(Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

It was working-class whites: Hillary Clinton lost a lot of Obama voters to Donald Trump, Democratic firm says

New data shines a light on reasons why the Democrats lost the election last Novebmber


Charlie May
May 1, 2017 7:20PM (UTC)

For many Democrats, coming to terms with the unfortunate realities of the November election is still quite difficult, but new data shows that the argument many of the party's leaders have asserted — that Hillary Clinton lost because her base didn't turn out — doesn't add up. Clinton lost the election because she never had the support in the necessary places. What makes it sting more for Democrats is that Barack Obama did have that support during his campaigns, but this time around it went to Donald Trump.

Indeed, the voters who flipped from Obama to Trump in just four years have amassed 70 percent of the reason why Clinton lost the election, according to an analysis by the Democratic political firm Global Strategy Group. Matt Canter, the senior vice president of the firm, has delivered these reports to party operatives, congressman, senators and think-tank leaders in order to properly inform and educate the party on what exactly happened.

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“We have to make sure we learn the right lesson from 2016, that we don’t just draw the lesson that makes us feel good at night, make us sleep well at night,” Canter said, according to McClatchy.

McClatchy reported:

His firm’s conclusion is shared broadly by other Democrats who have examined the data, including senior members of Clinton’s campaign and officials at the Democratic data and analytics firm Catalist. (The New York Times, doing its own analysis, reached a similar conclusion.)

Each group made its assessment by analyzing voter files, reports that show who voted in every state, and matching them to pre-existing data about the voters, including demographic information and prior vote history. Using this process, the groups have determined how people voted – in what amounts to the most comprehensive way to analyze the electorate short of a full-blown census.

This comes at a time when one poll shows that 67 percent of the public believes that the Democratic Party is out of touch with the concerns of most people. “This idea that Democrats can somehow ignore this constituency and just turn out more of our voters, the math doesn’t work,” Canter told McClatchy. “We have to do both.”

Clinton lost was unable to persuade working class white voters mainly because she didn't differ from the status-quo, and Trump was a candidate that ran on abolishing the establishment class, even though he was never actually going to anyways.

Now a super PAC that supported Clinton, Priorities USA, is attempting to restore the party. They released a poll last week with the help of Canter's firm that shows that Democrats are eager to have a strong turnout for the midterm elections.

"Officials with the group have preached in recent months that Democrats can both reach out to white working-class voters and their base with a strong message rooted in economic populism," McClatchy reported.

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But the Democrats still have no real leader at the moment, and have not taken positions that embrace a populist economic message, or true progressive values. Their last leader Obama is instead giving a $400,000 speech to a Wall Street firm, accentuating the fact that Democratic elites continue to remain out of touch with real American voters. But polls continue to show that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is the most popular politician in the country, but many Democrats haven't sided with Sanders' single-payer health care system even though it resonates with the majority of Americans.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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