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December 14, 2016

Politico: How Hillary Lost Michigan

Smartest woman in the world, yo!

I think this flows from their idea that they were way ahead and the election was in the bag. If you think the game is won, you can turn to earning Style Points, like making sure you don't have the minor embarrassment of losing the national popular vote.

First error: The SEIU knew Iowa was lost, but heard Michigan needed help. So they sent people out of Iowa and to Michigan, and told Hillary's campaign staff about the shifting plan.

According to several people familiar with the call, Brooklyn was furious.

Turn that bus around, the Clinton team ordered SEIU. Those volunteers needed to stay in Iowa to fool Donald Trump into competing there, not drive to Michigan, where the Democrat's models projected a 5-point win through the morning of Election Day.

Again, this is second-order-priority type stuff (if that). Before you try the Willie Mays catch-the-ball-in-your-hat trick, you better first make sure you're definitely in position to catch the ball at all.

Michigan organizers were shocked. It was the latest case of Brooklyn ignoring on-the-ground intel and pleas for help in a race that they felt slipping away at the end.

"They believed they were more experienced, which they were. They believed they were smarter, which they weren't," said Donnie Fowler, who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee during the final months of the campaign. "They believed they had better information, which they didn't."

Hillary suffered from a lack of flexibility, as many old, mobility-challenged persons do.

The anecdotes are different but the narrative is the same across battlegrounds, where Democratic operatives lament a one-size-fits-all approach drawn entirely from pre-selected data -- operatives spit out "the model, the model," as they complain about it -- guiding Mook's decisions on field, television, everything else. That’s the same data operation, of course, that predicted Clinton would win the Iowa caucuses by 6 percentage points (she scraped by with two-tenths of a point), and that predicted she'd beat Bernie Sanders in Michigan (he won by 1.5 points).

"I've never seen a campaign like this," said Virgie Rollins, a Democratic National Committee member and longtime political hand in Michigan who described months of failed attempts to get attention to the collapse she was watching unfold in slow-motion among women and African-American millennials.

Hillary had trouble with enthusiasm, of course. She also had trouble even giving activists things to do that would make them feel enthusiastic. Old tried and true methods of campaigning -- door knocking, leaving flyers at homes, etc. -- were de-emphasized.

"It was very surgical and corporate. They had their model, this is how they're going to do it. Their thing was, 'We don't have to leave [literature] at the doors, everyone knows who Hillary Clinton is,'" said one person involved in the Michigan campaign. "But in terms of activists, it seems different, it's maybe they don't care about us."

Michigan operatives relay stories like one about an older woman in Flint who showed up at a Clinton campaign office, asking for a lawn sign and offering to canvass, being told these were not "scientifically" significant ways of increasing the vote, and leaving, never to return. A crew of building trade workers showed up at another office looking to canvass, but, confused after being told there was no literature to hand out like in most campaigns, also left and never looked back.

"There's this illusion that the Clinton campaign had a ground game. The deal is that the Clinton campaign could have had a ground game," said a former Obama operative in Michigan. "They had people in the states who were willing to do stuff. But they didn't provide people anything to do until GOTV."

Note GOTV there means actual election-phase getting out the vote-- not pre-election day agitation, which door knocking and flyer-leaving and sign-posting would be.

The Brooklyn command believed that television and limited direct mail and digital efforts were the only way to win over voters, people familiar with the thinking at headquarters said...

Most importantly, multiple operatives said, the Clinton campaign dismissed what's known as in-person "persuasion" -- no one was knocking on doors trying to drum up support for the Democratic nominee, which also meant no one was hearing directly from voters aside from voters they’d already assumed were likely Clinton voters, no one tracking how feelings about the race and the candidates were evolving. This left no information to check the polling models against -- which might have, for example, showed the campaign that some of the white male union members they had expected to be likely Clinton voters actually veering toward Trump -- and no early warning system that the race was turning against them in ways that their daily tracking polls weren’t picking up.

...

With Clinton’s team ignoring or rejecting requests, Democratic operatives in Michigan and other battleground states might have turned to the DNC. But they couldn't; they weren’t allowed to ask for help.

State officials were banned from speaking directly to anyone at the DNC in Washington....

"Don't touch them. Stay away," one person on the other end of the call remembered Clinton campaign states director Marlon Marshall saying after hearing about a rogue conversation between a battleground operative and an official at the DNC.

...

Brooklyn's theory from the start was that 2016 was going to be a purely base turnout election. Efforts were focused on voter registration and then, in the final weeks, turning out voters identified as Clinton's, without confirmation that they were.

Note that Clinton's GOTV operation partly doubled as Trump's GOTV, because many of those Democrats she turned out pulled the lever for Trump.

And while they were refusing to put money into states that needed it, they were spending like crazy in states that didn't:

[T]here also were millions approved for transfer from Clinton's campaign for use by the DNC -- which, under a plan devised by Brazile to drum up urban turnout out of fear that Trump would win the popular vote while losing the electoral vote, got dumped into Chicago and New Orleans, far from anywhere that would have made a difference in the election.

The article also notes Clinton waited until October to contact and give the go-ahead to deploy useful surrogates, like Obama and Bernie Sanders (who'd performed well in the Rust Belt).

So let's see: arrogant, high-handed, inflexible, bubble-blind, contemptuous of outside information, centralized to the point of dysfunction, and apparently harboring some psychodrama aversion to using male surrogates more popular than herself to help her.

Why, that sounds nothing like Hillary Clinton at all.

This also certainly sounds nothing like Hillary Clinton:

In at least one of the war rooms in New York, they'd already started celebratory drinking by the afternoon, according to a person there.

The Royal "They," I assume.



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posted by Ace at 10:55 AM

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