Karen Tumulty, who I love of course, recently wrote in an online TIME article that Sen. Hillary Clinton made five critical mistakes that’s derailed her campaign. I won’t keep you from them:
1. She misjudged the mood. Tumulty argues that Clinton heavily relied on a “brand name of the Democratic Party and her experience to propel her to the nomination and, ultimately, to the White House. However, Clinton did not take the pulse of the Democratic primary voters, who were ready to “turn the page” from the 90s.
2. She didn’t master the rules. In the article, Tumulty alludes to Harold M. Ickes, who sat by “horrified” as Clinton’s chief strategist Mark Penn “confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state’s 370 delegates.” As we all know, Penn was wrong. Democrats apportion their states delegates according to vote totals, unlike Republicans who have a winner-take-all delegate system.
“How can it possibly be,” Ickes asked, “that the much vaunted chief strategist doesn’t understand proportional allocation?”
3. She underestimated the caucus states. Clinton heavily relied on big states and overlooked caucus states because those who are more likely to support her, women, the elderly and those with blue collar jobs, would be less likely to commit to the caucus process.
4. She relied on old money. Clinton continued to rely on the “shrimp cocktail circuit” for donations and her campaign never really caught onto Internet fund raising.
5. She never counted on a long haul. Clinton banked on winning Iowa early, which would have finished the race (by her calculation). In short, she underestimated the push for something different, which Sen. Obama’s camp offered. She never prepared for contests after the Super Tuesday primaries.
These are all excellent points made by Tumulty. However, I would like to add a sixth mistake Sen. Clinton made: She underestimated the black vote. Sen. Clinton and her advisers never thought they would see the day in which blacks would turn their back on a Democratic “brand name” (Tumulty’s phrase, not mine!).
Sen. Clinton miraculously believed that all she had to do was mention her name and black voters would flock to her campaign. While I don’t believe Sen. Obama was a huge attraction to black voters initially, several oral mishaps (we all know what they were) from Clinton further pushed black voters to back Obama. Not to mention her alignment with BET’s Johnson and the subconscious race baiting Sen. Clinton’s campaign became involved in.
What do you think of Tumulty’s analysis and my sixth addition? Are they accurate? What other mistakes do you think Sen. Clinton made?