Hillary’s Failed Class Action

It is finished.

The race is over and somehow Donald Trump came away as the winner. How did we get here? How, when polls had Clinton winning by up to 84%, did Trump pull off “this amazing political feat”? While there are likely numerous avenues we could look at to determine how this happened, one of particular interest is Hillary’s rhetoric surrounding the middle class.

Class Action

While both Trump and Clinton certainly are far removed from the middle class, both attempted to relate to this pivotal class of voters. Class has perhaps been a bigger factor in this election than any election since the time of the New Deal. As discussed in prior posts, Hillary attempted to appeal to the middle class by painting herself as the motherly type who is a champion for families. She tried to reach out to the youth vote by making college free for those in certain brackets. She counted on the minority vote by highlighting Trump’s own racist comments. But these efforts all failed her. Far from just being a revolt by poor whites mad at the current system, Trump’s win relied on the middle-class, the better-educated, and the well-off. Perhaps Trump’s appeal lies in the simple comparison of his slogan to Clinton’s. While Hillary’s entreaties of “I’m with her” or “Stronger Together” are good ideas, they are just that. Ideas. Trump, on the other hand, had a slogan that incited action. “Make America Great Again” calls for a shift. And in winning this election, we see that Trump managed to make that shift happen.

The Leftover People

One author used the phrase “leftover people” to describe those who led Trump to victory. This is a group that Hillary’s rhetoric failed to reach. The working-class voters listened as Donald promised to bring back mining to coal country and institute extreme vetting on refugees. They cheered as he described a 35% tariff on cars imported from Mexican factories. While this was all happening, Clhillary-clinton-concession-speech-b8b2deb3-8588-4ad1-a2f0-c33458bb300dinton focused on climate change and the health of corporations. She spoke of a 500% increase in Syrian refugees and global trade. Clinton’s campaign failed because she failed to create a message that appealed directly to the fears of the middle class. Going forward, we can only hope that Donald Trump puts rhetoric into action and realizes that only through uniting our divided country can we actually make America great again. As Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech this morning, “if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”


Photo Credits 1 and 2

The Buffett Rule

As the 2016 Presidential Race finally comes to an end, it seems as if HRC has the victory in the bag. I think that it will be a close race, but in the end Ms. Clinton will come away with the win. Relating to the middle class is both difficult for both candidates. Trump is a billionaire and even though Hillary was brought up in middle class roots, she has far surpassed those and is now a very wealthy woman who has grown apart from the middle class. While both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both focused on how to better the life of the middle class populations, both of the candidates went about addressing it in several different ways.

Ms. Clinton gave five ideas in her campaign in order to boost the economy. One of the main ideas behind her thoughts was to not raise taxes on the middle class. One proposed tactic to help with this was called the “Buffett Rule.” This stated that anyone who had an income over over one million dollars, must pay at the minimum 30% in taxes. Along with that, anyone who made over five million dollars would require a 4% surcharge. Named after close friend and billionaire, Warren Buffett, Hillary wants to use this proposed rule in order to persuade the middle class American people. Rhetorically speaking, if she can appeal to her specific audience of the middle class by persuading them by the proposed Buffett Rule, Hillary just gained a huge advantage over her opponent.

You Heard It Here First

A Candidate for The Middle Class

As the campaign comes to a close and a Clinton victory seems imminent, I thought it would be useful to compile some of the most important promises that she has made to help the middle class. Over the last few months Clinton has proliferated a narrative that she is the better choice for “working families” and is more in touch with middle class values than her counterpart. Whether or not these claims will hold true, they have been a cornerstone of her rhetoric and have likely attracted voters.

Her Three Biggest Promises

Though Clinton has suggested a number of policies and policy changes during the 2016 race, I believe that the three most significant that could affect the middle class are: raising the minimum wage, making college tuition free (for some), and cutting taxes on middle class families. The viability and breakdown of these policies remains to be seen, but pending a Clinton victory, I think that these three policies will have the greatest impact on her ultimate legacy.

  1. Clinton has announced intentions to raise the minimum wage to $12/hr. This would be the highest minimum wage ever recorded in US history. This article outlines the original context of the proposal and breaks down its potential benefits and flaws.
  2. As for expanding access to college education, Clinton has suggested that tuition should be free for some families. At first, families making less than $85,000 annually would be eligible, and this figure would ideally increase to $125,000 by 2021.
  3. With regard to cutting taxes on middle class families, Clinton has focused especially on “working” families with young children. Specifically, she has proposed doubling the child tax credit.

Overall Impact

Assuming a Clinton victory, it will be interesting to see how the policies that helped her get into the White House are actually implemented. If the Senate and House of Representatives end up with heavy republican leanings, these policies might prove difficult to implement. Nevertheless, Clinton’s rhetoric regarding the middle class thus far has served her well in reaching a commanding lead over Trump.

The Wal-Mart Moms of 2016

The Clinton campaign’ ad strategy is simple: show clips of Donald Trump talking. That’s it and it’s brilliant because Donald Trump has a hard time attacking an ad of himself. The decision has proven to be one of Clinton’s most effective tools. For example, Hillary Clinton continues to attack Donald Trump with the ad “Mirrors.” In the video, young girls look at themselves in mirrors a for his treatment towards women. And why wouldn’t Clinton? Despite her recent FBI email controversy, Trump’s Twitter attacks, fat-shaming, sexual assault and rape accusations tug on voter’s emotions, which is more effective than any email will ever be during an election.

Donald Trump’s behavior has not only cost him a majority of the female vote, but a recent New York Times poll illustrates how his comments have a much bigger impact than originally calculated. Released November 4th, a New York Times poll, showed findings from 332 teenage girls from two high schools, one in a liberal city and the other in a conservative small-town.

Forty-four percent of the girls stated they would vote for Clinton if they were of age, while fifteen percent stated they would vote for Trump. All of the teenage girls had heard Trump’s comments about women and forty-two percent said he had affected the way they thought about their bodies. One girl stated, “That hits me hard when people like Trump say people who are skinnier than I am are too big. It makes me feel extremely insecure about myself.”

While these girls cannot vote this coming Tuesday, their family members can. Mothers may be influenced if they see their teenage daughter questioning her worth or shaming her body. Middle-class, suburban mothers have proven to be key swing voters for decades, but the pressure to secure the middle-class mom vote is even higher.

Wal-Mart Moms

These swing voters are best known by their stereotyped label given in each election cycle by pollsters. For example, they were known as the soccer moms of 1996, and security moms and Nascar dads of 2004. Neil Newhouse, of Public Opinion Strategies, first coined the term for the voting group in 2007 and described the voters as a “mix of ethnicity, white, minority, and they’re living on the edge of the economy. When the economy catches a cold, they catch the flu…They’re trying to make ends meet and figure out if they can pay for piano lessons for the kids or gas for the car.”

As expected Wal-Mart Moms are still the key swing voter group for 2016 and are estimated to take up 14 to 17 percent of the electorate. Wal-Mart Moms helped push Obama to victory in 2008 and 2012 but voted Republican during the midterms. They are the voting group both candidates are fighting for and may decide the outcome of this election. That’s why the responses from the teenage girls in the New York Times poll is so important. Wal-Mart Moms traditionally vote on family issues, and when a teenager shows the possible consequences before the election is even over, that is cause for concern for the Trump campaign.

A Plea for Future Generations

Hillary Clinton has attempted to appeal to the Wal-Mart Moms since the start of the general election with her economic policies, middle-class tax cuts, and debt-free college tuition plans. However, given the unpredictable nature of the 2016 campaign, her ads have created a new dimension, intersecting the values seen in ‘Wal-Mart Moms’ and contrasting them with Donald Trump. Her “Mirrors” ad ends with a black screen displaying a single question: “Is this the president we want for our daughters?”

In an ad of similar style titled “Role Models,” young children are seen watching Trump’s controversial rhetoric and behavior on television. The ad then cuts to Hillary Clinton at a rally delivering these words to the crowd,

“Our children and grandchildren will look back at this time, at the choices, we are about to make, the goals we will strive for, the principles we will live by, and we need to make sure that they can be proud of us.”


The Race is Almost Over


With the election being less than a week away, I am still not sure Clinton has accomplished getting the middle class over to her side. She needs to be seen as someone the voters can trust and can depend on and with the recent re-opening of her email case, her trustworthiness has come into question. Now, it may not be just the middle class votes she needs to be worrying about. I believe this definitely destroys her ethos as it takes away her credibility to truly be a fit, presidential candidate. She has definitely given Americans several reasons to question her credibility and trustworthiness. Is it possible to trust someone who is under investigation to honestly care for the middle class, or America in general?

According to recent polls, she no longer has the lead on Trump that she previously had. Clinton’s “once commanding national lead has collapsed to less than two points”. The way “Americans’ view her just hit a record low” as well with her un- favorability rating being 55.1 %.The foundation of her campaign and what she says she stands for, seems to be crumbling. With her foundation crumbling, the middle class as well as other voters are considering whether voting for her is the best choice and if she is fit to be the President of the United States. The middle class votes might be just what Clinton needs to tip the scale in her favor and become the President.  We will find out next Tuesday whether she has accomplished her goals and won over the middle class.

Battling for the Middle Class

Hillary ClintonThe Florida Battleground

With less than a week before the election takes place, both camps are doubling down on their efforts in important battleground states. Florida in particular is vital for Trump to win. Without Florida’s 29 electoral votes, Trump would have to win Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada. Strategists on both sides of the aisle agree that Clinton winning Florida means a national win for her. With Florida playing such a significant role, it’s interesting to note the differing communication strategies Trump and Clinton are utilizing there.

The Hassling Hustle

Since early voting began on October 25, Clinton and her surrogates have been heavily present in clf10-clinton-new-pppFlorida, with Hillary visiting 3 different cities in just one week. Donald, on the other hand, has made only two visits since October 25. While Trump has been using locations that garner massive crowds, Clinton has been appealing to the coveted middle class voter set by visiting smaller locations, always a short stroll from an early voting site. This tactic proved extremely successful for Obama in both 2008 and 2012. Clinton’s people are spending more time than ever communicating with Democrats who have voted only sporadically in the past. One staffer even joked, “we’re definitely hassling you.” The Clinton camp realizes that now is not the time for large rallies that energize a solid base. Now is the time to go into towns and talk to independents to energize new voters.

Polling Results

So is this strategy working? While we might have to wait until next Tuesday to find out, a recent poll has Hillary winning Florida by 2.6 percentage points. Another poll states that Hillary is already winning 28% of registered Republicans in Florida. These polls reinforce the fact that the middle class in Florida wants to be spoken to. Not just spoken about in large rallies. By meeting in more intimate locations that are located within individual communities, Clinton is communicating directly to voters about the middle class themes that have already dominated her campaign. If her camp maintains this drive, they can motivate voters to go to the polls and vote for Hillary. As Clinton herself said, “If we can keep this up, there is no doubt. If we vote, we win.”


Photo credits 1 and 2

Hillary’s new tactic


As we draw closer and closer to election day, both Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns are still just as surprising as they were when they began. As I am sure you all have heard, FBI director James Coney has decided to reopen and reinvestigate the Hillary Clinton email scandal that has already been thoroughly investigated earlier in the year. With all this added pressure on her plate, Hillary can’t budge with her campaign. She has to continue to work through adversity and gain her votes.

Ms. Clinton’s past rhetoric of attempting to paint a picture to her middle-class audience by telling a heartfelt and somber story of how she was brought up in a working, middle class family was effective at the time, it isn’t as useful anymore. This might have hit home with some voters, or at least up until Clinton said she was far removed from the middle class. With the reopening of the email case, she is losing fans and more importantly valuable votes from the middle class of our nation. Hillary just has to stick to her guns and not give up, especially with Trump being more favored than her in some of the polls and election websites.

Clinton’s best bet in not losing anymore votes from the middle class is to continue to attack Donald Trump. One effective strategy that she has previously done is openly bash him about his treatment and how he considers women. In this advertisement paid for by the Clinton Foundation, Hillary appeals to the feelings of her audience, particularly her female audience. Trying to make Trump appear unfit and unstable, in my opinion, is the only hope that Hillary Clinton has at this point to turn the odds back in her favor.

The True Role of Middle Class Rhetoric

At this point in Clinton and Trump’s race for the White House, I feel confident that there has never been an election where the issues matter less. This is not to say that people will not still vote based on their policy tendencies, but given the personalities, unanswered questions, indiscretions, and possible corruption in both candidates, the choice at this point seems to revolve more around personality and less around policy.

Analyzing the current state of the election in the context of Hillary’s rhetoric of middle class voters is a challenge. Between leaked emails and tax returns, Clinton’s ability to relate to middle class voters on a genuine level is completely diminished. While Clinton was able to establish and promote a nostalgic narrative of her father’s workshop and her middle class upbringing in the first debate, greater issues took priority in the race and drowned out her ability to promote this narrative. I feel strongly that the 2016 vote will not be greatly characterized by the Middle Class’ favor of one candidate.

For the next week, I think that Hillary’s best strategy will be highlighting Trump’s recklessness and unfit nature for office. As of writing this post, many of her tweets reflect this tactic. Based on twitter activity, it almost seems that Hillary is in the same position as Trump was in the third debate; a position where she must use extreme tactics to deflect attention and blame in light of a recent scandal. While policies benefitting the middle class will still play a part in who we elect as our next president, I simply believe that other issues will have a greater effect on the outcome.

1 Tweet: 12 Staffers


1 Tweet: 12 Staffers

It is safe to say Hillary Clinton has not had a good weekend. The days following FBI Director James Comey’s decision to re-investigate emails related to Hillary Clinton’s personal server, Clinton’s campaign has been furiously sending out social media posts reiterating her positions and attacking Comey and her opponent Donald Trump. In light of a new email chain released by WikiLeaks detailing how it took 12 staffers, 12 hours, and 10 drafts to compose a tweet about minimum wage, one can only imagine the work being put in by staffers after the Comey surprise.

Fight for 15

12 staffers, 12 hours, and 10 drafts. Sounds crazy, right? However, in today’s election, a tweet can cost voters. The Clinton campaign is still using Donald Trump’s 3 AM tweets about Alicia Machado to attack his moral character, instability, and fitness to serve as commander and chief.

In April of 2015, low-wage workers and child care workers nationwide demanded minimum wage be raised to 15 dollars an hour and people worldwide demonstrated their support on social media platforms by using the hashtag #fightfor15. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Chief of Staff reached out to the Clinton staff in hopes they would show support for increasing wages for underpaid workers. The Clinton campaign was in a tight position: seize the opportunity to appeal to middle and working class voters, or risk sounding off-policy. The camp decided the middle and working class vote was worth it but apparently, forming the right words was harder than imagined.

Over twenty emails with various drafts were exchanged between 12 staffers including Campaign Chairman, John Podesta, Chief Strategist, Joel Benenson, and Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri.

Different versions of the desired message included:

#1 – “Every American deserves a fair shot at success with a true living wage. I stand with fast food workers in the #fightfor15. -H”

#2 – “Every American deserves a fair shot at success with a true living wage. I applaud fast food workers in their #fightfor15. -H”

#3 – “With corporate profits at record highs, it’s time for a real raise for all working Americans.”

#4 – “Every American deserves a fair shot at success with a true living wage. I stand with fast food workers in the #fightfor15. -H”

#5 “Every American deserves a fair shot at success. Fast food & child care workers shouldn’t have to march in streets for living wages #Fightfor15”

#6 “Every American deserves a fair shot at success. Fast food & child care workers shouldn’t have to march in streets for living wages.”

#7- “Every American deserves a fair shot at success. Fast food & child care workers shouldn’t have to march in streets for living wages. -H”

#8- “Every American deserves a fair shot at success. Fast food & child care workers shouldn’t have to march for living wages. #fightfor15 –H

#9- “Every American deserves a fair shot at success. Fast food & child care workers shouldn’t have to march in streets for living wages. -H”

#10- “Every American deserves a fair shot at success. Fast food & child care workers shouldn’t have to march in streets for living wages. –HRC”

* The final tweet never ended up on Clinton’s Twitter page but was tweeted from an “unofficial” account, Clinton News.

Clinton’s Disconnect

So there you have it. Finally, a behind-the-scenes look into Clinton’s media pages, but it makes you wonder, is the Trump Campaign dealing with the inefficiency in tweeting seen in the email chain above? Probably not but whether or not that benefits them is another story. However, the email chain reveals two other pieces of information besides the communication team’s inefficiency. First, Hillary Clinton is not writing the tweets despite the attached ‘H.’ Second, to prevent an attack from the opposition, staffers immediately delete the two words that would connect Clinton with her media followers, “I stand.”

If Clinton drafted her own tweets and used language that made her messages more personal, maybe she wouldn’t be perceived as cold, robotic, and unapproachable. Her distant and disconnected persona has not helped her gain supporters, and that image can only hurt worse when combined with another FBI investigation.


Always Back and Forth


When it comes to appealing to the voters Hillary Clinton needs, she always takes one step forward and two steps back. She has used some effective and some not-so effective strategies to get the middle class vote. But when she decided to call half of the Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables” when speaking in New York for the Hillary Gala, she may have negatively affected her chances of gaining those votes. She presented her message to the audience present. It is possible she did not consider the message may reach a broader audience. Also because she was at her own rally, she may have thought she was in a safe-place to say her statement.

In a recent poll, it shows Trump losing middle-class rust belt voters to Clinton by a significant amount.  The poll shows Clinton ahead by 7 points. Although she is leading as of now in the rust belt states, if she continues to say offensive remarks about the middle class that trend may not continue especially with 56 percent of them viewing her as unfavorable. Her message seems to appeal to a narrow audience rather than the entire middle class.

One red state Clinton is trying to win over is Georgia. A democratic presidential candidate has not won the state of Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. Although it is a very tight race in Georgia, she may think she has a better chance in getting their votes because her husband was able to win over the voters in a normally Republican state. With the election being only a little over a week away, it will be interesting to see how the middle class votes, not just in Georgia, but everywhere.