The surprise for the Democratic Party in November 2016 was than too many Americans who had once voted for Barack Obama went for Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton. This is according to an analysis reached by Global Strategy Group, a Democratic political and public relations firm. As told to McClatchy News by GSG Senior VP Matt Canter, Trump was able to turn Obama voters effectively into Republicans accounted for 70 percent of Hillary Clinton's failure in the presidential election. "We have to make sure we learn the right lesson from 2016, that we don't just draw the lesson that makes us feel good at night, make us sleep well at night," said Canter.
According to McClatchy, Canter and other members of Global Strategy Group provided their findings to Democrats in Congress, as well as Democratic operatives. GSG is reportedly seeking to inform leaders of the party about what really happened in the surprise victory for the political tyro, Donald Trump.
A study by the New York Times, published in March, arrived at a similar conclusion. The NYT study showed that Clinton failed to keep together the coalition that swept Obama into the White House twice. The paper concluded that the notion that Clinton’s loss was due to a lack of turnout does not hold much water. "To the extent Democratic turnout was weak, it was mainly among black voters. Even there, the scale of Democratic weakness has been exaggerated," said NYT’s Nick Cohn. "Instead, it's clear that large numbers of white, working-class voters shifted from the Democrats to Mr. Trump."
Cohn said, "Overall, almost one in four of President Obama's 2012 white working-class supporters defected from the Democrats in 2016, either supporting Mr. Trump or voting for a third-party candidate." said Cohn.
A study based on a poll by the University of Virginia Center for Politics underscored Trump’s success at undermining support for Obama. According to UVA Today, the poll of 1,000 Trump voters conducted by the Center by Public Opinion Strategies determined that 20 percent of Trump voters had voted for Obama at least once. It showed that 43 percent of those polled claimed that their vote for Trump was a vote against Clinton.
The McClatchy report showed that some Democrats believe that while even taking into consideration of the above points, if black voters had been more active in Florida and Michigan and matched their 2012 turn-out levels, the victory would have been Clinton;s. Canter told McClatchy begged to differ, saying "This idea that Democrats can somehow ignore this constituency and just turn out more of our voters, the math doesn't work. We have to do both." His conclusion is that the Democratic Party should not become "Republican-lite."
McClatchy reported also that there remains an "active conversation" about whether "persuasion" on the part of Democrats is to blame for the 2016 failure or if it was "turnout." Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, a VP at Third Way, a center-left Democratic think tank, told the news service that there is a realization among Democrats that persuading voters is harder and more costly than mobilizing voters. Some Democrats want to work harder on getting out the vote among persons who already agree with the party, while others are worried that the party no longer knows how to persuade the skeptical and should instead have a dialogue with the already convinced. 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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