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The Blame Comey Movement

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-4-49-34-pmThere is a big rush from commentators on all sides to blame Jim Comey for the election result. And while normally I’m happy to blame Comey for things, I’m not convinced we have data to support that claim here, at least not yet.

The claim comes from two places. First, this description of how Trump’s analysts responded after discovering rural whites were voting at higher rates than expected.

Trump’s analysts had detected this upsurge in the electorate even before FBI Director James Comey delivered his Oct. 28 letter to Congress announcing that he was reopening his investigation into Clinton’s e-mails. But the news of the investigation accelerated the shift of a largely hidden rural mass of voters toward Trump.

Inside his campaign, Trump’s analysts became convinced that even their own models didn’t sufficiently account for the strength of these voters. “In the last week before the election, we undertook a big exercise to reweight all of our polling, because we thought that who [pollsters] were sampling from was the wrong idea of who the electorate was going to turn out to be this cycle,” says Matt Oczkowski, the head of product at London firm Cambridge Analytica and team leader on Trump’s campaign. “If he was going to win this election, it was going to be because of a Brexit-style mentality and a different demographic trend than other people were seeing.”

Trump’s team chose to focus on this electorate, partly because it was the only possible path for them. But after Comey, that movement of older, whiter voters became newly evident. It’s what led Trump’s campaign to broaden the electoral map in the final two weeks and send the candidate into states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan that no one else believed he could win (with the exception of liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, who deemed them “Brexit states”). [my emphasis]

And from this letter from Hillary’s pollster Navin Nayak.

We believe we lost this election in the last week. Comey’s letter in the last 11 days of the election both helped depress our turnout and also drove away some of our critical support among college-educated white voters — particularly in the suburbs. We also think Comey’s 2nd letter, which was intended to absolve Sec. Clinton, actually helped to bolster Trump’s turnout.

Navak is presumably the same person who missed the surge in rural areas that Trump was seeing, and therefore partly responsible for Clinton’s belated attention to MI and WI. No matter what caused surges in Trump’s support, not responding to it was a key reason for Hillary’s loss. So Navak has a big incentive to blame others.

After saying everything was going swimmingly in early turnout (without noting low African American turnout in that early vote), Navak tells this story about the last week.

But then everything changed in the last week.

Voters who decided in the last week broke for Trump by a larger margin (42-47). These numbers were even more exaggerated in the key battleground states.

There are two major events that happened in the last week:

Director Comey released his first letter 11 days out from the election, which likely helped to depress turnout among Hillary’s supporters. It made Sec. Clinton’s e-mail the focus of the campaign for half the remaining 10 days.

After seeing record early vote numbers, there was a significant drop in Election Day turnout, particularly among Hillary supporters, and this was noticeable in both larger cities such as Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, Milwaukee, Detroit and the suburbs surrounding these and other cities.

The two days before Election Day, Director Comey released a 2nd letter, which energized Trump supporters. [emphasis original]

What these two pieces — from Trump’s data analyst and Hillary’s pollster — suggest is a correlation between the Comey letter and Trump’s improved chances. But there’s no proof of causation — certainly not that Comey is the primary explanation.

Iscreen-shot-2016-11-11-at-5-21-22-pmn fact, temporally, the correlation is not perfect. Trump’s analysts say the trend started before the Comey letter. This was a weird election, but it is still highly unlikely that a letter released on October 28 can entirely explain a trend that started before October 28.

Navak is a lot squishier on timing. He says the trend happened in the last week. But of course, the letter (and the blizzard of press coverage) came out earlier than that. Precisely when did he see things start going south? He doesn’t say in his email but if it was really just the last week, then that timing doesn’t make sense either.

Then there’s the other detail that Navak does tell us: the move away from Hillary happened more in the “key battleground states.” That got me wondering why voters in key battleground states would be more responsive to Comey’s letter than voters in red or blue states.

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-5-32-21-pmWhen I raised this on Twitter, a lot of people said swing state residents would be more bombarded with discussions about emails in the last two weeks. But aside from people who went to a Trump rally (which is admittedly thousands of people, though presumably hard core Trump supporters more than late deciders), they wouldn’t necessarily have. Trump’s final ad, which was very good and pretty reminiscent of Obama’s election ads, only referred to the emails once (albeit right at the beginning, just 5 seconds in), and even then only visually, appearing as Trump said “corrupt.” The emails were just one part of Trump’s larger narrative about a corrupt establishment. The rest of Trump’s ad played to economic anxieties, with dog whistles to anti-Semitism and xenophobia, but not the aggressive ones you’d see in his rallies.

Hillary’s final ad meanwhile (at the same link), was far weaker, basically just saying Trump is a dick but without naming him. So for those who decided based  on the content of these ads (I personally didn’t see many super PAC ads, though they may be a factor), the emails probably weren’t the deciding factor, the quasi-empowering message probably was more likely to have been.

And look at the data, above, from Nate Silver’s analysis. It is absolutely true that late-deciding voters in WI, MI, IA, PA, and FL went disproportionately for Trump. They did too in UT, which is unsurprising, but which is also a useful example because it suggests one of the other things people were doing in the last week: Deciding whether to vote a third party candidate, Evan McMullin, or not. Indeed, polling averages show that Trump’s late surge nationally came in conjunction with what was a longer, slower slide in Gary Johnson’s support. I think it’s possible that the emails affected people’s decision to vote third party or even among Republicans who might have voted for Hillary. But one thing that appears to partly explain Trump’s rise at the end is just a very typical decision among people who consider voting third party to in the end support the major candidate. Remember, too, that Trump’s aides had finally gotten him onto a script for these last days, so he was saying and doing fewer offensive things just as these late deciders decided.

Finally, look at those other swing states. In OH, the difference was much smaller. In NV, later breakers actually broke for Hillary. In GA that was even more pronounced.

Perhaps most interesting of all, however, is VA. VA — especially its northern suburbs where Hillary got most of her support — is packed with security clearance holders, precisely the kind of people who’ve expressed the most exasperation about a perceived double standard in the treatment of Hillary. Perhaps that sentiment, which I’ve seen expressed by individuals in a number of places — is overstated. Maybe some clearance holders who also understand overclassification aren’t as bugged by the email scandal as others. In any case, in VA, the state that probably has a higher chunk of clearance holders than any other, broke slightly for Hillary after the Comey letters. Why would Virginians treat the Comey letter so much differently than Wisconsonites and Michiganders?

One final thing. In the days after the first Comey letter, polls actually asked how much it would influence voters’ decision. One poll showed as many undecided voters saying it made no difference as those who said it did.

Thirty-nine percent of voters said the additional review of emails in the Clinton case had no bearing on their vote in November, while 33 percent it made them much less likely to vote for Clinton.

But most of those voters are already aligned against Clinton. Nearly two-thirds of Trump voters, 66 percent, said it makes them much less likely to vote against Clinton.

Among the small pocket of undecided voters remaining, 42 percent said it made them less likely to vote for Clinton, including 30 percent who said it made them much less likely to vote for her. But just as many, 41 percent, said it makes no difference either way.

In others, there was a bigger difference, even affecting Clinton supporters.

An ABC/Washington Post tracking survey released Sunday, conducted both before and after Comey’s letter was made public on Friday, found that about one-third of likely voters, including 7 percent of Clinton supporters, said the new e-mail revelations made them less likely to support the former secretary of state.

The poll found that Clinton received support from 46 percent of likely voters to Trump’s 45 percent, suggesting the race is a toss-up. That contrasts with the 12-point advantage that Clinton held in the same poll a week ago. Trump’s numbers have crept up, in part, as more Republicans have gotten behind their candidate.

A CBS tracking poll of likely voters in battleground states — the 13 states that could swing the Nov. 8 election — released on Sunday found that among voters overall, 71 percent say it either won’t change their thinking, or in some cases, they had already voted.

I’m not aware of any polls that asked about this after Comey’s second letter (and I’m somewhat baffled about how it could energize Trump voters in the way Navak claims), so it’s unclear how these numbers moved after she was re-exonerated.

The election was incredibly close. So if those 7% of Hillary voters who, the weekend after the first Comey letter, considered his announcement significant enough that it might decide their vote instead decided to stay home, it may well have been decisive. But we don’t have that data yet.

Let me close by emphasizing what I am not saying. I am not saying the email scandal didn’t affect the election at all. I am not saying that the press’ disproportionate coverage of it as opposed to Trump’s own corruption didn’t affect the election. Nor am I saying that the Comey letter definitively did not affect the election.

Rather, I’m just saying we don’t have proof that a somewhat inexact correlation between Trump’s late surge and the Comey letter was the cause of his late surge. I’m happy to be convinced otherwise. But right now I’m not seeing it.

Update: This David Plouffe analysis is worth reading in the context of this post for two reasons. First, he notes that Gary Johnson lost support primarily among his older supporters, but his younger supporters stayed with him. This means that his decline likely was tied to a Trump increase, and what remained did hurt Hillary disproportionately.

And here’s what he says about Comey.

JAMES COMEY From the last debate until Election Day, the dominant news was the F.B.I. and Mrs. Clinton’s emails along with a drumbeat of daily WikiLeaks dumps. Postelection research will help shed light here, but the small number of undecided voters at the end should have broken at least equally based on their demographic and voting history. If exit polls are accurate, they moved to Mr. Trump much more than to Mrs. Clinton in certain battleground states, and it’s quite possible the shadow created by the F.B.I. director was the major culprit. Oct. 19, the day of the final debate, was a long 20 days to Nov. 8, and the atmosphere was far from ideal for the Democratic candidate.

Update: On Twitter, Jamison Foser explained why the second letter would invigorate Trump’s supporters: because it fed the narrative that Hillary is corrupt and always gets away with it. That makes sense.

Another person pointed out that the differential impact in VA may be due to Tim Kaine’s influence, which is also a good explanation.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

41 replies
  1. rollotomasi says:

    I think you are spot-on about the “Comey effect.”

    To me, the Obamacare premium increases announced < two weeks before the election were a much bigger factor in any late Trump surge.  A conservative friend (retired, but less than medicare-eligible age) with whom I’ve had fairly civil political discussions in the past literally got in my face the night before the election: he had just received notice of about a 30% increase in his premiums.  I thought this was kind of funny because I never have liked it much without a public option and with all the Rube Goldberg corporate stuff, but I defended it to some extent by reminding him that such double-digit annual increases were occurring long before Obamacare.

    There was some discussion that the government should have waited to disclose the increases, but this would have been impossible with 2017 open enrollment starting November 1.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I had some complaints about premium increases as well. It’s surprisingly not part of what Democrats want to comment on, but you’re right it may well have been a factor. Trump’s voters’ most important demand is overturning obamacare.

  2. Bmaz says:

    Proof? No. Of course not. There is no way to “prove” it. There never will be. But soft selling Comey’s complicity is ridiculous.

  3. A Bermudez says:

    Berners Vendetta, in the primaries they had over a million and a half votes in MI,WI and PA. After Comey’s first letter they were motivated to stay home, after the second they were motivated to vote for Trump. The small margin in those blue states makes me think about how easily 10 to 12 percent of those votes could have covered the difference. Now the are asking for an apology because they say they were right.

    On the other side, the first letter help Trump to motivate his supporters, the second one enraged them and that was more of a motivation factor to vote for Trump.

  4. lefty665 says:

    “After seeing record early vote numbers, there was a significant drop in Election Day turnout” How much of this is simple displacement of voters from election day to early voting?  To the extent that happened it lessens the case for a Comey effect and has to be factored out of the analysis.

    Kaine and longtime Clinton buddy Gov. McAuliffe moved heaven, earth and the DPVA to deliver the state for Hillary, and they did. The most recent statewide elections, McAuliffe and Mark Warner’s Senate race have turned out closer than the polls predicted. Warner’s dramatically so, but the Dems still won. Hillary’s margin was much larger than Warner’s in ’14. Think you’re right, VA doesn’t tell us much. It’s the rust belt states and places like FL that actually flipped where the data can tell the tale, whatever it is.

     

  5. Bitter Angry Drunk says:

    With the popular vote that close, most anything could have made some difference (at least anything more significant than the minuscule number of Jill Stein votes). But I think most — as in, virtually all — who voted Trump had their minds made up. They already hated Hillary (for reasons real and imagined), and they already didn’t care about Trump not paying taxes/pussy-grabbing. Comey’s announcement might have done a little more to depress the Hillary vote, but even there, it’s debatable. It’s a disturbing move by him, no doubt, but don’t kid yourself — the utter indifference of the Hillary campaign to all the suffering out there was clearly the No. 1 factor in the election outcome.

  6. John Skelly says:

    Please he took the last 11 days of her campaign away.Her,Obama,Sanders etc were going to storm the country and lock this up,instead she had to answer questions about emails. Leaving Trump to campaign by himself. Alpha dogs,and sexism steal another!

    • emptywheel says:

      She did storm the country. Went to AZ, instead of WI.

      THat will actually help Dems in 2020, if we survive that long. But Hillary made a great number of terrible decisions in the last week that Comey was not involved with.

       

  7. Curious says:

    I thought the following was pretty damning, and afaik this wasn’t even from the email scandal. An old audio tape of Hillary afaik commenting on Hamas and elections:

    “I do not think we should push for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake. And, if we’re going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who is going to win.”

    http://observer.com/2016/10/2006-audio-emerges-of-hillary-clinton-proposing-rigging-palestine-election/

  8. bloopie2 says:

    It’s the plane crash effect. Lots of little things adding up, unexpectedly and rarely. AKA the Swiss cheese effect–all the holes line up. And it took a smart (you can’t dispute that) showman to pull it all together–a modern day Harold Hill (the ‘Music Man’). Watch that show again, then you will see (realize) how gullible was the electorate and how easy it was to sway them.
    The Music Man won the Tony for best musical almost 60 years ago. Have we learned nothing since then?

  9. Bob Pashka says:

    Hillary has no one but herself to blame for her loss. She had all the MSM backing her as well as all the Wall st. money and the so called stars from Hollywood and musicians, sports stars and every university in the country. She had all that and she blew it. Even now people are blaming sexism for her loss. Obama actually said that any man that didn’t vote for her was sexist. We’re we supposed to elect her just because she is a woman? That is ridiculous. I believe she lost because she ran a really weak campaign. She had to have a better reason to want Americans to vote for her than just being female.

  10. laura says:

    I believe the election came down to a desire for a big, strong white Daddy. Sadly, history shows what you get when “strength” equls authoritarianism and that slips into totalitarianism and consolidation of power focuses on the maintenance of that power and who suffers and becomes the anvil in which that power is pounded out.
    Francisco Franco, no longer dead and living on 5th Avenue.
    Or so it seems to me.

    • lefty665 says:

      Women supported Hillary by twelve percentage points,  the same spread by which men supported Trump. There are more female voters than male so she came out ahead in the gender wars. Misandry triumphed over misogyny simply by weight of numbers. The causes of Hillary’s loss lie elsewhere.

      Hiding behind misogyny and not recognizing what a gender independent, stereotypically neolib Dem elitist, bad candidate Hillary was begs the question. Worse, it obstructs understanding why Dem candidates everywhere, both male and female, lost in addition to Hillary. One of the very few bright spots was a woman, Tammy Duckworth.

      If Dems fail to gain insight and change their neolib elitist spots they are condemned to continue the string of electoral failures, national, state and local, that have been the norm, with scattered exceptions, since ’88. Presidential elections have split 4-4 in that post Reagan era.

      With each failure Dems become increasingly less relevant to the American political scene as the number of seats and elected positions they hold shrinks. Hillary was just the tip of the iceberg. Think “Ground Hog Day” meets “Titanic” with the Dem party as Titanic shrinking with each repeat until it is just a toy boat foundering on the ice of neolib elitist failure.

      When striving to explain campaign losses it is more useful to look at the candidate than the voters, however deplorable some of them may be.

      2016 voting stats: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/behind-trumps-victory-divisions-by-race-gender-education/

  11. Bay State Librul says:

    Great discussion

    You have to give credit to Michael Moore who predicted the “black swan”  event in August.

    His five reasons go thusly
    Midwest Math, or Welcome to Our Rust Belt Brexit.
    The Last Stand of the Angry White Man.
    The Hillary Problem.
    The Depressed Sanders Vote.
    The Jesse Ventura Effect.

    The Comey letter had an effect, I believe, but it sounds like an excuse

     

     

  12. harpie says:

    Update: On Twitter, Jamison Foser explained why the second letter would invigorate Trump’s supporters: because it fed the narrative that Hillary is corrupt and always gets away with it. That makes sense.

    I don’t know if this is the only thing Clinton said about it today, but:
    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/hillary-clinton-comey-letters-defeat-231280
    Clinton told participants that the campaign’s data saw her numbers plunge after the first letter, then rebounded. But the second letter, she said, awakened Donald Trump’s voters.

    • harpie says:

      More on this meeting from Amy Chozick [NYT]:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/13/us/politics/hillary-clinton-james-comey.html

      “There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a donor who relayed the remarks. […] 

      Her campaign said the seemingly positive outcome had only hurt it with voters who did not trust Mrs. Clinton and were receptive to Mr. Trump’s claims of a “rigged system.” In particular, white suburban women who had been on the fence were reminded of the email imbroglio and broke decidedly in Mr. Trump’s favor, aides said. […]

       

  13. bevin says:

    Maybe, in their desperate search for the culprit and the cause of their discomfort, the democrats will pass a mirror.

  14. A Bermudez says:

    The second Comey letter to congress(Nov 6) cleared Hillary and MI was 79/21, WI 83/16 and PA 77/23 all for Hillary. In the final week WI went for Trump 50/39, PA 54/34, WI 59/30 according to Nate Silver at 538.
    Hillary lost PA,MI,WI, by around 109,000 votes. Sanders Primary votes was around 1,765,000 in those States. If only 10%(176,500) of Sanders votes went to Trump, any other candidate or stayed home clearly explains why Hillary lost MI, PA and WI and the election. I’m using 10% but could be as high as 25 or 30% to cover FL and NC.

    MI Sanders primary votes 600,000(.10) = 60,000 Hillary lost by 13,000
    PA Sanders primary votes 732,000(.10) = 73,200 Hillary lost by 69,000
    WI Sanders primary votes 433,000(.10) = 43,300 Hillary lost by 27,000

    46 electoral votes lost, first black president legacy lost, first woman president lost, protection for minorities lost and much more. If that was the plan it worked perfectly. And they are asking for an apology?

    @AlGiordano Bernie and Jane are so enthralled, so energized by Trump’s win. It reveals so much about their character, or lack thereof.
    Eric Boehlert [email protected] 15h15 hours ago
    and yes she was still comfortably ahead in WI, MI, PA polls post-Comey

  15. jerryy says:

    Blaming Jim Comey also blithely overlooks the impact from the Nevada Democratic Party primary.

    If you recall, essentially the party chairperson came into the main room where the vote tallying and politicking was happening, took a perfunctory look around and immediately declared Hillary Clinton ‘The Winner’. The Independents/Non-Affiliated saw this as the same ‘ol corrupt machine politics that they oppose. The impact of this would not automatically cause them to vote for D. Trump, it would turn them off from supporting Sec. Clinton.

    But for D. Trump to get the reported numbers of votes, a lot of women had to, not just not vote for Sec, Clinton (i.e. vote for another candidate or skip that race on the ballot), but to actively vote for him. According to various sources, these are affluent, educated, and at least moderately informed people. These are people that would have had to face the various glass ceilings that voting for him are presumed to continue. It does not make a lot of sense even allowing for Stockholm Syndrome / Running-back-into-the-burning-barn-you-were-pulled-out-of types of effects. Has there been much done in the way of vote auditing?

  16. bevin says:

    A Bermudez “..Hillary lost PA,MI,WI, by around 109,000 votes. Sanders Primary votes was around 1,765,000 in those States. If only 10%(176,500) of Sanders votes went to Trump, any other candidate or stayed home clearly explains why Hillary lost MI, PA and WI and the election. I’m using 10% but could be as high as 25 or 30% to cover FL and NC…”
    That is what happens when you cheat voters, they get angry and some stay so angry that they refuse to vote for you again. Ordinary people aren’t clever enough to realise that elections are merely games and that they are only required to follow the orders relayed to them through the media. Some of them are so dumb that they think -I know its quaint but- that their votes should be counted honestly and that people who fiddle elections should be sent to jail.
    And that voting for anyone else to keep the cheats out of office is almost a civic duty.
    But don’t worry about it: that glass ceiling may still be intact but the chances of being fried in a nuclear holocaust are greatly diminished and the people of Syria will sleep easier knowing that another wave of al qaeda is not about to be unloosed on them.
    Its a pity they didn’t hold an election in Libya-Hillary has great voter recognition there.

  17. joejoejoe says:

    James Fallows has written about the application of OODA loops — observe, orient, decide, act — from military action to politics. OODA loops unfold in real time and repeat endlessly. In an adversarial situation, you want to get inside your opponent’s OODA loop so that they can’t take decisive action. The Clinton campaign was reactive and slow and never took the most important action — securing enough electoral votes to win.

    Blaming Comey, racism, the media, fear, voter purges — these are observations and orient the campaign inside a situation. But so what? What action do you take to get in front of your problems? The Clinton campaign is responsible for acting. Blaming your failure on observations about Comey is another way of saying you weren’t good enough at your job to overcome the situation at hand.

  18. Evangelista says:

    Hillary did not lose the election for the Comey Letter, or any reaction to the content of that letter. Hillary had already lost the election at the point the Comey Letter came out. If she seemed to you (general you) to not have lost already at that point in the election the reason is your (general) having put faith in the propaganda that was being provided by the Media, and everyone around us all who blindered themselves and strove to blinder all others. The reaction against Hillary’s blatantly apparent political pandering, hypocrisy and dishonesty was already set before Comey presented his letter. It was set, in part, by Comey’s overstepping his office to define Hillary not guilty where guilt was obvious when he closed the investigation, that he did not have legitimate authority to close, the first time.

    All Comey did with his letter re-opening was provide Hillary supporters a side-step, a straw to grasp to claim to be a reason, a reason other than corruption, representation of a foreign government, being a bought politician, being a puppet, and all the rest, and someone outside the circle of those who bought, and almost certainly also coerced, both Clintons to perform to their specifications, per their orders, for their agenda benefits.

  19. Kevin Hayden says:

    I wholly agree with your caution in assigning blame for the loss on Comey, or on any one thing. My poll readings indicate Clinton peaked October 16th – just before the third debate – and her slide began several days before the first Comey letter.

    As to the impact of third parties, a strong case can be made for their impact on MI and WI, but it’s a lot more questionable for PA and FL. And in IA and NC, clearly the third partiers did NOT turn those states red. So it sounds like a bit of cherrypicking is going on there.

    I recommend reading the Pew poll that came out Wed or Thurs as it shows a lot of surprisingly high concerns and a big difference in the voters of both sides.  More polling in the Rust Belt would help, I believe, in sorting out the results.

  20. bloopie2 says:

     
    Would Trump still have won had he not spouted racism and misogyny?  That is, keeping his “populism”, anti-trade, anti-Hillary, anti-immigration (per se, not just Mexicans), etc.  I can’t follow all those damn statistics.  Can someone tell me that?
     

    • Richard Hoefer says:

      Would Trump still have won had he not spouted racism and misogyny?  That is, keeping his “populism”, anti-trade, anti-Hillary, anti-immigration (per se, not just Mexicans), etc.  I can’t follow all those damn statistics.  Can someone tell me that?

      This is a really good question.. Would be great to get Marcy’s take on this. My own impression/intuition is NO he would not have…  I havc Republican family in LA, NC, TX who were all-in for Trump— and I know them very well.  It was not sufficient for Trump to simply be populist & anti “elite”. Without stoking deep anger & outrage, without directly stoking the “we always hated that Obama got elected in 08!” anger, I’m not so sure Trump would have magnetized the angry rural whites to show up at the polls to register their major F* You! … P.S. > My Republican family are not rural… They are the upper-middle-class well-educated whites who absolutely are racist— and feel Obama literally stained the White House. (Disgusting I know)

    • bevin says:

      These fact are from the WSWS’s excellent analysis:
      “…..This identity-based presentation of Tuesday’s election is a false narrative exploded by the most basic analysis of the data from the election.
      “The most significant statistic from 2016’s election is the massive drop in support for both the Democratic and Republican candidates. While uncounted votes from California may slightly alter these figures, Hillary Clinton received about ten million fewer votes than Barack Obama did eight years ago. Trump, who lost the popular vote while winning the electoral vote, received the least votes of any candidate from either party since 2000. These figures are even more striking because of a drastic increase in the population of eligible voters: 18 million since 2008.
      “Far larger in number than the vote for either candidate are the 99 million eligible voters who abstained from the 2016 election or voted for a third party. This is a measure of social discontent and not of apathy. In other words, while Clinton and Trump received the vote of 26.6 and 25.9 percent of eligible voters, 43.2 percent chose neither.
      “Among those who did vote, Trump received the votes of just over 27 million white men, about equal to the 27.2 million white men who voted for Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. As for women, 35.5 million voted for Clinton in 2016, a significant drop from the 37.6 million who voted for Obama in 2012. Remarkably, just 30 percent of women eligible to vote cast ballots for Clinton in 2016, compared to 47 percent who did not vote.
      Clinton also suffered significant losses among African-American, Latino and young voters. In 2012, Barack Obama won 16.9 million African-American votes, over 3 million more than Clinton’s 13.7 million. Just over 9 million Latinos voted for both Obama and Clinton, despite a significant increase in the Latino voting population over the past four years. Among people aged 18-29, Clinton’s 13.6 million votes is roughly 8 percent less than Obama’s 14.8 million figure from 2012, despite a similar growth in this age demographic.
      “As a percentage of votes cast, all racial groups swung toward the Republican candidate in 2016 compared to 2012. However, white voters showed the lowest swing to the Republicans (1 percentage point), compared with African-Americans (7 percentage points), Latinos (8 percentage points), and Asian-Americans (11 percentage points).
      “These shifts, which occurred within the broader framework of abstention, were driven largely by economic issues. Fifty-two percent of voters said that the economy was the most important issue in the election, far above the second most important issue at 18 percent. Racial and gender issues did not register, while sixty-eight percent of voters said their financial situation was the same or worse than it was four years ago. Thirty-nine percent said they were looking for a candidate who “can bring change,” and of these, 83 percent voted for Trump. This equals roughly 40 million votes, or two thirds of Trump’s total.
      “Another indication that Trump was seen as the “change” candidate against the status quo is the fact that, of the 18 percent of voters who said they disliked both candidates, Trump won 49 percent to Clinton’s 29 percent. Fourteen percent said neither had the right temperament to be president, with Trump defeating Clinton 71 percent to 17 percent in this group. Remarkably, 57 percent of voters said they would be concerned or scared by a Trump presidency, but Trump still won 14 percent of these voters. These figures indicate the depth of the hatred that exists for the political establishment.
      “The elections saw a massive shift in party support among the poorest and wealthiest voters. The share of votes for the Republicans amongst the most impoverished section of workers, those with family incomes under $30,000, increased by 10 percentage points from 2012. In several key Midwestern states, the swing of the poorest voters toward Trump was even larger: Wisconsin (17-point swing), Iowa (20 points), Indiana (19 points) and Pennsylvania (18 points).
      “The swing to Republicans among the $30,000 to $50,000 family income range was 6 percentage points. Those with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 swung away from the Republicans compared to 2012 by 2 points.
      “The affluent and rich voted for Clinton by a much broader margin than they had voted for the Democratic candidate in 2012. Among those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000, Clinton benefited from a 9-point Democratic swing. Voters with family incomes above $250,000 swung toward Clinton by 11 percentage points. The number of Democratic voters amongst the wealthiest voting block increased from 2.16 million in 2012 to 3.46 million in 2016—a jump of 60 percent…..”

      • lefty665 says:

        Thank you.

        That’s the analysis I superficially poked at in response to the charge above it was fascist white guys who wanted a big white daddy that beat Hillary. Very nice. As far as I got was that women voted for Clinton over Trump by 12%, the same spread as for men voting for Trump over Clinton.

        I have no doubt there are some fascist jerks or that Comey influenced some votes. But, there were larger, much larger, issues in play; as in the neolib elites running the Democratic party are profoundly unpopular. How unpopular you ask, so unpopular people chose not to vote for Hillary over the likes of Donald Trump. That’s unpopular! Fascist guys and Comey come under the heading of “Oh, and that too”, marginal, not decisive.

        In addition to Hillary, Dems down ticket, including state and local candidates got hit in the head. Dems need to go back to the drawing board, in my opinion their New Deal roots, and become a party that cares for the middle class, working class people of all races and genders they have abandoned once again. If the message Reagan sent Dems 36 years ago wasn’t clear enough, Trump is a reminder. Do Dems have a learning curve? Stay tuned.

         

  21. wayoutwest says:

    I’m wondering if Comey might be feeling free enough now to release the findings of the Clinton Foundation investigation after consultation with the President elect. A recommendation of arrest and prosecution of the now powerless Crooked Hillary would go a long way to restoring faith in our compromised justice system especially if it’s initiated before the transition of power.

  22. bloopie2 says:

     
    “Would Trump still have won had he not spouted racism and misogyny?”
     
    Glenn Greenwald says this:  “People often talk about “racism/sexism/xenophobia” vs. “economic suffering” as if they are totally distinct dichotomies. Of course there are substantial elements of both in Trump’s voting base, but the two categories are inextricably linked: The more economic suffering people endure, the angrier and more bitter they get, the easier it is to direct their anger to scapegoats. Economic suffering often fuels ugly bigotry. … those portions of the country that have been most ravaged by free trade orgies and globalism — Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa — were filled with rage … .  So, maybe I asked the wrong question, or maybe I asked the right question:  But now my question is:  Did Trump see/know that economic suffering often fuels ugly bigotry?  Probably, is my answer.

  23. Evangelista says:

    Marcy,

    My above ascription of causal elements in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election play was a general overview of the causal components.  Inside that general bubble were subsidiary plays.  The Comey clintonmail.com sequence appears to be one of these, and one that, for the reasons noted in my general ascription, failed to play.

    There is in dramatic writing, and political campaigns are dramatic events, meaning dramas-melodramas, a technique often called “a grabber”.  The “grabber” is a nearing resolution sudden reversal for the hero or heroine, where, just as the clouds seem to be beginning to break, and first glimmers of a hopeful dawn are provided for the hero or heroine’s hopes, which are, by then, supposed to be the audience’s by empathy, another, an awful, an unexpected and stunningly terrible development occurs, the hero is accused of a murder the villain committed when the villain has just died, taking his ability to confess to the grave, or the heroine learns her hero is really her brother, or some such.  The audience is grabbed and upset, and then, suddenly, it is discovered that the villain left his characteristic pearl-handled dagger in the wound, or the hero was adopted by the family before he was kidnapped and lost, or whatever.

    It appears as if when the clintonmail.com files appeared on the Weiner laptop someone decided to play a grabber, to get Hillary more votes:  have Comey “forced” to reopen the investigation for “as yet unknown” revelations, and then, after the Clinton-sympathetic element of the electorate was caught up in an “Oh, No!!” passion, have Comey reveal that the previously unknown revelations were not about heroine Hillary, wherefore she is really and truly innocent, and deserving of our love and trust and compassion, after which we would all rush to the polling stations in a sympathetic euphoria and vote Hillary.

    This would provide an explanation for a Hillary win (that the in-the-loop Media had been fabricating and rolling a wave for), which could be injected via electronic voting machine algorithm.  You might recall the Israeli election that returned Netanyahu to his throne the last time.  A “stunner” rather than a “grabber” was used in that instance (because the manipulators wanted a zenophobic and racist bias, for israel and Judaism in that case).  Netanyahu, in that case, made a last-minute virulently xenophobic and racist speech that stunned the electorate, which was not looking supportive of him before, and “an activated radical element rushed to the polls in droves” (or electronic votes were manipulated) and Netanyahu was re-elected after all.  After he had the office again, Netanyahu “walked back” the ‘virulence’ and the world settled into acceptance of  “the old”, not as radical as that speech, Netanyahu.

    In the U.S. election, in 2016, the play had to be the heroine undeservedly made victim.  But, as the results proof, Hilary was not a heroine, at least outside her core.

    To proof this premise the electronic voting devices in population centers (were sufficient numbers to cover manipulations smoothly exist) would have to be analyzed and correlated, where back-ups might make that possible.  Trump’s overwhelming numbers in small-count precincts appears to have overwhelmed the manipulators’ estimates (electronic voting machines being of the same construction as electronic slot-machines, the “house biasing” algorithms have to be pre-programed, and are not real-time manipulable/adjustable).  The patterning of the 2016 Trump v. Clinton vote-counts suggests such manipulation, with the manipulators, necessarily having to be careful to avoid un-credible margins, having failed to bias enough (perhaps expecting more ‘offended-voter’ non-voting in the smaller-precinct areas).

    In any event, even before the polls opened it was apparent that the “grabber” had not grabbed.  The Hillary Clinton the FBI’s quick review of the Weiner Laptop files absolved of all connection to whatever wrongdoing the evidences indicated, fell flat.  To the electorate, Hilary was the villain, not the heroine.  Whatever Trump was dressed out to be for the election-drama, racist, misogynist, xenophobe, bigot, he was seen to be an honest one of whichever or all of those.

    Today Comey, the gambit he was key to playing to provide a “grabber” scene having failed, is being thrown under the bus.

    Note that this is a possible ascription, perhaps probable.

    Note, too, that in the U.S. 2016 Presidential election play Hilary is quite possibly, perhaps likely, not the villain.  This is most likely the case also for Bill Clinton, and for Comey.  The people, or political machines, who, or that, script national elec

    ctions and manipulate government leaders do so by rewarding and threatening victims who seem to show potential to be useful to them, meaning to thei agenda.

      • Evangelista says:

         

        bmaz,

        Yes:  Add a third to my list of needed election-reforms:

        1.   Paper ballots, triple-counted, by human hand, with counts correlated (as Federal Reserve banks do daily with interbank exchange money amounts, to the exact penny).  There is a three month period between votings, in early November, and inaugurations, late January, so there is plenty of time for vote counting and totaling.  Instant and next-day ‘final results’ are not necessary, accuracy and honesty are.  If voting is worth doing at all it is worth putting the time and money into to produce honest, legitimate results.

        2. Common pot financing, with any amount contributions permitted from anyone wishing to contribute financially, persons, corporations, pacs, super-pacs, secret committees, secret societies, foreign agents, nations, parties, and domestic and foreign above- and under-ground entities, with thankyous going to all and all contributions going into one pot, to be distributed equally amongst all legitimately campaigning candidates and advocates for measures, referenda, etc., so that The People, the decision-makers, receive information from all candidates and advocates in equal quantities, so that the quality of message-contents is the the differentiating factor.   Amounts marked for primary questions would go to a wide spread of candidates, with those showing sufficient seriousness, or being recognized of serious interest in primary voting, being divvied equally from the rest of the pot for the general voting.

        3.   Discrimination of the Constitutionally countable ballots cast by voters of majority-age from the Constitutionally non-countable, practice-ballots cast by the under majority age voting (today the 18, 19 and 20 year-old).

        I would suggest some real teaching of real civics and United States history in schools, at all levels, too.  Maybe replace some of the myriad ‘griefs-and-disappointments counselors with teachers having actual education backgrounds, and maybe teaching skills, instead of only socialization ones.

        Consider the following, quoted from Jim Quinn (The Burning Platform):

        “Clinton won the popular vote by about 630,000. Jabba the Hutt (aka Michael Moore) and the diverse left wing shrews on MSNBC and CNN are outraged that white deplorables stole the election from their little crook. A little perspective reveals a different picture. You back out the popular vote margin in those six socialist states and Trump wins the popular vote by over 6 million votes. The Hollywood and NYC elites, along with their Hilbots, think the votes of six states should override the overwhelming landslide achieved by Trump in the other 44 states.

        Too bad pussies. You lost. No amount of Soros financed riots is going to change the outcome. Time to retreat into your six safe spaces and break out the coloring books and play doh. Isn’t it funny how the left wing media were outraged when Trump said he wouldn’t agree to the outcome before seeing the vote. Now they question the outcome based on no facts or basis for argument.

        Trump popular vote – 60,351,240
        Clinton popular vote – 60,981,118
        Clinton’s popular vote margin- 629,878
        LIBERAL BASTION CLINTON STATE MARGINS
        California – 2,746,562
        New York – 1,503,304
        Illinois – 859,319
        Maryland – 624,305
        New Jersey – 486,243
        Washington – 480,072
        Clinton’s liberal bastion state margin – 6,699,805
        TRUMP’S POPULAR VOTE MARGIN IN OTHER 44 STATES – 6,069,927 ”

        Does that help explain why the framers of the U.S. Constitution framed the way they framed?
        Remember, the Constitutional United States is a Republic, NOT a Democracy.  All the hooting about ‘democracy’ in America is irrelevant.  Unless the United States’ Constitutionally framed form of government has been changed into something else by ones The People entrusted to look after things, while they, The People, went about their own other businesses.  Is this what has happened?  If it is, the changers are guilty of Treason.

         

         

  24. Denis says:

    MTW:  So Navak has a big incentive to blame others.

    I’ve noticed how you out people’s ulterior motives and conflicts of interest a lot, and that’s good.  Nothing like 3rd dimensional skepticism to provide a little depth.

    As for the real effect/purpose of Comey’s shit-storm, I think there was a huge ulterior motive there, too. Comey’s primary concern was not informing Congress/the public that the email case was still open. That was pretense.  It was informing America that there were a number of other Hilton investigations still open.

    The Weiner investigation was not public information until Comey sent the first letter; in fact, the letter didn’t mention Weiner at all. It is impossible to un-think that whole salacious October IED, but just imagine if none of that had ever been known to the public. The Weiner sexting a 15 yo shit-brick fell out of the sky a day after Comey’s letter and it landed mostly on Huma b/c all of those emails on the laptop had to come from her.  But anything that hit Huma was bound to splatter Hilton, too.

    Also, in the outfall of the Comey letter we  got the first indication that the FIB was investigating the Foundation.  In fact, it was widely reported that there were 5 FIB investigations underway that touched Hilton.

    I noted here at the time of Comey’s Jul05 “exoneration” speech that he did not mention any other investigations and he did not mention, much less exonerate, any of Hilton’s staff. But the press made it sound like all of Hilton’s worries were behind her and she was as clean as the driven snow.  That was obviously a false impression, and my guess is that Comey was put under a lot of pressure by his underlings to correct it before the election.

  25. Denis says:

    Denis: “The Weiner sexting a 15 yo shit-brick fell out of the sky. . .”

    Man, did I butcher that, or what? I did not mean that a 15 yo shit-brick fell out of the sky. What I was trying to say was that the revelation that Weiner was sexting a 15 yo was a shit-brick that . . .

    Never mind.

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