Characteristically, in her first post-mortem following her election defeat, Hillary Clinton has blamed FBI Director James Comey for sending a letter to Congress a few days before the election saying that following the discovery of more emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer the FBI was reopening into the issue.
Bizarrely, Hillary Clinton also seems to think that Comey’s announcement two days before the election that the FBI was closing the investigation, helped Trump as well. Supposedly Comey’s doing this “energised” the pro Trump voters even more.
Here is what Hillary Clinton is reported to have said:
“There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful. Our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.”
That this is not just Hillary Clinton’s view but is supported by her whole campaign is shown by the very similar comments made by Navin Nayak, the head of the Clinton campaign’s opinion research division
“We believe that we lost this election in the last week. Comey’s letter in the last 11 days of the election both helped depress our turnout and also drove away some of our critical support among college-educated white voters – particularly in the suburbs. We also think Comey’s second letter, which was intended to absolve Secretary Clinton, actually helped to bolster Trump’s turnout.”
This is utter nonsense. The opinion polls show that Trump’s support was already surging as the election neared and before FBI Director Comey sent his letter to Congress. Though the letter may have upset and demoralised the Clinton campaign, there is no evidence that it made any actual difference to the election outcome itself.
Ultimately, as I have previously said, Hillary Clinton had far too much baggage to be anything other than a terrible candidate for the Presidency, and the fact that she was under investigation by the FBI for a by no means insignificant security breach was simply one part of this. If anything, as I have also previously said, it was Hillary Clinton’s foolish attack on Comey in the days following release of his letter that did the greater damage, and which meant that she gained no credit when he eventually cleared her.
Having said all that, I now put on my record belief that neither the episode of the emails, nor the notorious video of Trump’s genuinely sexually offensive comments to Billy Bush, nor Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s performance in the television debates, made any significant difference to the outcome of the election.
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had in their different ways already been very much a part of American public life for many years before the election campaign. The American people had already long since made up their names about both of them.
They had already decided long ago that they didn’t like Hillary Clinton, and the way she conducted her campaign was not going to change it.
By contrast many of them had already decided they liked Donald Trump for all his wild statements and well known peccadilloes, none of which would have surprised or shocked them coming from him, and for which because they liked him and because they recognised him as a political amateur they cut him slack.
Ultimately Donald Trump won the election because he connected with the concerns of millions of American voters in a way that Hillary Clinton with her foolish Russia bashing never did. It is as simple as that.