Whenever a party loses a presidential election, there is an attempt to understand the reasons behind the loss. As my friend Doug Hoff has argued, these generally fall into three categories:
- Didn’t energize base;
- Didn’t appeal to middle;
A few of my friends and I tried to brainstorm what a Democratic loss in 2016 might look like by trying to imagine the postmortem. Most of them fell into category (1), but they did not really seem plausible at all if Hillary wins the nominations. And they were only a little more plausible for Bernie given that he increasingly seems to be up against Trump or Cruz rather than Marco or Jeb. We had a few more from category (2), but they still did not seem very likely.
In short, we were managing to talk ourselves into believing that November was a done deal!
And then Carlos Yu proposed this from category (3):
“The new financial crisis, although originating overseas, rapidly made itself felt in the opinions of the American electorate. The candidate’s statements on the need for radical action alienated many Democratic moderates, while the candidate’s willingness to work with Wall Street to contain the crisis alienated much of the party’s leftward-leaning base. The Republican, on the other hand, communicated a single forceful solution which, although unfeasible, energized his base.”