want to say about Clinton as a candidate, Comey turned the election and doomed us all. Period.

      But there are confounding factors.

      Maybe next time, we (Democrats) don’t choose a candidate with sky-high negatives?

      • Ithaqua

        Well, no, there aren’t really. I don’t think you know what “confounding factor” means. In order for something to be a confounding factor with respect to the Comey statement, it would have to be some other event that took place during the same week that could plausibly be expected to drive Clinton’s negatives way up and Trump’s down essentially immediately, so that you would be, from a statistical point of view, unable to attribute the CHANGE to the Comey statement.

        • Scott Lemieux

          This advice is also not very useful, because for much of the crucial period in which prominent Democrats were deciding whether to run and/or who to support, Clinton was popular.

          • I would say that during much of the crucial period in which prominent Democrats were deciding whether to run and/or who to support, Clinton (with some help from the DNC) successfully eliminated the competition. I don’t think she was ever that ‘popular’. Hence the surprisingly somewhat strong showing by Bernie.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Clinton (with some help from the DNC) successfully eliminated the competition

              I seem to recall hearing this exact claim in 2008, yet somehow someone else managed to beat her.

            • Scott Lemieux

              successfully eliminated the competition.

              How? Through what mechanism? And here favorability ratings were, in fact, very good before campaign season.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                How? Through what mechanism?

                Perfidy.

                • Hogan

                  Perfidy, cronyism, and an almost fanatical devotion to neoliberalism.

                • rea

                  popularity.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  It is Very implAusible that there’s any Good, logIcal other reasoNs, cleArly.

                • I think I love you, Abby Bartlett.

                • tsam

                  NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  I think I love you, Abby Bartlett.

                  *blush*

              • I think she artfully played the pre-season delegate game and had secured most of them before day 1 of the primary. And nobody wanted to be the one to run against Hillary because it was ‘her time’ and all that. With the exception of Sanders and O’Malley coming in as dark horse candidates, she had already cleared the field. And remember all the shit Bernie took for even having the temerity to run in the primary because it somehow took the spotlight off Hillary?

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  remember all the shit Bernie took for even having the temerity to run in the primary because it somehow took the spotlight off Hillary?

                  No.

                • muddy

                  Then who do you think this person was, who wanted to run and had a great chance at winning, but didn’t step up because it was “her turn”?

                  Seriously, we need names for next time, let’s say who these people are who were shoved aside by Hillary’s ambition, surely they ought be the front runners in the next cycle. Names, not “not Hillary”. That’s not a person.

                  eta: the person needs to have been in a position to run in 2015, say if Hillary had a heart attack, who would it have been?

                • Murc

                  Then who do you think this person was, who wanted to run and had a great chance at winning, but didn’t step up because it was “her turn”?

                  And even if they did exist… so what?

                  “I was thinking ’bout running, but I like this other person who is already running plenty, so I decided what the hell, I’ll just support her instead” is a perfectly cromulent decisions to make.

                • MyNameIsZweig

                  “No.”

                  Me neither.

                • Lord Jesus Perm

                  He’s referring to Earth-2 Bernie Sanders, in fairness.

                • djw

                  I think she artfully played the pre-season delegate game and had secured most of them before day 1 of the primary.

                  I understand it’s hard to remember stuff from as far back as 2008, but we do have some pretty good evidence that superdelegates nominally committed to Hilary Clinton will flip to another candidate if that candidate is actually defeating her in the primary.

                  Also what the hell do you think the DNC has to do with this?

              • Murc

                How? Through what mechanism?

                Clinton did, in fact, eliminate the competition before the primary.

                She did it through the dirty and underhanded method of spending forty years very carefully building support at every level of the party, from its formal apparatuses, to its affiliated institutions, to the grass roots.

                She made people like her and decide she’d be an excellent presidential candidate! By using politics! Which meant some people who might have tossed their hats in decided “nah, I like Clinton, she’s great” instead.

                It was truly vile.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Clinton did, in fact, eliminate the competition before the primary.

                  She did it through the dirty and underhanded method of spending forty years very carefully building support at every level of the party, from its formal apparatuses, to its affiliated institutions, to the grass roots.

                  She made people like her and decide she’d be an excellent presidential candidate! By using politics! Which meant some people who might have tossed their hats in decided “nah, I like Clinton, she’s great” instead.

                  It was truly vile.

                  You need sarcasm tags on that last bit, because I swear to god I have heard people say it seriously.

                • Murc

                  You need sarcasm tags on that last bit, because I swear to god I have heard people say it seriously.

                  There are a lot of people, and this isn’t a pure Democrat or leftist phenomenon, who seem to regard working within institutions as a means of gathering power and popularity as illegitimate from the get-go. Only folks who parachute in out of nowhere and take their message directly to the people are legitimate.

                  I would be very upset if I’d thought there’d been actual arm-twisting going on, because that would be total bullshit. And for the record I was incandescently angry about the DNC emails. But, well… Clinton didn’t need to twist arms. People liked her! The DNC bitched a lot about Sanders internally but I remain unconvinced they did anything about it.

                • muddy

                  I get annoyed at the “her turn” whine. Why shouldn’t it be her turn? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work when you build a high profile career? OMG she has a resume and a lot of friends, who does she think she is?

                • Hogan

                  These politicians keep putting politics in my politics. We need a politics without politics.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  I’ve never really disliked Sanders, but I’m increasingly sympathetic to the viewpoint that someone else –e.g., Al Franken — really should have ran in his place during the primaries.

                • Murc

                  Franken doesn’t seem at all to want to rise any higher than he already has.

                  Frankly, his performance as Senator has been beyond expectations for a comedian with little previous political experience. He’s like the anti-Trump in that regard. He got into office, and immediately spent many years being a quiet but effective voice for change.

                  I think I might have voted for him over Sanders if he’d been in it, especially if he’d articulated an equally left-wing message.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Frankly,

                  Please tell me this was intended.

                  his performance as Senator has been beyond expectations for a comedian with little previous political experience.

                  He didn’t have experience as an official or appointee, but his comedy was highly political, and he did have a government degree from Harvard.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Bill Scher actually made the case for him as Clinton’s VP early last year in POLITICO (which — Lord Shafer and Rich Lowry notwithstanding — is now reasonably good).

                • Murc

                  Please tell me this was intended.

                  I’m not that clever. :)

              • efgoldman

                How? Through what mechanism?

                She had some of her NYC buddies from the Gambino family make a few visits.

              • TVTray

                I believe the answer is the dreaded Politics, Scott!

              • veleda_k

                How? Through what mechanism?

                Through the vile and dishonest strategy of getting more votes than the other candidate.

            • Shantanu Saha

              No, she was very popular. And here’s the thing. Between 2012 and 2015, and to some extent while she was Secretary of State, the attack dogs in the media largely laid off going after her. Even when she was making those “controversial” speeches, not much was said about them, because nobody cared. That gave her time for the country to forget the negatives, and her activism for liberal causes gave her enormous credibility that she would cash in when she decided to run. The Republicans knew she would be a formidable opponent, otherwise there would be no reason to fuck the “Benghazi!” chicken for three years. And when she made Trey Gowdy and his Keystone Kops committee publicly look like fools in 2015, I thought she would be home free. But even a blind squirrel finds a nut, and the “Emails!” controversy is really what did her in in terms of favorability. Without that, all other “scandals” could have been brushed off as ancient history and sour grapes. The steady trickle of email dumps through the 2015/2016 winter season allowed the issue to stay in the news, and the attack dogs new “information” to attack Clinton with. Once that well started to dry up, Russia/Wikileaks stepped in to supply the habit.

              • She was very popular in certain highly populated bubbles. She was manifestly not popular in most of the rest of the country outside of those bubbles. NYS was a perfect example. In the NYS primary, Clinton won NYC, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. The entire rest of the state went to Bernie. I remember when Sanders came to Albany, and he had over 6000 people show up, in the rain, on a workday. In fucking Albany. People stood out in the rain to hear him talk before he went into the Armory to speak to everyone else because the Armory was filled to capacity. So, no, I don’t think she was ‘very popular’ overall at all. Otherwise Sanders would have fizzled out within the first week.

                • Abbey Bartlet
                • Abbey Bartlet

                  And she was very popular with upstate New York a couple years before that before that.

                  Incidentally, that’s *significantly* better than she did in 2000. Because she was an excellent senator. Because when she’s not running for office, people actually like her a lot. Because people are fucking sexist.

                • Murc

                  In the NYS primary, Clinton won NYC, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. The entire rest of the state went to Bernie.

                  Speaking as a New Yorker, so fucking what?

                  This is another way of saying “Clinton was popular among the vast majority of New Yorkers.”

                  Land doesn’t get to vote. People get to vote.

                  This post is the lefty equivalent of Republicans who pointed at a county-by-county map after 2008 (which makes the nation look really blood red) and said, smugly, “as you can see, most of the country hates the Kenyan Usurper.”

                  Land. Doesn’t. Vote.

                • djw

                  She was very popular in certain highly populated bubbles.

                  Must be some big bubbles.

                  In the NYS primary, Clinton won NYC, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. The entire rest of the state went to Bernie.

                  I’m used to Republicans implicitly claiming that people who live in high density environments should count for less than people who don’t, but let’s not join them, OK?

                • tsam

                  I’m used to Republicans implicitly claiming that people who live in high density environments should count for less than people who don’t, but let’s not join them, OK?

                  This shit was all over Facebook after the election. It was always accompanied by a “hmmpf! Take that libtards!”, as if they’d won all the arguments forever because land mass is…well I never really could figure out what they’re trying to say, except to make the laughable claim that a number of people spread out over thousands of square miles should equal more than a larger number of people packed into Seattle or Portland. It reminded me of the psychological experiments with kids, where they have two equal volumes, one container taller than the other, and the kids invariably claim that the taller one is a larger volume.

                • Land. Doesn’t. Vote.

                  Except that it did in 2016, when Clinton won the majority by 3 million votes but lost the election. So with the electoral college, land does vote.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Except that it did in 2016, when Clinton won the majority by 3 million votes but lost the election. So with the electoral college, land does vote.

                  Is your argument about the Electoral College or is your argument about popularity?

                • Is your argument about the Electoral College or is your argument about popularity?

                  My argument is about doing what it takes to fucking win. Hillary proved the point that you can be the more popular majority-vote candidate and still lose the overall election.

                • Hogan

                  Hillary proved the point that you can be the more popular majority-vote candidate and still lose the overall election.

                  You . . . didn’t already know that? And you think her getting more votes in rural New York would change it?

            • djw

              never mind

            • JMP

              “Clinton (with some help from the DNC) ”

              This is where it’s hard to take someone seriously. The idea that the DNC somehow tried to rig the primaries for Clinton has been proven to be complete bullshit, not just a lie but part of the Russian disinformation campaign against Clinton, yet people keep parroting it as if it somehow was actually a thing. No.

              • nemdam

                And the poster was saying the DNC was rigging it before the primary even started. As in well before the DNC emails were leaked. IOW, nonsense.

              • Oh, please. Are you saying that the DNC treated Clinton with complete impartiality, and that DWS out there stating that she was for Hillary didn’t make a difference in how the superdelegates lined up before the first primary even happened? I’m not saying that the DNC somehow gave her the primary. But to say that it had no difference either is frankly ridiculous.

                • nemdam

                  If you can tell me how the DNC effected one vote, then I will listen. And DWS didn’t endorse during the primary because she was doing her job.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  You think Debbie Wasserman Schultz has more influence among Democratic elected officials (who comprise the majority of superdelegates) than Hillary Clinton her fucking self, or Barack Obama (who clearly favored Clinton during the primaries, and whose preference was likely known by Dem electeds early on), etc.?

          • Spider-Dan

            You are looking at the period before the primary started, when it is implied by all Berniemen in these discussions that the only time favorability counted was after Bernie had spent a year insisting that she was corrupt.

            It was at that exact moment that Democrats should have taken stock and determined (via superdelegates, if necessary) that Hillary Was Too Flawed To Be The Candidate.

      • See my reply to DanaHoule above. Could any candidate have survived a driveby shooting by the director of the FBI a few days before the election?

        That being said, there were more than a few of us who pointed out that Hillary had more baggage than a freight train, but we were schooled in no uncertain terms that Trump was such a horrible candidate that it didn’t matter if Clinton polled only second worse, and that rationality would prevail, and to stop riding those purity ponies, and all that. But I will tell you what my wife (who is black) told me about why she (and most other black people) were not surprised when Trump won: “because fucking white people.”

        And that’s all that needed to be said.

        • Ithaqua

          What baggage did she actually have that wasn’t manufactured Republican talking points? I’m not saying the latter should be tossed out of the discussion, but is the issue 100% Clinton-manufactured baggage or is it to some extent a 20-year campaign of vilification against her by the Republicans? Because, in the latter case, if we say that this was a Clinton problem and another candidate would have been better, we find ourselves in the position of de-facto stating “if the Republicans tell enough lies about our candidate and the press plays them up, we’ll just give up and run a different one!” Which is not all that far from “We’ll only run candidates that are acceptable to the Republican party!” I’m not sure (really!) that the first mock statement is a good solution, but maybe it is. One can imagine alternatives, though.

          • What baggage did she actually have that wasn’t manufactured Republican talking points? I’m not saying the latter should be tossed out of the discussion, but is the issue 100% Clinton-manufactured baggage or is it to some extent a 20-year campaign of vilification against her by the Republicans?

            Does it matter to the people out in red America who live in their alt-news universe? For the record, I was a Bernie supporter, but I thought Hillary would have been exceptionally capable as president, and quite happily voted for her. I supported Bernie primarily to push her left on the issues.

            • nemdam

              I think the point is if all the baggage was manufactured nonsense, then any candidate will be subject to it and there’s no unique problem with Hillary. The fact that they invented birtherism for Obama and swiftboated Kerry makes me believe this.

              • Yes. That is something that any Democratic candidate is going to have to contend with.

              • liberalrob

                The swiftboating of Kerry and the Birthering of Obama pale in comparison to the decades of calumny piled on Bill and Hillary Clinton. In fact the early successes of that smear campaign (and the takedown of Gore in 2000) is what enabled those later efforts. And it all goes back to Donald Segretti, the little shithead. Ratfucking works.

      • JustRuss

        Would sky-high negatives include earning a purple heart in Vietnam or having the foresight to support legislation that birthed the internet?

        • MyNameIsZweig

          Well, duh.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Yes, because they’re goddamned neoliberals, and thus lack the sufficient ideological purity to generate the Chickenfucking Force Field, which allows ratfucking tactics to bounce off the candidate like bullets off Superman and thus run up a 340+ EV count in the general election.

          • TVTray

            If centrists Dems are constantly losing due to ratfucking, let’s find some non-centrists!

            • Abbey Bartlet

              If centrists Dems are constantly losing due to ratfucking, let’s find some non-centrists!

              Because the FBI will surely prefer a flaming socialist!

              • TVTray

                What do you mean by “flaming,” Abbey?

            • Scott Lemieux

              If centrists Dems are constantly losing due to ratfucking, let’s find some non-centrists!

              The Dems need to stop running centrists like Russ Feingold and Zephyr Teachout!

              • TVTray

                Why did you change the font for this comment, Scott?

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Because you’re an idiot.

                • TVTray

                  Can you explain the font change to me, Abbey? I must be missing something.

                • Rob in CT

                  Sarcasm, dear boy, sarcasm.

                • TVTray

                  What do you mean, sarcasm? What does this have to do with the font?

                • Thom

                  Two things about the fonts:

                  1. italics, by convention, indicate a quote.

                  2. the font that looks like Courier, which you get by using the “code” tab, has been designated by commenters as “the sarcasm font.”

                • TVTray

                  So the commenters on this blog have a specific font they use to show they are being sarcastic? Sounds cool! No wonder the kids love this place.

                • Rob in CT

                  Yet here you are. Sad!

                • This faux-naif act always gives the impression of someone who gives their underpants a good long luxurious sniff after removing them.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Where the hell’s the banhammer?

      • Donna Gratehouse

        Maybe next time, we (Democrats) don’t choose a candidate with sky-high negatives?

        She was at 60% approval when she announced and had been close to 70% at various times as SoS. But, you know, carry on with that “sky high negative” story.

      • Snuff curry

        we (Democrats)

        lol

  • liberal

    Remind me…who was the genius who appointed Comey to begin with?

    • sibusisodan

      Genuine question for anyone interested: which Democrats should Obama have appointed to Defense and FBI, and to what degree would they have been able to change the institutional cultures?

      For example, are the NYC field office more or less leaky as a result?

    • Perkniticky

      Oooh oooh oooh, I know – time travelling Obama! Before he appointed Comey he traveled into the future, saw the result of Comey’s actions, and decided to put him in place precisely in order to unravel his own legacy. Because he’s playing the looooooooong game.

      • Tom in BK

        Which dimension of chess is this?

    • Rob in CT

      A point that Scott has made over and over.

    • Scott Lemieux
      • Ithaqua

        No, no, we should assume he just forgot. You are attributing malice to L. when a bad memory combined with incompetence with Google would be as good an explanation.

        • Hogan

          Amber Phillips would be so proud of you right now.

          • Ithaqua

            I have to admit, I don’t get the reference, even though I looked her up and read a couple of her articles.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          He’s been at this since at least November, all the while treating other LGM regulars as if they were too stupid/busy sucking Obama’s D to recognize this fact. Scott’s accusation of bad faith — along with a hefty dose of narcissism — is correct.

          • Ithaqua

            Was this meant as a reply to my comment? I would have thought that sarcasm font wasn’t needed for something so obviously sarcastic.

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              It was meant as a reply, as my impression was that you were using Hanlon’s razor (and that the “incompetence with Google” part was a roundabout way of calling him a dumbass.

              Shut up.

              • Ithaqua

                You were correct, but I was using it in a sarcastic way, not actually meaning it.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        So? Your pointing that out that it was a transparently terrible idea (and indeed, pretty much everyone here being aware that it was also a transparently terrible idea), as well as any other criticism you’ve/they’ve had of Obama doesn’t count because you/they don’t dislike Obama/the Democratic Party/the Clenis family as much as liberal does, and are therefore “Obama fellaters.*”

        *His words, not mine.

    • Happy Jack

      Sure, let’s blame fascism on the black guy. The US was doing great under white presidents, but the black guy screwed up.

  • MikeJake
    • liberal

      So? HRC cannot fail; she can only be failed.

      • Ithaqua

        Huh? Was there a point or any relevancy to this comment?

    • Rob in CT

      Yes, that looks like an error.

      Hitting Trump on character got into diminishing returns quickly.

      • sibusisodan

        We know that now. Should we reasonably have known that then?

        Also, given that one of the other things we apparently know is that no-one cares about policy, just talking about policy may not have done much. I guess it’s a narrative/vision thing.

        • Rob in CT

          Oh, certainly, hindsight is involved.

          Though I think trying to focus on policy is something Dems should pretty much always do, because we actually *have* policies that might work for people.

          Hardly anyone cares about the details of policy, true.

      • Scott Lemieux

        It’s a good article, except for this critically tendentious claim:

        Clinton’s team spent virtually nothing advertising in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania until the final week

        Except that if you scroll down you’ll see that is not true of Pennsylvania, where she was outspending Trump by significant margins starting 15 weeks out. And while the claim is true as far as it goes in MI, except for one brief Trump spike he quickly abandoned neither candidate was spending there.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      My favorite part:

      the Clinton campaign did not appear to realize its vulnerability in the Rust Belt until the final days of the election

      YES, BECAUSE IT WASN’T VULNERABLE IN THE RUST BELT UNTIL THE FINAL DAYS OF THE ELECTION. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.

      • nemdam

        If Hillary wasn't a horrible candidate she would've anticipated James Comey would kneecap her and therefore would have created a bigger buffer in WI, MI, and PA. All good candidates have a "FBI drive-by shooting 2 weeks out" contingency plan.

        • TVTray

          She probably shouldn’t haves spent so much time courting racists suburban Republicans!

          • Abbey Bartlet

            When she did spend time courting ~leftists~ they spat in her face.

            • TVTray

              Those leftists should have realized that America Is Already Great!

          • nemdam

            Considering she made gains with suburban Republicans, it was a smart play. A lot smarter than trying to win rural WWC voters or “leftists”.

    • Shantanu Saha

      From the linked article:

      But only 25 percent of advertising supporting her campaign went after Trump on policy grounds, the researchers found. By comparison, every other presidential candidate going back to at least 2000 devoted more than 40 percent of his or her advertising to policy-based attacks.

      Considering that Trump ran an almost policy-free campaign, and frequently contradicted his own policy pronouncements (when they weren’t pure bullshit to begin with) 25% is an amazingly high amount. I would have figured at most 10%, and mostly on a generic “Republicans want this” angle rather than going after Trump himself.

      • Rob in CT

        Yeah, it has to be hard to go after Trump on policy grounds because he’s all over the place. How DO you counter word-salad?

        She did beat him up in the debates, for all the good it did.

        • JohnT

          Yes. It’s still for me one of the most frightening and interesting questions coming out of Trumps’s election – how do you stop someone who uses a lot of (stupid) words to bullshit through the fact he has no policies? Nine months ago I would have said ‘1. Go on every medium and run a thousand ads to point out that this man is a confused scumbag with no understanding of policies and deeply troubling inclinations, then 2. Challenge him to televised debate and hammer him, at which point 3. the public will abandon him.’
          Hoo boy was I wrong about that. Clinton did exactly what I would have done and it didn’t work sufficiently, to the eternal dishonour of the American electorate. You shouldn’t get 10% of the vote with an approach like that in a mature democracy, let alone 45%.

          • Rob in CT

            My feelings exactly.

          • nemdam

            Right. She did both 1 and 2, and therefore 3 was happening until Man of Unimpeachable Integrity decided to have his fun.

            I don’t know how you attack someone on policy if whenever they are asked about something awful they stand for they just reply “Wrong!”, and the media just shrugs their shoulders. This happened repeatedly with the Muslim ban.

            • I think that one reason why so many democrats/so called leftists, spend so much time bewailing Clinton as a bad candidate is that they simply can’t acknowledge that the willingness of a large proportion of the US electorate to eat the shit that Trump was shoveling was dispositive. I mean–I see people say all the time (and they said this about Kerry and about Gore) that it is the candidate’s fault that it “was close enough for Bush/Bush/Trump” to get in. But that’s absurd. Half the voting public is composed of incredibly stupid, ill intentioned, selfish, racist, assholes. And of the half of the population that doesn’t vote probably half that is the same people who are just too lazy to move.

              We are stuck with a country that is riven, top to bottom, by racism, stupidity, greed, anger, spite and there is nothing that any republican candidate can do that will sink them below getting 45 percent of the vote. So we are always going to be arguing about getting, what, six percent of the voters to swing our way? When some of those are lazy, sick, confused, embattled, or indifferent?

              • nemdam

                Given how polarized our country is and that all the Republicans really stand for is hating the Democrats, I’m starting to reconsider if Trump actually was a horrible candidate for the 2016 environment. Granted, you will never convince me he was good (I’m not Mark Halperin.) But an asshole who is indifferent to reality and can channel anger towards the left? In hindsight, it sounds like that’s exactly who the Republicans wanted.

                Even if this is wrong, with today’s polarization it is ridiculous to think a candidate is horrible to not overcome the incredible obstacles Hillary had to face. In an electorate this polarized, a few things to tilt the deck is all that’s needed to make a relatively easy race a loseable one.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Given how polarized our country is and that all the Republicans really stand for is hating the Democrats, I’m starting to reconsider if Trump actually was a horrible candidate for the 2016 environment.

                  I have a theory that she beats *literally any other Republican* in a repeat of 2012.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Given how polarized our country is and that all the Republicans really stand for is hating the Democrats, I’m starting to reconsider if Trump actually was a horrible candidate for the 2016 environment.

                  I’ve said this before, but not just the context of 2016 but the Electoral College. If we selected the president democratically, Trump would be a shitty candidate. Given an electoral system that irrationally overrepresents his core voters, it’s a different story.

    • Ronan

      this has been doing the rounds today

      https://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2017/march/trump-clinton-debates-gender-reversal.html

      (it’s interesting. Im agnostic on the conclusions and methodology)

      • Rob in CT

        We heard a lot of “now I understand how this happened”—meaning how Trump won the election. People got upset. There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back. The simplicity of Trump’s message became easier for people to hear when it was coming from a woman—that was a theme. One person said, “I’m just so struck by how precise Trump’s technique is.” Another—a musical theater composer, actually—said that Trump created “hummable lyrics,” while Clinton talked a lot, and everything she was was true and factual, but there was no “hook” to it. Another theme was about not liking either candidate—you know, “I wouldn’t vote for either one.” Someone said that Jonathan Gordon [the male Hillary Clinton] was “really punchable” because of all the smiling.

        Sigh.

        • muddy

          I watched a bit of the rehearsal. I think Female Trump did not seem as bad because what was clearly bullying when done by him just seemed like exasperation coming from her. There was not the size disparity of him looming like a gorilla etc. There’s a reason I drop my voice when addressing commands to the dogs. It really does come off differently.

          It also occurred to me that while people apparently found Male Hillary too feminine because of a lot of smiling, Female Trump did not seem odd. But then a lot of his hand gestures and whatnot are rather feminine, as one can appreciate in the Sassy Trump videos on YouTube.

        • That was fascinating! Absolutely fascinating. I have to stop avoiding doing my next paper (about a refugee from the Burundian genocide) by reading LGM. But everything that anyone has linked to here today has been just very thought provoking. I hate to stop reading.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Join my crusade for comments with notifications.

            • That would be worse! Then just as I was starting to concentrate tantalizing things would fly across my screen.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                No, it’s better because you can go away for a while and easily see when people replied to you.

                • Thom

                  Yeah, I would favor that.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      And had they been more about policy her haters would say she shouldn’t have run boring policy ads.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Also, one of the considerations with ads now is the media reception of those ads. Her ads about him got tons of coverage. They got effectively re-aired for free by outlets discussing them. They get watched online. “Mirrors,” her most famous ad, has 5.5 million views on YouTube. Her policy ads? Tens or hundreds of thousands.

    • Aexia

      It looks like it conflates SuperPACs with the campaigns, which seems to be a mistake if you’re going to compare this to 00, 04 & 08. Be interested in seeing what the breakdown for just the campaigns looks like, both relative and in absolute numbers.

      Also, there’s the notion that attacks on Trump’s “personal” views (racism, misogyny) aren’t “policy” somehow when in fact, so far in his presidency, these view have proven to be the most consequential. In short, Clinton attacked him on the shit he is actually doing.

  • DamnYankees

    This graph has been going around, but the thing which strikes me is that somehow Hillary had a staggering drop in favorability after the Billy Bush tape dropped. Like, a massive, massive drop. Way worse than Trump. And she never really recovered.

    Am I forgetting an earthshattering event? What happened there?

    • Hogan
    • Rob in CT

      Hogan may have it: 10/7 was when wikileaks published HRC’s speeches to bankers.

      • DamnYankees

        I don’t remember that news being that big. I mean, those speeches were utterly anodyne. And that’s a HUGE drop in favorability.

        • Rob in CT

          The opening to the article Hogan linked:

          WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton told bankers behind closed doors that she favored ‘‘open trade and open borders’’ and said Wall Street executives were best-positioned to help reform the US financial sector, according to transcripts of her private, paid speeches leaked Friday.

          The leaks were the result of another e-mail hacking intended to influence the presidential election.

          This is probably about as far as most people read (if they even made it past the headline).

          So it hits three things:

          1) Reminds voters of the Hillary-loves-bankers-in-secret narrative (translation: she’s bought/corrupt, Crooked Hillary);

          2) “Open borders” is not anodyne to a lot of voters.

          3) EMAILS.

          • muddy

            This. You can’t expect people to have actually read the information, or EMAILS would not be such an issue.

          • nemdam

            The purity left got ENRAGED by these leaked speeches. And if you were a Trump supporter turned off by the Access Hollywood tape, all you needed to rationalize going back to him was reading about her speeches.

            But I’ve been told Russian hacking barely effected the election so we should probably just move on.

            • TVTray

              Maybe she should have spent that time connecting and inspiring Dem voters, rather than elite bankers?

              • Abbey Bartlet

                Maybe she should have spent that time connecting and inspiring Dem voters, rather than elite bankers?

                Dem voters voted for her, pal.

              • She was raising money for the Clinton Foundation, whose enormous and enduring work around the world I find quite inspiring.

                • DamnYankees

                  I might be the only person in the world who hated Clinton in 2008, felt lukewarm on her going into 2016, liked her more and more as the election went on, and have nothing but warm feelings for her after her loss.

                  Maybe its just seeing her in comparison to what we have, but it’s just so utterly depressing, the choice we made. Ugh.

                • djw

                  I might be the only person in the world who hated Clinton in 2008, felt lukewarm on her going into 2016, liked her more and more as the election went on, and have nothing but warm feelings for her after her loss.

                  I didn’t have as far to go as you did, but otherwise same here. Amongst other things, one of the effects of watching so many people who both should know better persistently minimize, deflect, and make excuses for all the sexism played a big role there.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  I was kinda anti-Hillary in 2008 (but mostly in the way I got with Bernie this time: exasperation that she wouldn’t just face reality and drop out), somewhat positive on her as SoS, lukewarm on her as a candidate before 2015. But I have a much more positive opinion of her now.

                  Learning about her background (like in that Frontline special about Clinton and Trump’s childhood and careers) made me like her a lot more. The 90s have some of her lower moments (in terms of political decisions) but from some people you’d think her entire history before 2016 was “superpredators, cut welfare, Monica, Iraq War, lose to Obama :(, Libya!”

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  The 90s have some of her lower moments (in terms of political decisions)

                  Notably, in the 90s she ws somewhat constrained by being First Lady.

                  but from some people you’d think her entire history before 2016 was “superpredators, cut welfare, Monica, Iraq War, lose to Obama :(, Libya!”

                  You forgot the Crime Bill, which she got more shit over than someone who actually voted for it.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              The purity left got ENRAGED by these leaked speeches.

              I don’t suppose the fact that their leader was harping on the speeches well into at least May could possibly have affected the importance they placed on them.

              • nemdam

                No, of course not. Bernie running a dead-end, scorched earth campaign for 3 months based not on issues or pushing her to the left (the ostensible reason he got into the race) but on character attacks, some of which were identical to those coming form the right, had no effect. It is foolish to suggest that because his base was made up of young people who were impressionable and new to politics that this had an effect. Just like the FBI, Russia, and the media. Had she not given the Goldman Sachs speeches and supported TPP, she would've won easily.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Lmao are you quoting my own angry twitter thread from a few days ago back at me?

                • TVTray

                  “Had she not given the Goldman Sachs speeches and supported TPP, she would’ve won easily.”

                  We’ll never know, will we, nemdam? What I do know is that the next Dem nominee won’t be doing those sort of things!

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Bernie’s mistake was in overestimating the intelligence and dermal fortitude of vocal minorities in the American left.

                • DamnYankees

                  I’ve made this point before, btu 2016 had a very strange dynamic where the left-wing, insurgent criticism of Hillary was the same as the conservative, GOP criticism. It created an almost unbreakable narrative.

                  It’s pretty odd to have that dynamic. Like, if you think back to 2012, the GOP primary criticisms of Romney were not the same criticisms that Obama had of him. You can go back in each election – it’s very hard to find this dynamic, I think. Created a weird situation where Hillary was boxed in with no one on her side, really.

                  The problem with Bernie wasn’t attacking Clinton, per se. It was what the specific attack was. It cut deep. Whether or not you think that was justified is a bit of separate question; I’m just noting the dynamic.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  What I do know is that the next Dem nominee won’t be doing those sort of things!

                  No, they’ll be doing other previously-innocuous things that the purity left and/or media attack them for, like *being a war hero*.

                • Rob in CT

                  DamnYankees, well said.

                • nemdam

                  DamnYankees,

                  There is nothing wrong with Bernie attacking Hillary. He made many legit attacks on her policies and her record. But repeating bogus RW talking points? That’s BS and uncalled for. Especially when that’s your main argument after you’ve lost the race.

                  This is admittedly not fair to Bernie, but it would be like Hillary in ’08 not firing the staffer who was suggesting that Obama was a Muslim, letting the story spread, and then spending the last few months of her campaign questioning if Obama could connect with “middle America” i.e. white America.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  and then spending the last few months of her campaign questioning if Obama could connect with “middle America” i.e. white America.

                  And muttering about it even *after* her campaign and never really conceding.

                • Donna Gratehouse

                  It is foolish to suggest that because his base was made up of young people who were impressionable and new to politics that this had an effect.

                  Anecdotal, granted but judging from the young progressives of my acquaintance a generation may be lost to Brocialist fuckery. Thanks, Bernie.

                • Snuff curry

                  You can go back in each election – it’s very hard to find this dynamic, I think. Created a weird situation where Hillary was boxed in with no one on her side, really.

                  I don’t know. She’s the first of her kind in the US, as a female nominee, so there’s not a lot of data there (Gillard in Aus is a great example of being the punching bag for any man who needed to let off misogynist steam, irrespective of affiliation) but I think I remember reading something about party discipline being perceived as waning under female leaders ETA who are also less likely, if I remember correctly, to be given unconditional public support by male underlings or for that support to be as widely broadcast by press. It’s a common enough experience for women who are exceptional to face more competition from their own party than their nearest competition. Tishuara Jones was undone by precisely that dynamic this week.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      ISTR nonpartisan, unbiased Wikileaks immediately doing something to counteract the tape.

    • xq

      There was no drop for Clinton in the polling averages in that period. My guess is that there are issues with their methodology that are not obvious from their description in the HuffPo article.

      • jeer9

        Please do not call into question the anomalies in a customer and product polling survey that support a favored opinion.

  • Joe_JP

    Meanwhile, is it April 1st?

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1275/text?r=145

    (a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017”.

    • sibusisodan

      I thought you were joking. Then I thought it was a spoof website. Good spot!

  • King Goat

    Of course, nominating someone who was under FBI investigation for this kind of thing at the time in the first place might not have been a good idea…

    • sibusisodan

      Like you, I was very sad when Generic Democrat withdrew their candidacy.

      • King Goat

        Hillary did something stupid which could have been construed as illegal. It became the focus of an FBI investigation largely because she has attracted the white hot hate of conservative activists and lawmakers, but the political world is not designed to be a ‘fair’ place. So we got to a place where our ‘inevitable’ candidate was one under an active FBI investigation. It doesn’t take a political genius to figure that ‘something embarrassing/damaging’ might come out of an FBI investigation, maybe something leaked (or in this case indefensibly announced), but come out someway. And lo and behold it did, and so many people are scratching their heads going ‘how did that not work out?’ while an orange hued fascist gets to work gutting the welfare state. It’s so much easier to blame Comey, who deserves heaps of criticism to be sure, than to engage in the kind of introspection and structural changes to make us less vulnerable to this kind of thing in the future (because one thing you can count on, there’ll always be a Comey out there).

        • Rob in CT

          And yet, there are no structural changes that can prevent this result (party insider who is very popular with party members & voters wins nomination). The superdelegates did not make her the nominee. Caucuses helped Bernie (and Obama before him). NY’s primary is too closed, but that didn’t throw NY to Clinton. And on and on and on.

          • King Goat

            Clinton had several built in structural advantages. Name recognition. Her network from the 08 campaign. Superdelegates all pledged to her, the people running the DNC favorable to her. It all combined to make her seem mighty inevitable. Some of that can be easily changed, some of it maybe not (though it’s worth thinking outside the box about). But given we just lost to a half crazed reality TV star that was labeled here often as an ‘objectively terrible candidate’ don’t you think we should undergo that process of introspection?

            • Rob in CT

              Name recognition isn’t a “structural” thing you can reform away.

              What, you want the Dems to write in a rule that says that the most well-known Democrats are barred from running for the nomination?

              I think both party insiders and regular primary voters should be wary of nominating someone with a long track record, insider status, etc. That’s my takeaway, sure. The whole “outsider!” thing has power, even if it’s often bullshit.

              Also, Dems who are thinking of running should probably err on the side of run instead of don’t run.

              • King Goat

                Fair enough on the name recognition point. It’s not structural, so we can move it to another category worthy of introspection, the one with stuff like ‘well it’s her turn because I chose Obama over her in 08’ and such.

                “I think both party insiders and regular primary voters should be wary of nominating someone with a long track record, insider status, etc. That’s my takeaway, sure. The whole “outsider!” thing has power, even if it’s often bullshit.”
                This x 1000

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Clinton had several built in structural advantages. Name recognition. Her network from the 08 campaign. Superdelegates all pledged to her, the people running the DNC favorable to her. It all combined to make her seem mighty inevitable.

              Someone here wants a word with you–a guy named, let me check, Bark? No, that’s wrong, sorry, Barack Obama. Yeah. He wants to chat.

              • King Goat

                She had similar advantages against Obama…and she lost. Is that supposed to prove something for your side of the argument re: she was a great choice in 16 for the general?

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  She had similar advantages against Obama…and she lost. Is that supposed to prove something for your side of the argument re: she was a great choice in 16 for the general?

                  I thought we were arguing about her “inevitability” and field-clearing perfidy. My bad.

                • King Goat

                  Clinton has a track record of appearing inevitable to traditional party establishment figures and blocs but being unable to translate that into the same with voters. That she was beat by one and severely tested by another candidate that had such structural disadvantages kind of shows that.

                  She’s great at fundraising, great at networking with party elites, great at wooing the leaders of traditional voting blocs who can usually get those blocs out, but she’s just not liked outside that, fair or not, and you have to be to ultimately succeed. What needs to be done is to weaken the seeming advantage that such Coakely type candidates have in our contests.

                • Ithaqua

                  With respect to your “track record” comment – a track record exactly one (1) ONE election long is not a track record. She was hardly severely tested by Sanders.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Coakely type candidates

                  Maatha has won a couple of AG races.

                  Hillary has won one Senate primary, two Senate generals, one presidential primary, virtually tied in another presidential primary, and got 3 million more votes than the next person in a presidential general election.

                  They do have one thing in common though. *thinking face emoji*

                • TVTray

                  Abbey, don’t forget when she lost to Donald Trump!

                • Donna Gratehouse

                  And Bernie lost to her in the 2016 primary, by 4 million votes. Which must make him the worstest candidate who sucked the worst, ever!

                  Oh wait, something something DWS and super delegates and “rigging”.

            • djw

              Superdelegates all pledged to her

              And we know superdelegates would never abandon Hillary Clinton; if they pledge to her early, we can be certain they’ll stick with her and put her over the top in a close loss.

        • Hogan

          So no superdelegates and no party leadership. Got it.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      Yes, we should have nominated…who did you want, again? Generic Democrat Unicorn?

      • Alex.S

        Turns out the FBI is investigating Generic Democrat Unicorn’s campaign. Normally they wouldn’t say anything, but these circumstances are just so special that they are forced to hold a press conference and send a letter to Congress.

      • Murc

        Yes, we should have nominated…who did you want, again? Generic Democrat Unicorn?

        The amusing thing to me is that KG would at least have something of a point if he were arguing “we should have picked the other guy, you know, the not-Clinton running against her.” That might be wrong but it isn’t risible.

        But he somehow thinks that not liking Sanders makes his point stronger. That is, saying “we need to restructure the party so that it doesn’t nominate popular, competent politicians who’ve worked their asses off to drum up support!” is somehow a sensivle point to make.

        • King Goat

          She wasn’t very popular ultimately dude.

          • What do you do with the three million extra votes she got? Hand wave them away?

            • Hogan

              “That’s not how our system works.”

              So, basically, yeah.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                “That’s not how our system works.”

                So, basically, yeah.

                I think Aimai meant in the primary.

                • No, I meant in the general. She was still more popular than Trump. That would be “ultimately.”

          • Murc

            She wasn’t very popular ultimately dude.

            Among Democrats? Yes she was, and that’s all you need to win a primary.

      • JMP

        King Goat’s been pretty clear on who thinks should have been nominated – someone with a penis.

    • Alex.S

      In related news, the Republican candidate was also under FBI investigation. Weirdly, the FBI were extra special careful to make sure that they were not appearing to be investigating. Even telling the New York Times that there was no investigation.

      Also weirdly, the Democratic candidate was NOT under FBI investigation. Instead, the FBI found a third-party way to “reopen” the investigation without actually investigating or reopening it. In addition, the previous FBI-led press conference was a dramatic breach in how the FBI has handled… well, just about every other investigation in the past and future.

      Comey’s actions overstepped the protocols and policies built around the FBI to make it appear non-partisan. He was told by the DOJ multiple times to not do these things, but ultimately the DOJ decided that they needed to also appear non-partisan.

      If you accept that “Well, Clinton is the one who screwed up, not the FBI” then what you are saying is “The FBI is a reasonable gatekeeper on the Presidency”.

      • King Goat

        I don’t disagree with your points about the FBI publicizing one investigation but not the other, but we knew about the one about our candidate throughout most of the nominating process, still picked her, and then we’re like ‘what? How could something negative hit the press from that thing we all knew about???’

        • Alex.S

          The specifics with the Comey letter are big, because there really was nothing there.

          They didn’t have a warrant before sending the letter. There were no emails from Hillary clinton there. It took less than a week to determine that there was absolutely nothing important.

          The potential influence of the FBI (and any law enforcement group) on an election is huge. The reason for a strong criticism on Comey is that the FBI can still do this in the next election. They do not need evidence or a strong case. And downplaying Comey’s actions with “Eh, Clinton should have known better” gives Comey the ability to do it whenever he wants again.

          • King Goat

            This isn’t an academic paper or courtroom trial, it’s politics, and there was plenty there from that perspective. Her possibly classified DOS emails were, in the midst of a scandal about her being arrogant/careless with classified materials, found on the computer of a publicly disgraced sex criminal who was the husband of her (still!) close advisor. That’s political gold, if it came out later that Comey was looking into that the GOP would have raised Cain about it, legalities notwithstanding.

            Its absolutely against protocol what Comey did. But it’s also clear Clinton was involved in a potential powder keg, and clear throughout the nomination process. You have to figure on Comeys out there and try to pick people less vulnerable

            • There are no people less vulnerable to republican rat fucking. Any Democrat who got close enough to the presidency was going to be attacked and slimed-and investigated. Bernie would have gone down in flames over his wife’s malfeasance with the Burlington College scandal. Or his ties to Russia. Or something.

              • Alex.S

                Yep — Comey stepped into the election. He violated protocols to publicly attack a candidate with no evidence.

                He had the ability to do that against Trump. He still has the ability to publicly attack Trump right now while defending his organization, but is refusing to do so.

                Why should I believe Comey won’t intervene in 2018 and 2020 on behalf of the Republican party? Based on Comey’s actions in 2016 and 2017, why should I believe that it was something unique to Hillary Clinton that caused him to violate protocol and policy to intervene in an election with no evidence.

            • “Just pick someone who’ll be less vulnerable to Republican attacks”

              As always with KG on this topic, we run into the sticky question of “how”?

              If you were a Democratic primary voter in early 2016, what were your choices? After a while, there were only two- both vulnerable in their own way to attacks. One could even argue that Clinton, after all, had a history of persevering in spite of vicious attacks. She had recently done very well in fending off the Beghazi inquisitors. Remember, primary voters were not in a position to conjure up some dark horse savior.

              KG has in the past argued that the process of choosing candidates should change to ensure that better candidates get chosen but the details about that have always been pretty vague. The reason is that while KG implies that Clinton had structural advantages that made it hard for credible challengers to enter the race, to the extent that this can even be said to be true these were wholly informal.

              That is to say, no doubt a lot of people thought “hey, she was the runner up last time, she put in her dues serving in the cabinet of the guy she lost to, so it would be nice if she got it this time, plus she could be the first woman President, which would be awesome.”.

              But that kind of informal background to a leadership race won’t be changed by structural reforms to the party. Anyway, it’s not like this was actually an insurmountable obstacle to anyone. If it were, that would be a problem, but it’s not like these weren’t actually good arguments in her favor. If no one else was able to top those arguments in the primary, it doesn’t mean they were irrelevant.

    • JMP

      Under a completely FBI witchhunt which was very, very clearly based on nothing but idiotic right-wing slanders. Another nominee could easily have faced the same made up crap.

      • TVTray

        What do you think they would do to Joe Biden?

        • Rob in CT

          Wait, shouldn’t you hate Joe Biden as a neoliberal sellout? Hillary Clinton was terrible but Joe Biden would’ve been fine? LOL.

          Also: I don’t know what ginned up bullshit they’d have pulled out for Biden, or whether it would have worked.

          But Biden ran for the Dem nomination before and wasn’t impressive.

          • TVTray

            You’ve got me wrong, Rob. I’m as pragmatic as Scott about these things! I want Dems to win! But it’s just they’ve been losing a lot lately.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            Joe Biden had a penis. That’s enough for TVTRay.

        • JMP

          Well they turned Al Gore into a man who claimed he invented the internet, John Kerry into a fake war hero who didn’t deserve his medals, and tried to turn Barack Obama into a fake American born in Kenya who was a secret Muslim and had a Christian pastor who hated America, but Obama had an unusual talent for escaping the right’s slanders, mostly because the media didn’t repeat them credulously as they have the lies about every other Democratic Presidential candidate.

  • Dilan Esper

    I am not demanding more evidence. I don’t think it’s possible to know this, because the fluctuations in polls are generally noise and don’t measure actual voting behavior.

    To know this, Scott would have to demonstrate that the voters who supposedly shifted both actually shifted and wouldn’t have found some other reason to vote for Trump.

    • “Fluctuations in polls are just noise and don’t measure actual voting behavior ” is way too sweeping a claim. A change shown by a single poll may well be wholly or partially “noise”, which is why you don’t jump to conclusions based on the one poll.

      But when a multitude or series of polls move in the same direction they are almost certainly showing a real trend.

  • xq

    I think this is a misunderstanding of the debate.

    During the 2016 elections there were substantial shifts in polling averages over time, apparently in response to news events. The question is the extent to which these shifts measured true changes in voter intent.

    Nate Silver, for example, believes that polling averages are good measures of voting intent, and that volatility in the polls reflected true volatility in intention. From this perspective, it seems very likely that Comey’s letter was decisive.

    Andrew Gelman, on the other side, has argued that polling shifts mostly don’t reflect true changes in voter intent, which are quite stable, but rather changes in voter enthusiasm. (http://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2016/11/6/13540646/poll-shifts-misleading-clinton-leads-trump) From this perspective, the idea that Comey’s letter was decisive looks much less likely.

    Note that both sides agree that news events do affect voter sentiment. The question is entirely about the relationship between changes in voter sentiment and changes in voter intent. So pointing out that this negative news event for Clinton turned voter sentiment against her does not settle anything.

    Polls are still probably much better measures of voter intent than this sort of consumer sentiment survey, despite their biases.

    • Rob in CT

      But wouldn’t a change in voter enthusiasm impact turnout?

      • xq

        Gelman responds to that in the Vox article I linked. Yes, there should be a relationship between voter enthusiasm and turnout, but what does it actually look like, quantitatively? We don’t know. I’m sure such a relationship exists but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to predict the magnitude of effect of something like the Comey letter on turnout.

        • jeer9

          There’s a certain irony to be relished in a blog that despises the voter as consumer framework relying upon a customer and product polling survey to support its most cherished belief, especially one that shows some obvious flaws regarding earlier-than-Comey-letter Clinton dips.

          • xq

            Yeah. I mean, I think it’s a cool dataset, but if you actually read the HuffPo article it’s pretty clear they have some highly questionable ideas about politics and very optimistic perspective of the value of their own research to solving old and difficult problems. There are a lot of red flags here that I’m sure Scott would notice in any other context.

  • No Longer Middle Aged Man

    I’ve taken the view that the Comey letter was more akin to the “straw that broke …” or “for want of a nail…” than the dispositive factor in Clinton’s loss given
    –her high negatives to start with
    –her weakness relative to Trump as compared with with previous Republican candidates among some voters where Democrats are traditionally stronger. Clinton’s shocking margin of loss in Ohio confirms this for me.
    –campaign errors and not as impressive a get out the vote apparatus as we had been led to believe.

    But knowing something about brands I do find this latest item significantly increasing my estimation of the Comey letter’s impact on the election, though I’d like to know number of people whose sentiments were covered in the linked survey)
    –people who evaluate products on the basis of detailed objective measures (~ high information voters) tend to place less weight on brands in purchase decisions
    –some (many, indeed perhaps just about everyone for some instance) people ascribe all manner of values, beliefs and qualities to brands that aren’t obviously connected with the nature of the product or service in question
    –brands are often interpreted as signals of product/service quality when the buyer lacks other information
    –brand awareness often –> assumption of brand quality absent any other information (“I’ve heard of that, must be good or at least okay”)
    –products/services are often assumed to have superior performance characteristics based solely on brand and in the absence of any other supporting evidence – think of party affiliation, though it would go farther in this case
    –and the clincher for me, purchase decisions for some buyers may be made on the basis of brand even when they buyer does in fact have detailed objective information about the inferior performance or characteristics of the branded product/service relative to alternative offerings — i.e., brand beats known facts.

    Due to longstanding media exposure, both the Clinton and Trump names have unusually high brand awareness among the public relative to other political figures. For low information and/or late deciding voters, brand awareness may be all the potential voter knows.

    Something like the Comey letter could easily be as toxic as other product failure incidents. Think of the Tylenol poison incidents: even if they had been shown within a week to be spurious, the brand damage would have been immense and would have been accompanied by huge sales drops as buyers switched to other products.

    • tsam

      This does not support the narrative that Killary was the worst candidate ever also neoliberal. Please revise and resubmit.

      • TVTray

        I must be pretty dumb to keep recycling the same asinine talking point beloved by wingnut blog commenters in 2004!

        • TVTray

          I will be in high school in 2018! SCOREBOARD LIBS!

          • TVTray

            Scott, what are you doing, bud? Can we talk about this?

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Scott, what are you doing, bud?

              Amusing me, certainly.

              • TVTray

                Abbey would you say that Scott is Aware of All Internet Traditions?

            • Scott Lemieux

              Because your repeating your lone, circular one-sentence argument became tiresome well before it was used for the 100,000th time?

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                ProgressiveLiberal was canned for less.

            • tsam

              Are you ok?

              • TVTray

                I’m fine, it’s just that Scott is changing my precious posts to make be sound more like a dweeby Bush-era Dem blogger!

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man

        Perhaps I wasn’t clear. Hillary’s faults and limitations — I know your description is sarcastic, and in fact I voted for her in the Dem primary in both 2008 and 2016 — are relevant to me when I look at how badly she lost Ohio.

        The point I was trying to make was that for voters who look at politicians along the same lines as they view products — brand as a imputed collection of the buyer’s values rather than a set of objectively measurable characteristics (i.e., political positions)– then the data in the linked article present a devastating brand impact that if widespread, where widespread could mean hundreds of thousands of voters rather than tens of millions, very likely swung the election.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      –her high negatives to start with

      Once again, she did not have high negatives when she got in the race. They were manufactured after by a bunch of men.

      Ask any woman who has been the school, town, or office “slut” how that works.

  • Bri2k

    All of this Comey kneecapped Clinton stuff is just masturbation at this point.

    Comey will never be prosecuted for it let alone officially reprimanded so what’s the point of constantly rehashing his perfidy?

    The election is over. Time to move on to more important things instead of bashing our heads up against a past that can’t be changed.

    The only justice to be had here is taking back Congress in the mid-terms.

    • Murc

      Comey will never be prosecuted for it let alone officially reprimanded so what’s the point of constantly rehashing his perfidy?

      Because what we did wrong in 2016 will determine decisions made in 2018 and 2020, and so having an accurate view of what falls under “this was an actual error we can correct” and what falls under “this was caused by a coup we can’t do much about” is important.

      Here’s a thing about Scott. Scott is real, real committed to making sure people have an accurate view of the past because he understands that the narratives built around our past inform decisions we make going into the future. It’s why he spent literally the entirety of Obama’s term railing against the Green Lantern crowd regarding the ACA; he didn’t want that narrative to take hold, because if it had it would have severely negatively impacted our ability to actually get things done next time we got a bite at the apple.

      Or at least, that’s the lens I see a lot of his writing through.

      • TVTray

        But what do we do to stop FBI ratfucking? Just don’t hire James Comey anymore?

        • Donna Gratehouse

          Identifying that it’s happening is a good first step.

          • liberalrob

            Step one towards getting out of a hole, stop digging.

      • efgoldman

        Scott is real, real committed to making sure people have an accurate view of the past because he understands that the narratives built around our past inform decisions we make going into the future.

        That’s true. Scott is a teacher and in educating himself, and fostering discussion, wants to educate his readers.
        But there’s also an element of “the generals are always figuring out how to win the last war” to all of these discussions.
        You want to learn for your mistakes, certainly. But the next election will be fought on somewhat different terrain, in somewhat different “weather”, by armies with at least one different “general.”

        • DamnYankees

          This is true. But given that general are always figuring out how to win the last war, at the very least you want generals who understand the last war. Worst case scenario is having generals fighting the last war who don’t even understand how they lost it.

      • MDrew

        So do you approve of the thrust of his narrative-formation here, which is to downplay as a causal factor whatever shortcomings Clinton as a candidate had, or her vision of a winning politics for the Democratic Party had, or whatever problematic effects the (brief) restoration of Clintonworld to the leadership of the party might have on its public perception, as a determinant of decisions about those questions the party will make going forward?

        Because functionally his advocacy pushes the party to treat the 2016 election, for the purposes you describe, as one that Hillary Clinton won as a political matter (it was just stolen by a criminally partisan FBI director with an assist from Russian intelligence). You’re very right to point that out as the reason why this unending narrative battle (to the extent it’s being battled ove anymore) matters. So, is that the narrative you’d like to see adopted for decision-making purposes going forward, Murc?

        • Ok. This is an argument I keep seeing, so it’s worth responding to.

          Contrary to what some people appear to believe, there are multiple purposes to talking about why elections turned out the way they did. It isn’t just to advise the Democratic Party, its strategists, or its supporters.

          Frankly, anyone who thinks the possibility of public officials possibly coming to power at the behest of a foreign power or due to abuses of power by top security officials is of mimimal importance because of its limited relevance for future electoral strategy has serious tunnel vision.

          • MDrew

            I couldn’t agree more.

            Since the election, I have been begging Scott to do more assessment of Comey’s behavior completely apart from the debate over the causes of Clinton’s loss. Had Comey’s actions been the same but not resulted in Trump’s victory, those actions would be of equal concern as matter of democracy-preservation, I’ve always said since the election. And I called for them to be discussed that way more than they have been starting soon after the election, as soon as what the thrust of Scott’s engagement with these matters was going to be became clear.

            Instead, since the election Scott has been overwhelmingly engaged (with some exceptions) in using the Comey-and-Russia scandals as a way of directing the conversation about the causes of Clinton’s loss to go in one particular direction, in order to prevent it from going in a different direction that he doesn’t want it to go in, and to discredit attempts to take it in that direction. Not only has this been his overwhelming focus, but he has explicitly and directly stated that that is what he is aiming to do in approaching the Comey-Russia matters the way he has chosen to do.

            So if you are with me in calling on Scott and everyone here to de-charge and de-link the Comey-Russia issue from the ongoing (sort of) discussion of the causes of the Democrats’ loss this past election, and to engage it with a much greater focus on the facially non-partisan, highly-important-if-not-urgent questions raised about the health and state of our democracy by Comey’s behavior and the Trump campaign’s and administration’s ties to Russia (whether to the state or to Russian interests), I could not be more willing to join with you in issuing that earnest entreaty to Scott Lemieux.

          • MDrew

            Also, thank you for responding.

    • Rob in CT

      For one thing, Democrats need to get it through their heads that they shouldn’t appoint Republican hacks to head up the FBI.

      That seems like a rock solid takeaway.

      • Absolutely. If we ever get a Democrat in again there should be no, count them, no, Republicans permitted in the administration. Clinton reached out, Obama reached out, and each time they were backstabbed. But after eight years of Trump its not even clear to me that there will be any functioning republican politicians or civil servants–none that have ever worked with a functional administration in any sense.

    • Shantanu Saha

      Scott is a historian. This is the kind of work that he does. Historians want to get history right, so that we don’t blunder into the same mistakes we have made in the past for want of erroneous interpretations of events and the causes for those events. The election fo Trump is one of those events that will concern historians for centuries, or until the human species (or at least historians) are rendered extinct.

      • Hogan

        Scott is a historian.

        Political scientist, mostly.

        • Murc

          Erik is the one whose day job is history.

      • tsam

        I think the bigger mission of historians is to help us gain a contextual understanding of the current status quo, and help to understand the shape of things to come based on choices we can make. At least that’s how I view history when I’m learning it–putting the pieces together to help me understand things that baffle me, like why so many white Americans are so invested in racism that the truth means absolutely nothing to them. These can be people who are basically decent to their friends and family, yet unspeakable cruel to those outside their circle.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The only justice to be had here is taking back Congress in the mid-terms.

      How is pointing out that Trump is an illegitimate president irrelevant to this?

  • Mike in DC

    There were numerous internal and external factors shaping the outcome, but this has always been the most plausible precipitating factor for her defeat.

  • EvanHarper

    Hillary Clinton lost because, in her perfidious neoliberalism, she failed to understand that marginal voters in every jurisdiction in the country have exactly the same policy preferences and priorities as Brooklyn socialists

    Three Brooklyn socialists in particular? From Twitter? Who got into podcasting?

  • MDrew

    Thank you for the noticeably softened language about to what extent and who seeks for this not to be discussed because it distracts from Clinton’s inadequacy.

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  • urd

    Bullshit.

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/8/14848636/hillary-clinton-tv-ads

    But, but Comey!

    If anything, more evidence has been presented he had little effect as the tide was already turning. He may have been the final nail in the coffin, but at that point Clinton was doomed, with or without him.

    • So, urd has returned. Has the break from commenting here sharpened their reasoning skills? Apparently not.

      Urd hand-waves away the actual evidence presented in the post by implying that the lack of policy content in Clinton’s TV ads MUST have been mostly or wholly responsible for her electoral loss because of…reasons.

      I mean look, we can definitely criticize Clinton’s campaign strategies, but the idea that what this election shows, more than anything, is that what American voters were craving was more detail on policy seems…questionable.

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