The Power of the People
The Democratic National Committee thought they were helping Hillary Clinton.
One thing that shines out in this election is that this was the race of the outsider. Despite Donald Trump’s lack of political experience, he won the election. And many would say that it is this very aspect of the business billionaire, one that would normally be perceived as a detriment, that made his stand out from the beginning. It was a theme that most Republican candidates tried to touch on, promising their potential voters they were not part of the Washington elite, and that they could make changes in what is perceived to be the corrupt political system in Washington, DC.
This theme was not only prevalent on the right. The left never thought that Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, would create the kind of grassroots movement that he did. Sanders campaigned on the fact that he was against the political machine. He relied on small donations from voters, and went against the idea of taking big money from big companies which then could cash in on big favors from Washington. Sanders was the first one the emphasize and bring up the fact that Clinton took thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs for speeches. He showed her to be a candidate that was in the pockets of Wall Street, and although pretended to be one of the people, was a political millionaire who cashed in from her government experience and connections. The “pay to play” was then echoed throughout her entire campaign. Sanders very much pushed Clinton to the left. The one time supporter of TPP suddenly was against it. She followed Sanders in promising free public college education for all Americans. Because of Sanders and his “populist” movement, Clinton moved more to the right. But because of Sanders and his message, the same platform never truly stuck.
And then, right before the Democratic National Convention, Wikileaks exposed emails that showed the DNC very much favored Hillary Clinton. This detail just further played into the narrative that Clinton was one that was in with the Washington power players. It seemed so unfair and so corrupt that Bernie Sanders supporters took to the Philadelphia streets to protest Clinton’s nomination. Trump spoke openly about how unfair the DNC treated Sanders, and how they clearly ignored the American people’s right to choose. We then saw the delegate and super delegate count come in, which further showed the divide between the political machine and the Sander’s grassroots movement.
Before the election results came on November 9th, the RNC was criticized for not doing what the DNC did. Many people said it was the party’s responsibility to choose the best candidate that could win the general election. It was there job to organize and know the tactics to defeat the other party. That was the justification for favoring Hillary Clinton. The RNC, on the other hand, let Donald Trump hijack the primary process, and beat out the other 16 much more qualified candidates. It was thought that there was no possible way Trump could defeat Clinton, and someone like Jeb Bush or John Kasich had a much better chance. Instead, we now see that the RNC allowing the process to unfold naturally, much which was totally out of their control, benefited the party and lead to a victory. Trump’s strong message of bringing back jobs from overseas and reviving the economy helped him in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, breaking into the “blue wall” that Clinton needed to win.
Clinton, on paper, was the perfect candidate. She had a highly vetted team, and a ground operation that was second to none. The problem, however, was not the campaign, but instead the candidate. Trump, on the other hand, had a disorganized campaign, swapping out campaign managers twice. He stopped fundraising in the weeks leading up to the election, and did not fundraise at all in the primary. The contrast of the two candidate’s campaigns could not be more stark, but neither could the candidates themselves. The delivery of their message, their personality, and their resumes were so opposite, but the nation right now, favored and wanted one of Trump or Sanders’ “movements.” By the DNC controlling the candidate, they tried to control the race, but found that they could, in fact, not control the outcome of the votes.