2016 Election: an Unexpected Result

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One day in March of 2016, I remember being in Spanish class watching a debate between my right-winged teacher and a liberal student. At that moment, I knew the 2016 Election would change the way people think about politics forever. Throughout the election, I had no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency. The idea of Donald Trump winning the electoral college seemed too far-fetched when looking at red versus blue states. I didn’t really consider his rhetoric, just previous electoral trends. Because Clinton’s candidacy was basically an extension of the Obama administration, I figured that the electoral map would look identical to the map in 2012. I thought swing states like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida would go to Hillary because they voted democrat in the previous election. Boy was I wrong! I thought people would overlook her scandals and vote for her in order to continue the progress the Obama administration accomplished. I truly believed that the candidate’s policies would overcome all other factors in terms of voting, but I finally realized people don’t always vote based off policy. The 2016 election will change the way politicians will run their campaigns, present themselves, and explain past controversies in the next presidential election.

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The 2016 election is still being discussed three years later, that’s how impactful that election was. There are many theories on why the election turned out the way it did. Some believe Trump capitalized on American’s fears and internalized racism, Clinton was power hungry and a criminal, others believe the American people were tired of the Washington establishment. There’s lots of speculation on how Trump won and how Hillary lost. Those two statements might sound redundant but the reasons for both are different. An anonymous staff article from the New York Post titled “Hillary’s presidential bid was doomed from the beginning”

Explains some missteps the Clinton campaign had in the 2016 election from the book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. This book was written by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Allen and Parnes are both geniuses about the Clinton family, they’ve written two books together on Hillary. Both authors have large political presences in such publications as The Hill and Politico.

The New York Post has a reputation for being conservative and it shows subtly in the article while being factually accurate. Considering the political leaning for this publication, I believe that majority of the audience for the New York Post is republican. A little over four percent of users who visited the New York Post website visited the Drudge Report immediately before, others came from Facebook and Google. I think this statistic confirms my assumptions about the audience of the New York Post. The article discusses the many issues the Clinton campaign faced in the 2016 election. Issues include the announcement of her candidacy, conflicting strategy ideas between her staff, scandals, and Clinton’s own shortcomings. The author of this article is trying to inform their readers on how we should have seen Clinton’s defeat before the election ended. I believe the author’s exigence for writing this article is to show that Trump winning wasn’t as unlikely as everyone thought. I also think the author’s purpose for writing this article is to suggest to the Democratic Party to choose a different candidate next time. The article also suggests that the American people are tired of the Clinton Dynasty (Clinton fatigue). This article is effective because it establishes ethos by taking examples from a book written by two Clinton experts. Regardless of the belittling language used against Clinton in the article, the facts are true and its up to the reader if they have a positive or negative opinion on the former presidential candidate after reading the article.

When reading this article at first, it was obvious the author had a negative view of Clinton from the verbiage that was used to describe issues about the campaign. The staff author describes Clinton’s advisers as “leaderless”, Clinton’s husband Bill as “meddling”, and calling Clinton “rusty as hell” in terms of connecting with voters from her book tour in 2014 promoting her book Hard Choices. These choices of words weren’t taken from Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign but it was instead interpreted from the author and then written in their own feelings and words.

The author also mentions an analogy stated by a former adviser from the Clinton campaign. This quote compares Clinton’s email scandal to a cold sore, “You never know when it’s going to pop up, you think you’re over it and then it pops up again”. Although the author of this article didn’t write that quote, he carefully selected it from a book to include it in his article. By using this quote, the target audience of this publication, conservatives, can confirm that Clinton is untrustworthy and can’t escape a scandal. This quote is simplistic and eye-catching to the reader. The quote probably gets stuck in their head and they could repeat it for an argument because the quote has a nice ring to it. This is what the author wants, the more people that disapprove of Clinton, the better.

Although the authors of the book mentioned in the article are creditable, the author of the article made a choice by choosing Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign over the autobiographical memoir What Happened by Hillary Clinton herself. Both books explain the mistakes made in the campaign, one is just written from the candidate herself. Yes, What Happened is biased towards Hillary because she wrote it, but in the book, she also identifies mistakes she’s made. For example, in the article the author critiques Clinton’s 2008 campaign saying Clinton made it all about her with a “I’m in it to win” attitude. While in What Happened, Hillary responds to this assumption by stating:

“In 2008, I had been criticized for arriving in Iowa like a queen, holding big rallies and acting like victory was inevitable. I never thought that was a fair description of me or our campaign; we believed I could prevail in a crowded and talented field, but we certainly didn’t take Iowa for granted. In fact, we recognized that it wasn’t an ideal first contest for me and spent a fair amount of 2007 trying to figure out how to make the best of it.” (Clinton, 130)

By only mentioning one book about Clinton’s election, the author misses out on personal testimony such as the one above. Of course, it’s hard to change public perception but when someone responds to an assumption at least hear them out. I’m sure the author knew about Clinton’s memoir but decided against citing it in order to maintain the narrative that Clinton is corrupt. Additionally, The New York Post audience might have dismissed Clinton’s word because they already believe she’s a liar thus causing authors at the publication to avoid referencing What Happened.

The final strategy I noticed the author of this article used was the lack of positive things to say about the campaign. Yes, this article is about the things done wrong with the campaign, but the author never used verbiage like “despite of” to at least give some credit to Clinton for trying. There are positive aspects of any campaign, including Trump’s! I mean he did win the presidency after all. There was no mention of anything Clinton did right or tried to make right. I also felt a vibe that the finger was always pointed at Clinton throughout the paper. Some things are out of the candidates control and it’s not always their fault. For example, the author critiqued Clinton’s introductory speech by saying “the failure of the speech to connect Hillary to a cause larger than herself”. I’ve watched the speech that Hillary made on Roosevelt Island, New York in 2015 and just like any politician they talk about the issues the country is facing, not just themselves. I’m sure the audience reading from the New York Post already has a negative opinion of Clinton and the material in this article just reinforces their thoughts. Using only negative information in this article is effective for its audience. I’m not surprised the author used only negative information for this article, they want and need to appeal to their base.

The article is well written and appeals mostly to its base and maybe a select few democrats that are curious on what the other side has to say. Any person who doesn’t support Clinton will find nothing wrong with this article. The article does a good job with remaining factual at all times. However, there are some interjectional opinions throughout the paper that shed a negative light on Clinton. Although I disagree with the subtle opinions, the author did a great job with creating a narrative to attract their target audience. I would’ve preferred a title more like “What Clinton Accomplished and Failed at in the 2016 election” to seem a little bit more non-biased. However, it’s unrealistic to expect media to be unbiased, we all have our own biases and should keep that in mind whenever we read a news article.

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