It’s been over two months since Donald Trump won enough electoral votes to defeat Hillary Clinton and become president, but there is still widespread disagreement about how it could possibly happen.
Many people blame Clinton for her flaws as a candidate, even though she won nearly 3 million more popular votes than Trump.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden rejected some of these theories and nailed down exactly why Trump was able to squeak by last November.
Biden says he was frustrated during election that the “outrageous” things Trump said pulled focus from the issues: https://t.co/7mSmYDSPRT
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 12, 2017
Look, he lost the popular vote, but for 175,000 votes in three states, it would be a different outcome. So there’s a thousand reasons why you could attribute our candidate’s loss … It could be what happened with the FBI, it could be a whole range of things. But, you know, this is one election where I don’t think the issues really intruded. The University of Pennsylvania, the Annenberg School, they did a study showing how few minutes were devoted to any issue. Look, I’ll lay you eight to five that you go to ask any foreign person who’s not in the news media and say, “What was Hillary’s position on free college? Can you explain it? What was Hillary’s position on helping people with child care?” Those issues never got into the game … All the outrageous things that were said and done by [Trump] sucked all the oxygen out of the air, so there was never a discussion about the economic issues. It never got there … If you get a chance to have to talk about whether or not a candidate groped somebody or whether or not the other candidate’s position is how they fund college tuition, what’s gonna get in the news is whether or not somebody groped somebody.
Biden is exactly right that there is likely a slew of reasons why Hillary Clinton came up short, at least when it came to the three states – Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – that decided the Electoral College. But the argument repeatedly made that Clinton didn’t adequately address the economic needs of middle-class Americans is simply not true.
As the vice president noted, she had a set of concrete, detailed proposals dealing with economic issues that she repeatedly talked about. In fact, as Vox pointed out last month, jobs and the economy were the top-mentioned words in Clinton speeches during the campaign.
The problem wasn’t so much that Clinton’s message was wrong; it’s that the press didn’t cover it, thus the voters who decided the election likely knew very little about the former Secretary of State’s policy proposals – and there were plenty of them that would have made life better for the average American.
In an ideal world where politics is centered around issues that matter, and not driven by 140-character tweets or foreign meddling, Hillary Clinton – not Trump – would be getting sworn in next week.