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Clinton's Strategic Failure

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Not so long ago, Hillary Clinton seemed to be the inevitable Democratic nominee. Then the voting started and everything fell apart. What went wrong? Karen Tumulty of Time gives us Clinton’s five key mistakes. What’s interesting is that, with better strategists and operatives, Clinton could have likely corrected all five of these missteps. Here they are in shortened form.

1. She misread the mood and tried to run as a Washington insider/incumbent when the electorate was hungry for change.

2. Her strategists didn’t have a good understanding of the nomination rules. Allegedly, chief strategist Mark Penn was actually ignorant of the proportional allocation rule and thought just winning the big states would be enough to secure the nomination.

3. She underestimated the caucus states and chose not to put resources into them because she thought her core voters would be unlikely to caucus.

4. She relied on old money for fundraising and didn’t tap into the new modes of Internet fundraising.

5. She didn’t plan ahead for a long race and was very late to set up operations in states which voted after Super Tuesday.

While I think Barack Obama initially gained traction thanks to his superior style, he won (or soon will officially win) the nomination because of his superior strategy. He outplayed Clinton. Or, if you prefer, Clinton double faulted the match away. Political strategists will long study the failed campaign of Hillary Clinton to see exactly how such an inevitable candidate failed to make it out of the primaries.