Ever since the election, Democrats have been demanding that the Electoral College step in and deny Donald Trump his victory and that the Electoral College be abolished because it’s obviously permanently biased in favor of Republicans.
But now we learn that the Hillary Brain Trust was worried just before the election that Trump would lose in the Electoral College but win the popular vote, so the HRC campaign took money out of swing states at the last moment to run up the score in Chicago.
Popular vote victory here we come!
How Clinton lost Michigan — and blew the election
Across battlegrounds, Democrats blame HQ’s stubborn commitment to a one-size-fits-all strategy.
By EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE 12/14/16 05:08 AM EST
Everybody could see Hillary Clinton was cooked in Iowa. So when, a week-and-a-half out, the Service Employees International Union started hearing anxiety out of Michigan, union officials decided to reroute their volunteers, giving a desperate team on the ground around Detroit some hope.
They started prepping meals and organizing hotel rooms.
SEIU — which had wanted to go to Michigan from the beginning, but been ordered not to — dialed Clinton’s top campaign aides to tell them about the new 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.
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.”
Flip Michigan and leave the rest of the map, and Trump is still president-elect. But to people who worked in that state and others, how Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million votes and lost by 100,000 in states that could have made her president has everything to do with what happened in Michigan. Trump won the state despite getting 30,000 fewer votes than George W. Bush did when he lost it in 2004.
Politico spoke to a dozen officials working on or with Clinton’s Michigan campaign, and more than a dozen scattered among other battleground states, her Brooklyn headquarters and in Washington who describe an ongoing fight about campaign tactics, an inability to get top leadership to change course.
Then again, according to senior people in Brooklyn, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook never heard any of those complaints directly from anyone on his state teams before Election Day. …
Clinton never even stopped by a United Auto Workers union hall in Michigan, though a person involved with the campaign noted bitterly that the UAW flaked on GOTV commitments in the final days, and that AFSCME never even made any, despite months of appeals.
The anecdotes are different but the narrative is the same across battlegrounds …
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.
… Operatives watched packets of real-time voter information piled up in bins at the coordinated campaign headquarters. The sheets were updated only when they got ripped, or soaked with coffee. Existing packets with notes from the volunteers, including highlighting how much Trump inclination there was among some of the white male union members the Clinton campaign was sure would be with her, were tossed in the garbage.
Why would anybody in Brooklyn worry about the wavering loyalty of white male union members in Michigan? Everybody knows they’d mindlessly vote for Hillary, those racist, sexist deplorables.
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.
It’s harder to take a commission on volunteers than on advertisements.
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.
Perhaps Brooklyn simply felt disgust at the very idea of conversing with white male union members in the Rust Belt? It’s much more hygenic just to send ads at them. If you knock on their doors, then you’d have to listen to them talk back, and they would probably saying something intolerably intolerant, those hateful, hopefully soon dead white men.
… 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.
Marshall, at Mook’s direction, had designed a plan that until the final weeks was built around holding Pennsylvania and winning just one more state — electoral math that would have denied Trump the presidency on the reasonable assumption Michigan and Wisconsin were Clinton’s.
After all, why would those deer-hunting hillbilly redneck gunlovers in Michigan and Nazi Germans in Wisconsin not vote for Hillary?
… Waving off complaints during a visit to Michigan a few weeks out, Marshall explained to the room that Clinton was going to clobber Trump in the final debate and they were talking about moving money into Senate seats.
After all, Hillary had a Trump card (heh-heh-heh) to play in the third debate: She brought up Alicia Machado again!
And by the time they arrived in Las Vegas for that third debate, Clinton’s top aides were boasting about how they were about to expand the lead and pull marginal Senate candidates over the line to give her a governing majority.
Here’s the best one of all:
But there 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.
Nor did Brooklyn ask for help from some people who’d been expecting the call. Sanders threw himself into campaign appearances for Clinton throughout the fall, but familiar sources say the campaign never asked the Vermont senator’s campaign aides for help thinking through Michigan, Wisconsin or anywhere else where he had run strong.
You can’t have Bernie mansplaining to Hillary about how to win in Michigan just because he beat her there.
It was already November when the campaign finally reached out to the White House to get President Barack Obama into Michigan, a state that he’d worked hard and won by large margins in 2008 and 2012. On the Monday before Election Day, Obama added a stop in Ann Arbor, but that final weekend, the president had played golf on Saturday and made one stop in Orlando on Sunday, not having been asked to do anything else.
Hey it was November and Obama was running out of days to play golf before winter.
People who asked for Vice President Joe Biden to come in were told that top Clinton aides weren’t clearing those trips.
Biden’s okay … for a white male. But he’s a white male. Aren’t they going extinct soon?
… When top aides to the Trump campaign mapped out the best-case scenarios for election night, they always fell short of 270, and Michigan was always the state that they couldn’t see a way through.
Trump’s last stop of the election was a massive rally in Michigan that went on past midnight, his campaign homing in on Trump’s chances there largely from nervousness it sensed coming out of Brooklyn.
Walking out at the end, Trump turned to his running mate, Mike Pence, almost confused: “This doesn’t feel like second place,” he said, according to a person familiar with the conversation.