Politics

Dem Rep.: Clinton Ignored Signs Of Trump's Momentum

| by Nik Bonopartis

In all the postmortems and introspections that have been penned since Donald Trump's historic victory over Hillary Clinton, one repeating refrain is that Clinton was tone-deaf -- that she tried to cruise to victory, that she didn't heed early warning signs, and that she didn't listen to people who told her that her coziness with Wall Street was a major liability at a time when people were suffering economically.

Now a Democratic congresswoman from Michigan is adding her own anecdotes to the pile, writing in a Washington Post op-ed that she was ignored and waved off when she tried to tell the Clinton campaign that voters in her state were drifting to Trump.

Rep. Debbie Dingell said she first warned Democrats and the Clinton campaign earlier this year, when voters in her state were defecting to Vermon Sen. Bernie Sanders. During the primaries Sanders crisscrossed Michigan on 10 separate visits, while Clinton visited the state only once at the 11th hour.

It was a state Sanders won, just like Trump did in the general election.

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The Sanders win "didn’t surprise me, but it did infuriate me that Clinton and her team didn’t show up until the weekend before the primary, when it suddenly became clear they had a problem," Dingell wrote. "I took Bill Clinton grocery shopping that Saturday — too little, way too late. They never stopped on a campus; never went to a union hall; never talked to the Arab American community."

Before Nov. 8, Michigan hadn't gone for a Republican since 1988, when George H.W. Bush defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis.

But Dingell said she saw plenty of warning signs that her constituents were rethinking their loyalty to Democrats, including blue-collar, union members who had once been reliable voters for the party.

It wasn't just them -- Dingell noted her district covers a wide range of locales, including a college town, a city with serious crime problems, the country's largest Muslim population in Dearborn, and many communities where people depend on manufacturing jobs.

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"I observed that Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination for president," Dingell said. "And at Rotary clubs, local chambers of commerce, union halls and mosques, I noted that we could see a Trump presidency."

Since election day gloating Trump supporters, political scientists and others have resurrected a series of news clips with analysts predicting a Trump nomination or presidency, and the almost universally derisive, amused responses they received from colleagues.

There's the one from 2015 with Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison telling George Stephanopoulos and New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman that Trump had momentum and could win the Republican primaries. Stephanopoulos enjoyed a hearty laugh, while Haberman -- later identified in Wikileaks emails as one of the Clinton campaign's favorite reporters -- doubled over in laughter, dismissing Ellison's warning.

There's another from "Real Time with Bill Maher," when the HBO host asks Ann Coulter which Republican candidate had the best chance of winning the general election. Coulter named Trump, and the audience exploded in disbelieving, mocking laughter, joined by MSNBC's Joy-Ann Reid.

The response Dingell received wasn't any different.

"I was the crazy one," Dingell wrote, describing how Democrats wouldn't take her warnings about Trump seriously: "'That’s Debbie, it’s hyperbole, she is nuts.'"

Sources: Washington Post, Real Clear Politics, Rep. Keith Ellison/YouTube, The Intercept / Photo credit: YouTube

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