Roughly eight months after President Donald Trump won the White House, Democratic leadership has finally conceded that blame for the loss rests squarely with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York criticized the party’s failure to express a clear political vision beyond opposition to Trump during a July 22 interview.
“When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself. So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that,” Schumer told the Washington Post.
Schumer presented the Democrats’ new economic platform, billed as “a better deal,” as the answer to the messaging problem that he believes resulted in their 2016 defeat. The recently released platform seeks to win back working class Democratic defectors by casting the party as the defender of blue collar interests over those of corporations.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Schumer in assigning blame for the loss to the Clinton campaign, but maintained that the conduct of former FBI Director James Comey and Russian meddling in the election had “an influence.”
“Well I think that they had an influence. There is absolutely no question about that, but when you have a campaign, you’re responsible for your campaign. I don’t even want to go into that,” Schumer told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday.
These statements, made more than eight months after the election, represent the first instance in which Democratic leadership has publicly recognized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s failure to offer a compelling campaign message.
Clinton was unwilling to accept responsibility for the loss as late as four months after the election. During a May interview at the Code Conference, she conceded that she “made mistakes,” but maintained “that’s not why [she] lost.”
Rather than focus on her campaign decisions, Clinton provided a list of factors outside her control, which she believes lost her the campaign.
“I get the nomination, and I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party,” Clinton said. “It was bankrupt. It was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into the DNC to keep it going.”