The historic upset election of Donald Trump in 2016 proved that the more one tries to deny political reality, the harder it will come back and smack them in the face.
From the beginning of the race, Hillary Clinton’s arrogance and sense of immunity from judgment infected a campaign that reminded observers of elite Republican aspirations of years past. Indeed, in the end, even old-line Establishment figures such as the Bush family joined Hillary’s camp as many of the platform planks of the Democratic Party seem like they could have been drawn from those of their opponents a generation ago.
Fake “reform” of big banks, Wall Street, pharmaceutical companies and media companies were promised, but it was too easy to see that the Democrats were really bending over backward to help their deep-pocketed corporate and billionaire donors at the expense of common citizens. The “party of the people” was abandoning its constituents economically and in so many other ways — if it had ever even helped them at all.
There are strong arguments to be made that, at least when it came to minorities, the Democrats had, if anything, kept people dependent on government and handouts and made them weaker, not stronger.
The “chickens” promised by Obama eight years ago came home to roost as voters realized and acknowledged that the only individuals who prospered under the current president were those at the very top — the 1 percent — while in the meantime, the nation’s debt ballooned to an astounding $19 trillion.
The promise of affordable health care turned out to be an illusion, and in fact, the actual presentation of it became a cruel joke; it was affordable for almost no one. Overseas, troops died as military expenditure after expenditure continued to make our nation poorer and more bloodied.
Much of the electorate was deeply unhappy, and Hillary’s promises seemed even vaguer than Obama’s broken ones of eight years ago. In fact, many voters struggled to even know what Hillary was promising, other than that she was female and not named Donald Trump.
For too many people, that wasn’t good enough. Even many longtime members of the left abandoned Hillary in the end because they saw what she had become; from a radical activist in the 1960s, she had transformed into a corporate sellout panderer to the military-industrial complex, eager to continue wars wherever they might be found, and to start new ones when they couldn’t.
On trade, her late and half-hearted reversal of her position on disastrous free-trade agreements (some of which she helped craft) was evidence that she was only backed into her position by the will and resolute mindset of voters; it was clear that as soon as she was given an opportunity, she would reverse her stance once again — likely for the flimsiest of reasons.
Clinton failed to read that much of the country desired better security and stronger borders; welcoming more immigrants into the country wasn’t going to solve the nation’s problems; in fact, it will make them worse, and one has to ask what — or whose — agenda is at work when someone says they want to invite dangerous transients from the Middle East or other places into our country and that there’s no way to vet them.
As if all of this weren’t bad enough, persistent questions about the shady connections, corruption and scandals of both Clintons continued to dog Hillary throughout her campaign and actually got worse toward the end.
Of course, her lying about her email server was just the tip of the iceberg. What was revealed later with WikiLeaks proved truly injurious to the perception of her and those of the people around her.
Time after time, what went through voters’ heads was — if she had nothing to hide, why did she delete so many emails? Why were they deleted so irrevocably — with a ‘bleaching’ tool? Why did she try to deny the WikiLeaks messages, blaming them on Russia and/or questioning their authenticity, instead of owning up to them?
The message that voters continued to get (which was amplified as time wore on) was that Clinton couldn’t be trusted — not with her own internal emails, nor with the country’s official ones. Her long pattern of lying, which had been established via scandals such as Whitewater, Filegate, Vince Foster, Bosnia sniper fire, Benghazi and so many others continued, and through it all, Hillary was convinced that none of it would stick to her — that she was composed of Teflon.
But even Teflon cooks if it’s exposed to high enough temperatures, and the fire of conservatives turned up the heat of public attention to maximum levels.
Clinton’s inner circle of protectors — campaign Chairman John Podesta, campaign manager Robby Mook, assistant Huma Abedin, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson — all felt some of those brutal temperatures and withered as much as Clinton.
For some, such as Abedin and Podesta, FBI investigations may yet determine their fate. But for all of them, their association with Clinton will prove to be a very black spot on their careers. Even if Clinton is able to escape prosecution for her crimes — which is still uncertain at this point — she has permanently tainted those around her.
In the end, Clinton’s political structure was a house of cards, and there was no way she could keep all of her supporting elements solid in the face of unrelenting pressure. As veteran a politician as she is, her baggage was simply too great and her lies too numerous; all the money in the world couldn’t save her, and indeed, there’s a valid argument that it simply made things worse.
True conservatives have themselves to thank for keeping the pressure up on Clinton right until the very end and exposing her chicanery and dishonesty for what it was. Let’s hope that her spectacular fall from grace serves as a lesson for future Democrats who may try to emulate her efforts.