As Hillary’s quest for the Democratic nomination which once seemed inevitable now seems impossible, a number of people are speculating why she lost.
I have long believed her personality would make it difficult for Mrs. Clinton to win. In this campaign, as Karl Rove put it she “came across as calculating, contrived, stiff and self-concerned.” Contrast that with Obama’s charismatic presence, making it even more difficult for her to convince people of her ability to lead and unie the nation.
To be sure, in the debates (and some of her TV interviews–a format she had shunned in the early days of the campaign), she impressed many (including yours truly) with her intelligence and command of the issues. But, it didn’t seem to make much difference.
That may have a lot to with the kind of campaign she ran. In Time, Karen Tumulty identifies the Five Mistakes Hillary Made. This is a good essay, where Tumulty identifies only the flaws in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. There was far more to her loss than mistakes on the trail.
To be sure, had Mrs. Clinton run a better campaign, she might have been able to pull it off. In addition to her personality, I think two other factors accounted for her loss, the first related to her character, that being the issue of trust. And the second being the media.
As to this issue of trust. I’ve explored this before (on many occasions). Combined with her shifting campaign themes, her misrepresentations of her own record created, then reinforced an image of a politician who would do or say anything to get elected.
Finally, there’s the issue of media bias. Newsweek‘s Evan Thomas once said it gave the Democrats a 15-point bump in a general election matchup against the Republicans. The media tilt toward Obama may not have given him a bump that large, but it certainly made his path to the nomination easier.
It’s not just that the media helped Obama, it’s also that the Clintons have used to kid-glove treatment from the media and weren’t prepared for running a campaign with the media against them.
Would Hllary be the presumptive Democratic nominee had she run a better campaign? Had she had a fall back strategy had she failed to deliver a knockout punch on Super Tuesday and been organized n the caucus states? Probable, but not certain. For, she still has the problem of her prickly personality and the public perception of her honesty.
after Pennsylvania, she seemed to be surging. The CW became that she could win big in Indiana and come close in N.C. She had the opposite of mutnemom–actual momentum. That’s a killer! Voters were forced to contemplate her actualy (sic) becoming President (instead of worrying about Obama as President)
Let me repeat to emphasize: she lost when people contemplated her becoming president. Factors into my personality analysis. Charles Krauthammer echoed that point:
With no important policy differences separating them, the contest became one of character and personality. Matched against this elegant, intellectually nimble, hugely talented newcomer, she had no chance of winning that contest.