web analytics

Election autopsies

Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, November 13th, 2017 - 29 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, Donald Trump, International, us politics - Tags:

The U.S. Democratic Party have had a number of activists report on what went wrong in their election. This is a particularly good one from Democracy Autopsy, and there are some resonances for us here, so have a read of it.

Let’s start with the losing candidate herself, Hillary Clinton, reflecting on the role of idealism in the campaign:

Bernie proved again that it’s important to set lofty goals that people can organize around and dream about, even if it takes generations to achieve them…. Democrats should reevaluate a lot of our assumptions about which policies are politically viable. … I criticized Bernie’s “free college for all” plan as providing wasteful taxpayer-funded giveaways to rich kids. But it’s precisely because they don’t benefit everyone that targeted programs are so easily stigmatized and demagogued. … The conclusion I reach from this is that Democrats should redouble our efforts to develop bold, creative ideas.”

– Hillary Clinton, in What Happened.

Not sure that counts as an apology, but certainly it’s a welcome reflection that we all need to do after election losses. Chuck Schumer was clearly hoping that traditional working-class groupings would work for them in whole-state fashion:

For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia,” Sen. Chuck Schumer declared in July 2016. “And you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” Schumer’s boast demands scrutiny not just because of the disastrous results in three of those four states, but because of the people it overlooked. It illustrated a fundamental assumption underpinning Democratic voter outreach: that to defeat Trump, the party could depend on white suburban voters and give short shrift to working-class voters — including the voters of those who form 46 percent of the party’s base.”

Although placed in the section on race, Schumer’s flawed assumption had just as much to do with class politics and a quarter century of betraying what the Democratic Party once stood for.

“In 16 years of Democratic presidencies, under Clinton and Obama”, co-author Norman Solomon said, “the man in the Oval Office championed global corporatization through neoliberal policies. And during the 16 years, there was a hemorrhaging of Democratic Party seats on Capitol Hill, and in state legislatures across the country. That’s not coincidental. Clinton came in, he fought for NAFTA, he repealed Glass-Stegal, he got a lot of his favorite Wall Street people into his cabinet and sub-cabinet positions, and working-class people deserted the Democratic Party in droves.”

The default position and mentality of politicians, including Democratic politicians, is that social movements are for helping Democrats to get elected, and I think that’s ass-backwards. Electoral work should be a subset of social change; just for example it wasn’t Democratic Party or election work that got us gay marriage. It was social movements that raised hell and changed the framework of the discourse.

Clearly not all of the U.S. comparators work for New Zealand. National in government did very solid work for the LGBT community in their terms in government, and could claim to have done more for Maori-government relations than Clark with Key’s multiple Treaty claims done, no Uruwera Police action, and no Foreshore and Seabed bill, for example.

Nor are Labour’s policies so beholden to donors as I see those of the U.S. Democrats.

At the Nov. 2 press conference about the report, Democrat activist Karen Bernal framed the issue this way:

The party has continued to operate in an approach that is not in keeping with the times we are in. We are in a period of social movements, and these social movements are part of what’s taking place in the larger political landscape. Unfortunately, the party still wants to practice what we call “silo politics,” where we have a neoliberal exploitation of identity groups, and chase after an ever-shrinking universe of white suburban voters, or what they call the white working class.

In terms of responding to social movements here, I see one of the strongest differences from U.S. Democrat to NZ Labour in transport policy, in which the Congestion Free Network generated by activists at Greater Auckland (and elsewhere) was essentially lifted out and adopted wholesale:

Labour adopts CFN for Auckland transport policy

Since this Democratic Autopsy report report we have seen a number of unusual Democrat wins in otherwise marginal states including Virginia.

I view the Virginia win as less a shock-horror catastrophe for President Trump’s reign, and more for my current purpose as grounds for debate between centrist Democrats and the Democratic Autopsy authors.

Nothing wrong with doing an autopsy of our election, and the temptations to compare to the U.S. Democrats are always inviting because they are writ so large in both coverage and analysis. But we have our own ship to run. And, of course, we won with an exceedingly charismatic and competent leader. Who is now our Prime Minister. Big Difference: we won. They lost.

But some of the points in the Democratic “autopsy” are worth reflecting on, as we look forward to 2020.

29 comments on “Election autopsies ”

  1. Angel Fish 1

    It’s astonishing that she might still be potentially considered as a candidate for the next election. Someone that lost to Trump shouldn’t get a second chance.
    But that said, there is no doubt that democrat voters are to be blamed for the most part. Bernie Sanders didn’t lose by a small margin, he got utterly thrashed by Hillary Clinton! I don’t think the fraudulent tactics alone can explain that difference.

    • james 1.1

      “he got utterly thrashed by Hillary Clinton!”

      You’re wrong. He closed an enormous gap, in spite of the shenanigans and being ignored and trashed by the MSM for most of the primary.

  2. Puckish Rogue 2

    She lost to Obama, lost to Trump and i wouldn’t be at all surprised if Clinton was Trumps preferred choice

  3. Matthew Whitehead 3

    Regarding the comment around National’s progress with the LGBT community and Māori- I think honestly you’re giving them just a little bit much credit there. These are areas where National’s “progress” was either forced by opposition/support parties, or simply a result of continuing good work starting with the Clark government after they ate their dead rats and decided not to oppose treaty settlements or queer rights.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Compared to 2005 they made remarkable progress. Under Brash they really were a retrograde party. Under Key they changed tack significantly.

    • + 1 yep it is drawing a long bow to say the gnats have done more for government-Māori relations than labour even with the Labour debarcles in that area. The Māori party may try to say it but the results speak for themselves.

  4. Sparky 4

    Here’s what Lee Camp has to say:

  5. UncookedSelachimorpha 5

    They should have just gone with Sanders.


    • Andre 5.1

      One of these days someone like Sanders will actually get elected.

      Then we’ll probably find out that they too have the choice of either making the same shitty compromises the centrists make, or achieving nothing because they can’t bring enough others along with them.

      • marty mars 5.1.1

        Yep – the sanders would have won line just seems so wishful, I just can’t see it. And if he did get in then the machine would have chewed him and his morals up imo. Good bloke but yeah nah.

        • Macro

          The real “action” (if there is to be any at all) gets done in the House and the Senate. We can see just how much of Obama’s programme he was able to achieve when opposed by a Repug dominated Congress – virtually nothing. Even with a Repug majority – the Chump has been unable to pass one major piece of legislation, and his hopes of a wonderful, beautiful, and the greatest tax break of all time, being passed before xmas grows more remote by the day.
          Of course the executive does get a say in who is to be appointed to significant public office – and Chump’s Scott Pruitt is doing a “fine job” in looking after global warming. And on the “education” front Betty De Vos is making sure it doesn’t happen

          • Andre

            Kim Jong Orange’s problem with passing legislation is he won’t do the work needed to forge the necessary compromises and sell it to hesitant lawmakers. Previous presidents worked their asses off to shape things into a form that could get enough yes votes. Even dear doddery Ronnie. But Grabba the Hutt prefers just insulting the people whose support he needs.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          I wasn’t thinking so much that ‘Sanders would have won’ (although he probably would have). Winning the presidency doesn’t count for so much.

          More that Sanders was leading a genuine shift in the public dialog and thinking – and being the candidate (and maybe the president) would have given even more weight to a widespread and popular mood change. A large change in public sentiment could have led to even bigger things (like a progressive congress that actually supported a progressive agenda).

          Instead the Democrat establishment thought their power hierarchy was more important than supporting actual social progress.

          I thought during the primaries that Hillary would have gone down in history as one of the greatest leaders ever, if she had recognised the importance of what Sanders was saying and stood aside for him.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Jimmy Dore (of Young Turks fame) explains what the Donna Brazile (former DNC head) revelations mean, including how the Hillary Campaign controlled all the DNC’s finances and approved all key staff hiring for the “impartial” DNC.

    Bernie never stood a chance.

    [lprent: Hi CV. As you have a login attached to that handle/email, you’ll need to login to stop your comments going to auto-moderation. Just part of the wordfence security against identity theft. Let me know if you want me to generate a new password. ]

    • mickysavage 6.1

      Hello CV!

    • gsays 6.2

      Hey cv, welcome back.

    • McFlock 6.3

      Well, it doesn’t explain why more people voted for clinton than sanders, but whatevs.

      • Colonial Viper 6.3.1

        The Hillary campaign controlled all the key posts, recruitment and budgets of the DNC during the organisation and running of the primaries. You can work out the rest.

        • McFlock

          and running of the primaries.

          Nope, not all of them. You’d be able to point out a massive Sanders swing in the primaries that were administered by state election commisions, then?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Funny how the saying “don’t believe everything you think” springs to mind. 😉

          • Colonial Viper

            The Clinton operatives would not have needed to be that obvious. They didn’t need to win the Primaries via a one sided landslide. They just needed to do enough to win the Primaries.

            Which they did.

            The fact is that the Hillary campaign controlled the supposedly neutral DNC during the Primary period, both budget, personnel and recruiting.

            No better source than Donna Brazile, former head of the DNC has revealed such.

            Not a coincidence.

            btw I suspect that lots on the Clintons, their team, their little fundraising foundation is about to come out.

            • McFlock

              You’re ignoring the point that with a 20-25% lead over sanders in the popular vote (15mil vs 12mil) they didn’t “need to” do a damned thing.

              They won by a landslide in the states they didn’t “control” the elections in.

              But even better, look at the actual caucus results. The ones the DNC suppoosedly rigged.

              Not only did Sanders win those, but to draw with Clinton based on the votes the dnc supposedly rigged he’d have needed something like 530 of the 537 caucus-voted delegates, give or take single digits.

              Your conspiracy just doesn’t add up.

              I suspect you’ll keep us abreast of Mueller’s Clinton grand jury indictments, lol

              • Colonial Viper

                The conspiracy was there.

                The “neutral” DNC could not spend a bean without Clinton campaign approval, via secret agreement.

                Not sure why this is so difficult for you to understand.

                Donna Brazile, as head of the DNC, had to pass all DNC spending decisions and recruitment decisions by the Clinton campaign for approval.

                Not sure why this is so difficult for you to understand.

                • McFlock

                  Oh, I get those bits. I’m just trying to figure out the connection between this “conspiracy” and your statement that “Bernie never stood a chance.”

                  If anything, you should wish that this “conspiracy” had controlled all the primaries: the caucus elections this “conspiracy” rigged gave proportionately more delegates to Sanders than the primaries administered by state electoral commissions. Shouldn’t the Democrat-controlled elections have favoured Clinton?

                  To extend the autopsy analogy, you’ve noted a smudge on this corpse’s left hand and a neck free of blemishes, so have pronounced the cause of death as suicide by hanging. Please, take us through your reasoning, oh esteemed election pathologist.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                A Breitbart Exclusive!

    • Colonial Viper 6.4

      thanks lprent, managed to figure it out 🙂

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago