Her staffers largely ignored former organizers for Bernie Sanders after Clinton secured the nomination, Asawin Suebsaeng reported for The Daily Beast today. Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb told Suebsaeng, “We not only screamed about this, we wrote memos, we begged.” All to no effect:
“The Clinton campaign believed they had the strongest and brightest people in the room… and they had no concept of why people would choose Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton,” Kleeb continued. “They mocked us, they made fun of us. They always had a… model that was supposed to save the day. We were street activists and they don’t get that. And that’s a fundamental divide. They ran a check-the-box, sanitized campaign. And voters don’t think like that. You don’t win elections that way.”
Multiple Sanders organizers related similar sentiments. Clinton staffers repeatedly rescheduled meetings or ignored them altogether; Robert Becker, who ran the Sanders operation in Iowa and Michigan, said the Clinton campaign only contacted him three weeks before Election Day—once they realized they were losing union votes.
Suebsaeng’s report is in keeping with a Politico article that detailed how Clinton’s campaign lost Michigan due to, among other factors, an unwillingness to listen to people on the ground. But as Suebsaeng notes, the Clinton team has been reluctant to admit that, instead blaming Russia and James Comey and CNN. Though her loss can indeed be partially attributed to the Comey letter and the popularity of Trump’s xenophobia, her campaign is still to blame for a number of significant strategic errors.
If these reports are accurate, Clinton staffers felt they had nothing important to learn from the unexpected success of the Sanders campaign. And there’s still little evidence that they understand how they failed.