Democrats are finally beginning to put the blame of the election loss on the one person it belongs: Hillary Clinton. In an interview on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden identified the reason Hillary Clinton’s campaign just couldn’t connect with voters – she had no “vision” about why she was actually running.
“I don’t think she ever really figured it out,” Biden said. “And by the way, I think it was really hard for her to decide to run.”
Clinton’s decision to run did not reflect raw ambition or a desire to move back to the White House, he said, calling those characterizations of her unfair. Instead, he said, he saw her decision to run as ultimately stemming from a sense of duty and her belief that her victory “would have opened up a whole range of new vistas to women” in a similar way that Obama’s had for African Americans.
“She thought she had no choice but to run. That, as the first woman who had an opportunity to win the presidency, I think it was a real burden on her,” he said.
This had been a criticism of Clinton from the beginning of the campaign from supporters and detractors alike, as political observers on both sides have noted that Clinton seemed to have little persuasive message other than the historic nature of her candidacy.
Biden also indicated that he accepts that Democrats’ unwillingness to craft a message that resonated in middle America was likely the result of elitism:
“I believe that we were not letting an awful lot of people — high school-educated, mostly Caucasian, but also people of color — know that we understood their problems.”
There’s “a bit of elitism that’s crept in” to party thinking, he worries, setting up what he sees as the false impression that progressive values are inconsistent with working-class values.
“What are the arguments we’re hearing? ‘Well, we’ve got to be more progressive.’ I’m not saying we should be less progressive,” he said, adding that he would “stack my progressive credentials against anyone” in the party.
“We should be proud of where the hell we are, and not yield an inch. But,” he added, “in the meantime, you can’t eat equality. You know?”
Many on the left have resorted to conspiracy theories and histrionic accusations of racism, sexism, and Russian interference as the cause of Hillary’s loss, and few are able to step back objectively and assess their loss. As many on the right have pointed out, it’s rather ridiculous to believe a majority white nation voted for a black president twice, and then suddenly discovered their inveterate racism just in time to reject his legacy 8 years in.
Biden himself rejects the simplistic scapegoating:
“They’re all the people I grew up with. They’re their kids. And they’re not racist. They’re not sexist. But we didn’t talk to them.”
As much ridicule as the outgoing vice president inspires from the right, his prognosis for the Democratic Party will save them from their elitist arrogance – if they have ears to hear.