Most Democratic voters live tightly together in college towns and high culture metropolises, all like-minded and unaware of the surrounding views of the rest of the country. The rest of the country has a rising disgust of the media establishment, celebrity class and authoritarian political correctness, all of which were birthed and continue to thrive in college towns and high culture metropolises. Middle America saw complete snobbery in Hillary Clinton’s intention to convert coal miners into crusaders for renewable energy. No matter if the Clinton’s were really “broke” after leaving the White House, as they claim, or that the former Secretary of State really does carry hot sauce with her wherever she goes, the attempts to connect Clinton with ordinary Americans failed miserably.
If you look at the 2016 Presidential electoral map by county, you will find a huge republican red bloc dividing two thin slivers of democratic blue on the east and west coasts. The Democrats lost the election because they allowed themselves to be out of touch with Middle America choosing to appeal to their urban leftist base of support. Hillary Clinton ran up the voting margins in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, while witnessing a loss of support in historically blue states like Michigan and Wisconsin, states that matter to the electoral system and make a huge impact on who the next President elect will be. A massive group of people in the coastal cities of California helped Hillary win the popular vote, but winning the popular vote does not guarantee the presidency. As a result, many broken-hearted democrats seek to abolish the electoral system, the same system that elected progressive champions, like Barack Obama, Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The majority of people did not vote for Abraham Lincoln. It was the electoral system that brought this great man to power in the 2016 election, it was entirely possible for Hillary Clinton to win within this electoral system. A growing difference between the lives of Americans in coastal cities versus Middle America contributed to this result.
Michael Barone, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in Dec. 13. 2016 online article in the “National Review”, about the way Hillary lost the election because of the lack of electoral support in what he describes as “heartland America.” Barone considers “the south, the Midwest and the Mountain West, as well as energy states Alaska and Pennsylvania” the unofficial areas of “heartland America.” Barone writes, “Hillary Clinton only gained a dismal 63 electoral votes in these areas while Donald Trump received 305.” Even Obama, in his 2012 election, appealed to more of the “heartland” than Clinton, with 99 more electoral votes in the same regions.
In 2016 Democrats sought to replicate Obama’s coalition from the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, which consisted of an inordinate amount of minority and working class voters. Unfortunately for Democrats, Hillary Clinton is no Barack Obama. She is not a mixed-race, former community organizer. Barone writes, the political result of Barack Obama’s eight years in office resulted in Democrats holding “fewer House seats, governorships, and state legislatures than any time since the 1920s.” And yet, per Real Clear Politic, Obama enjoyed his highest job approval rating in the final month of his presidency since his first term in office. It is a strange time in America when a Democratic president enjoys such high job approval while he welcomes to the White House a Republican successor fundamentally opposed to his legacy.
If the Democrats ever hope to go from a constant state of activism to governance once again, the party needs to nominate a candidate that has a broad-based following and start winning the city council seats, state legislatures and congressional seats in “heartland America”.