Is Hillary Clinton Losing the 2016 Election?

The anxiety is palatable.  The question will not be made audible, but it remains: is she losing this election?  Is it really slipping away?  To put it in the words of Hillary Clinton:  "Why am I not winning by 50 points?"

1. Epistemological poisoning.  The depth of public outrage has been the consistent misunderstanding of all pundits trying to explain the current election.  Why is the public so mad?  Why do people seem to love Trump so much?  Those charged with telling us the truth – journalists, the federal government, politicians, academia, Hollywood, and the Church – do not.  The epistemological organs of our nation favor an illiberal anti-American view of the world, epitomized by the Jonathan Grubers and condescending Hollywood stars, that mocks the average American.

Sadly, even the Republican Party thinks this way about the average American, and for that, the public burned down the RNC.  While Democrats laughed, they never thought the populist fires could touch their perfect candidate.  That was the boundless hubris of a reactionary community emboldened by the echo chamber of leftist politics emanating from American institutions taken over by Jacobins.

Americans were tired of drinking the poison, so they shattered the epistemological world painfully constructed by the left.  This is not Plato's Blue Republic; it's a democracy where people can show up and vote.

2. Democrats started losing in 2010.  Democrats forget that they won last time on the basis of a change agent named Barack Obama.  He promised to fundamentally transform America.  We were so messed up after President Bush – according to Obama and his followers – that we needed this complete political overhaul.  In fact, the more experienced and established Hillary Clinton lost rather incredibly to this unknown advocate of hope and change.  She was the insider, and he was the outsider.  McCain was the insider, and Obama was the less experienced outsider.

But by 2010, the Democratic eternal dynasty of politics was already falling apart.  The Congress and almost every elected office in America began moving sharply right.  Presently, the nation has not had so many elected Republicans since the 1920s.  That was the Tea Party and the building outrage since Obamacare.

Democrats and the elite fooled themselves with the win they scored over Romney in 2012.  President Obama received millions fewer votes in 2012 than 2008, and the shine and appeal of the unknown was gone.  Obama was largely just another politician.  Republicans continued to gain more and more congressional control in 2014.  This surge has been ongoing for the Republicans since 2010.

Was Hillary ever as popular or as persuasive as Barack Obama?  The honest answer was always no.  The hope and change of Obama is the reciprocal cry of flyover country as they mob Donald Trump.  Hillary Clinton was foolish never even to try to triangulate against President Obama.  She left the promise of change wide open and tied herself hopelessly to the establishment and status quo. 

3. Lies, lies, lies.  Of course, trust of politicians is abysmally low, but Hillary and Bill Clinton represented a unique manifestation of how political deception could work and be made profitable.  Bernie Sanders warned about this, as did other parts of the true left, but it could never be taken too seriously.

If the truth were told, it was never Hillary's problem – it was the armies of people who lied for her.  She said a video caused Benghazi.  She helped put a filmmaker in jail to for his freedom of speech criticizing the prophet Muhammad.  But all of it was fine and rearranged to be made politically truthful.  The "fact-checkers" say she never argued in 2008 that Obama was born outside the U.S., cleverly avoiding the reality that her campaign handlers did.  Bill Clinton can say Trump is racist for saying he will make America great again, though that is exactly what Clinton said to get elected in 1992.

Partisans are frustrated that Trump is not being held to a high account of honesty like Hillary, but they miss the public's point.  Trump is not a politician, and they view his lies as an attempt to escape a government that finds us all guilty of crimes, from the environment to taxes to hate speech and even bad thoughts.  Trump is a wrecking ball that will, at least in their eyes, take down the elite world of deception and suppression – or so they hope.

There are dozens of other miscues that can be added to the mix: the peculiar belief that one can campaign while rarely holding press conferences, the odd communications about her health, the anemic audiences at rallies.  In the end, the reality that populism is always a potentially winning American political argument, and was precisely why she lost to Obama in 2008, never came to be accepted as a real threat to the 2016 campaign.  The laughter at poor Jeb Bush flailing away at a caricature that was Donald Trump never allowed the Clinton team to recognize the echo chamber they were in for months.  Outspending the millionaire Trump never really seemed to matter.

It all seemed so real: the convention bounce, the self-injuries of Trump, and the largely reassuring media voices.  History will show the signs – and that America typically gets the President she deserves. 

Ben Voth is an associate professor of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs and director of debate at Southern Methodist University.  He is the co-author of a new book on political communication, Social Fragmentation and the Decline of American Democracy, with Dr. Robert Denton.

The anxiety is palatable.  The question will not be made audible, but it remains: is she losing this election?  Is it really slipping away?  To put it in the words of Hillary Clinton:  "Why am I not winning by 50 points?"

1. Epistemological poisoning.  The depth of public outrage has been the consistent misunderstanding of all pundits trying to explain the current election.  Why is the public so mad?  Why do people seem to love Trump so much?  Those charged with telling us the truth – journalists, the federal government, politicians, academia, Hollywood, and the Church – do not.  The epistemological organs of our nation favor an illiberal anti-American view of the world, epitomized by the Jonathan Grubers and condescending Hollywood stars, that mocks the average American.

Sadly, even the Republican Party thinks this way about the average American, and for that, the public burned down the RNC.  While Democrats laughed, they never thought the populist fires could touch their perfect candidate.  That was the boundless hubris of a reactionary community emboldened by the echo chamber of leftist politics emanating from American institutions taken over by Jacobins.

Americans were tired of drinking the poison, so they shattered the epistemological world painfully constructed by the left.  This is not Plato's Blue Republic; it's a democracy where people can show up and vote.

2. Democrats started losing in 2010.  Democrats forget that they won last time on the basis of a change agent named Barack Obama.  He promised to fundamentally transform America.  We were so messed up after President Bush – according to Obama and his followers – that we needed this complete political overhaul.  In fact, the more experienced and established Hillary Clinton lost rather incredibly to this unknown advocate of hope and change.  She was the insider, and he was the outsider.  McCain was the insider, and Obama was the less experienced outsider.

But by 2010, the Democratic eternal dynasty of politics was already falling apart.  The Congress and almost every elected office in America began moving sharply right.  Presently, the nation has not had so many elected Republicans since the 1920s.  That was the Tea Party and the building outrage since Obamacare.

Democrats and the elite fooled themselves with the win they scored over Romney in 2012.  President Obama received millions fewer votes in 2012 than 2008, and the shine and appeal of the unknown was gone.  Obama was largely just another politician.  Republicans continued to gain more and more congressional control in 2014.  This surge has been ongoing for the Republicans since 2010.

Was Hillary ever as popular or as persuasive as Barack Obama?  The honest answer was always no.  The hope and change of Obama is the reciprocal cry of flyover country as they mob Donald Trump.  Hillary Clinton was foolish never even to try to triangulate against President Obama.  She left the promise of change wide open and tied herself hopelessly to the establishment and status quo. 

3. Lies, lies, lies.  Of course, trust of politicians is abysmally low, but Hillary and Bill Clinton represented a unique manifestation of how political deception could work and be made profitable.  Bernie Sanders warned about this, as did other parts of the true left, but it could never be taken too seriously.

If the truth were told, it was never Hillary's problem – it was the armies of people who lied for her.  She said a video caused Benghazi.  She helped put a filmmaker in jail to for his freedom of speech criticizing the prophet Muhammad.  But all of it was fine and rearranged to be made politically truthful.  The "fact-checkers" say she never argued in 2008 that Obama was born outside the U.S., cleverly avoiding the reality that her campaign handlers did.  Bill Clinton can say Trump is racist for saying he will make America great again, though that is exactly what Clinton said to get elected in 1992.

Partisans are frustrated that Trump is not being held to a high account of honesty like Hillary, but they miss the public's point.  Trump is not a politician, and they view his lies as an attempt to escape a government that finds us all guilty of crimes, from the environment to taxes to hate speech and even bad thoughts.  Trump is a wrecking ball that will, at least in their eyes, take down the elite world of deception and suppression – or so they hope.

There are dozens of other miscues that can be added to the mix: the peculiar belief that one can campaign while rarely holding press conferences, the odd communications about her health, the anemic audiences at rallies.  In the end, the reality that populism is always a potentially winning American political argument, and was precisely why she lost to Obama in 2008, never came to be accepted as a real threat to the 2016 campaign.  The laughter at poor Jeb Bush flailing away at a caricature that was Donald Trump never allowed the Clinton team to recognize the echo chamber they were in for months.  Outspending the millionaire Trump never really seemed to matter.

It all seemed so real: the convention bounce, the self-injuries of Trump, and the largely reassuring media voices.  History will show the signs – and that America typically gets the President she deserves. 

Ben Voth is an associate professor of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs and director of debate at Southern Methodist University.  He is the co-author of a new book on political communication, Social Fragmentation and the Decline of American Democracy, with Dr. Robert Denton.