Clinton’s ads show her weak strategy: purely tribal, no content

Summary: Why did Hillary flop in the Electoral College? Liberals search frantically for explanations. A previous post discussed the failure of Clinton’s fear campaign and the public’s dislike of her social justice warriors. Here we look at another cause: her advertising.

Ready for Hillary

Liberals continue to ask themselves who is responsible for Clinton’s defeat. Most reply “not her, not us”. Many of us have flagged her Anything But Issues Campaign. But some disagree.

“Clinton offered, inter alia, such longtime Goldman Sachs priorities as a family leave plan, an increased minimum wage and better overtime rules, the Employee Free Choice Act, child care funding, Social Security increases, a public option for health care, and support for repealing the Hyde Amendment. {Her speeches} were mostly arguments in favor of these policies. Should the Clinton campaign have tried to be more creative about finding ways of getting word of this attractive platform out …? Yes.”

— Scott Lemieux (prof of pol sci, College of Saint Rose) at Lawyers, Guns and Money.

Professor Lemieux is correct — people who listen to politicians’ speeches and read their white papers know the platforms. For the other 99% of America — there are advertisements, a key to success in modern campaigns. Clinton’s were both boring and devoid of specifics about what she might do as President. It’s all tribal affinity and malarkey. Trump’s tweet’s read like the Federalist Papers by comparison (in terms of promised action, without the Paper‘s reason and soul). She burnt on these ads a big part of the $690 million donors gave her.

“Tomorrow” – The final Clinton ad…

Trump said bad things about John McCain, who is a war hero…

“Mirrors” – Trump says bad things about women…

“Getting Started” – Hillary will be our champion.

She has some shorts, fact-free, earnest, and dull. “Can you tell us a fun story about a world leader you’ve met?”  “What was it like moving Chelsea into her college dorm?”  “Has your granddaughter done anything that has surprised you?

How did the Democratic Party do so well for decades?

Here is a flyer from the past. Page one tells voters exactly what the Democratic Party has done for them. Presumably page two makes some promises. This is how to win elections, year after year.

What the Democratic Party has given us
Courtesy the Legislative Reference Library of Texas.

How did the Democratic Party fall so far?

“…my only fear is that you spent with too sparing a hand.”
George Washington to his campaign manager, James Wood, on 28 July 1758. He was  discussing rum, not advertising.

How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul” by Matt Stoller in The Atlantic — “In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.”

“With the help of strategist Fred Dutton, Democrats forged a new coalition. By quietly cutting back the influence of unions, Dutton sought to eject the white working class from the Democratic Party, which he saw as “a major redoubt of traditional Americanism and of the antinegro, antiyouth vote.” The future, he argued, lay in a coalition of African Americans, feminists, and affluent, young, college-educated whites. In 1972, George McGovern would win the Democratic nomination with this very coalition, and many of the Watergate Babies entering office just three years later gleaned their first experiences in politics on his campaign.”

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Campaign 2016, and especially these about the results of Campaign 2016…

5 thoughts on “Clinton’s ads show her weak strategy: purely tribal, no content”

  1. “Here is a flyer from the past. Page one tells voters exactly what the Democratic Party has done for them. Presumably page two makes some promises. This is how to win elections, year after year.”
    Duh…….it’s not what’s the matter with Kansas, more like American “liberals”?
    Maybe they did not have anything to write on Today’s Pamphlet?
    Just talk about Chelsea and grand babies?
    Platform, who reads a bloody Platform?

    This prattling on by the Dems is getting to be silliness. They simply are dumbfounded. I talk to many of them every day, and they offer basic bafflement ….after a rant or two. Maybe give it time. Maybe they won’t just receded into a deeper echo chamber?


  2. Ed., I’ve been in Scandinavia since the election, so my only conversations with Americans has been through social media. I think it was key that Trump was able to flip blue, working-class counties to red and win some surprising states. I’ve had no trouble having that conversation with my right-thinking friends, but considerable trouble with some of my left-thinking friends. I’m not sure the reason, but some will just not accept that there is any reason to pick Trump over Clinton except ignorance, racism, and/or sexism. Example response: “I think the opposite is true. More dumb people were motivated to march to the polls to reflexively vote for someone who embodies their most base beliefs.”

    IMO, Trump did a lot of things wrong, but did some key things right and those key things show a roadmap for future success. Once the Repubs lost the working class (long ago), the identity politics proved decisive in favor of the Dems. Trump won back some of that working class and won the election even thought he still played right into the Dems identity politics game. He said so many things that even an amateur could turn into a wedge so how much more successful would he have been had he been more thoughtful and careful with this language?

    The Dems seem focused on what Trump did wrong in this campaign with little introspection about what Clinton did wrong. My bigger worry is that the Republican Party is not paying attention to what Trump did right and what he did wrong when the keys to future success are so staring them in the face.

  3. What I find interesting is that Hilary pursued a similar advertising strategy in 2008 against Obama and it didn’t work then either. I would have expected a smart person like her to learn from her mistakes. But considering the fact that she blames the FBI investigation for her loss rather than her own actions, perhaps this should be expected after all.

    So the 2016 election kind of mirrors the 2000 election, the Republicans put up a pretty poor candidate and the Democrats put up a worse one. Like 2000, Clinton’s actions after the loss reinforce the painful fact that the better candidate won (urp).

    The saving grace is that this time the Democrats seem to be responding better to the loss. Putting Keith Ellison in charge of the DNC and Schumer in charge of the Senate guarantee that new ideas will be heard. It remains to be seen whether they act on the new ideas. Removing Pelosi would be a step in the right direction but I’m not sure the Democrats have anybody strong enough to replace her.

    1. Pluto,

      Thank you for the historical note about the 2008 election. Also, for the details about the Dem’s reaction. We shall see if they learn anything — or continue what looks like an adamant refusal to confront their own actions that led to their loss.

      The Left seems to have gone bonkers in the last few months of the election, and that continues today. I assume there will be a “hangover”, eventually — a painful reckoning with reality. It will be interesting to see.

      Of course, the Right might have a similarly painful time ahead with President Trump. Folly has its price.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: