All errors should be reported to

Friday, January 04, 2019

War cost Hillary the White House

Professors Douglas L. Kriner of Boston University and Francis X. Shen of the University of Minnesota Law School have an interesting take on Hillary's colossal loss in the 2016.

They argue that her support of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as her bombing of Libya, tipped enough voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin to allow Donald John Trump to score the biggest upset in American history.

They wrote a paper, "Battlefield Casualties and Ballot Box Defeat: Did the Bush-Obama Wars Cost Clinton the White House?" in June 2017 that I discovered yesterday. It is here.

In their abstract, they wrote, "America has been at war continuously for over 15 years, but few Americans seem to notice. This is because the vast majority of citizens have no direct connection to those soldiers fighting, dying, and returning wounded from combat.

"Increasingly, a divide is emerging between communities whose young people are dying to defend the country, and those communities whose young people are not. In this paper we empirically explore whether this divide — the casualty gap — contributed to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November 2016.

"The data analysis presented in this working paper finds that indeed, in the 2016 election Trump was speaking to this forgotten part of America. Even controlling in a statistical model for many other alternative explanations, we find that there is a significant and meaningful relationship between a community’s rate of military sacrifice and its support for Trump.

"Our statistical model suggests that if three states key to Trump’s victory – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – had suffered even a modestly lower casualty rate, all three could have flipped from red to blue and sent Hillary Clinton to the White House. There are many implications of our findings, but none as important as what this means for Trump’s foreign policy.

"If Trump wants to win again in 2020, his electoral fate may well rest on the administration’s approach to the human costs of war. Trump should remain highly sensitive to American combat casualties, lest he become yet another politician who overlooks the invisible inequality of military sacrifice. More broadly, the findings suggest that politicians from both parties would do well to more directly recognize and address the needs of those communities whose young women and men are making the ultimate sacrifice for the country."

The paper considered his hawkish views on the military, which he wants to strengthen. But Trump also campaigned against the wars.

The professors wrote, "While few Republicans openly lauded the Iraq War in 2016, Trump vehemently denounced it and the Republican president who waged it. In a nationally televised debate before the South Carolina primary, Trump minced few words: 'I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none.'"

In this way, President Trump aligned himself with most people in the military. They love their jobs and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to protect America.

But they oppose squandering our military on stupid wars.

The professors wrote, "Trump promised a foreign policy that would be both simultaneously more muscular and more restrained. Trump promised to rebuild and refocus the military: 'Our active duty armed forces have shrunk from 2 million in 1991 to about 1.3 million today. … Our military is depleted, and we’re asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming.' And he also promised to be much more reticent in its use: 'Our friends and enemies must know that if I draw a line in the sand, I will enforce it. However, unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct. You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are signs of strength.'"

How odd that so many Democrats under Obama were willing to spend hundreds of billions on foreign wars, but are virulently opposed to spending 1% of that on a wall that actually would protect the nation.

In 1868, General Ulysses S. Grant won the presidency with the slogan "Vote as You Shot." Thus he tapped into the votes of the soldiers he led to victory in the Civil War.

There is no doubt that President Trump also tapped into the feelings of many military voters. Enough to win? Every vote mattered and many votes came from many sources for different reasons.

One thing is for sure, as president, he is strengthening the military while being very careful in its use. Many are those in the military who are grateful for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


  1. Get out of Afghanistan next. If those effers want to live in the 6th Century, let em. No mas.

  2. Grant also campaigned on the slogan, "Let us Have Peace." (Which is carved above the main door of Grant's Tomb in New York.) He knew everyone had had enough of war.

  3. Apparently, the parents of good young men and women in the flyover states are somewhat annoyed that their kids are dying so Chad and Marcie Elite can put their sallow-skinned SJW kids through an Ivy League school and not be bothered by any of the fighting and dying.

    If you ask me, that's kinda uppity of them. Don't they know their place?

    It all reminds me of that Pink Floyd song, "Us and Them", particularly this lyric...

    "Forward he cried, from the rear, and the front rank died.

    I missed that part of Churchill's speech where he said,
    "I have nothing to offer but your blood, toil, tears, and sweat."

    1. "Forward he cried, from the rear..." somehow reminds me of a certain bottom-feeder who led from behind, where he was perfectly safe.

      Anybody remember that guy? He drew a lot of flies.

  4. That is one of at least a dozen stark differences between PDJT and Hillary Rodham. Each converted or convinced voters that he was the only choice.

  5. I think it also mattered that she was a bitch. That was big on my card.

    1. Not to mention the extreme policies she was advocating and abiding by.

    2. And death. Lots of death. It appears to be quite unhealthy to be her associate, subordinate, or somewhere in her orbit.

    3. I am sure she lost some votes due to arkanicide.

  6. At least Churchill had already experienced the "blood, toil, tears, and sweat."

  7. Reckon it was the True Believers that got President Trump elected.

  8. Great find, Don

  9. "Trump should remain highly sensitive to American combat casualties, lest he become yet another politician who overlooks the invisible inequality of military sacrifice."

    "[S]hould remain highly sensitive" is what a consultant would advise a politician. It's advice you'd never have to give President Trump.

  10. "We can't just leave! It's a gift to Iran! Not like a pallet of hundred dollar bills, but still a gift! It's a gift to Putin, too! Not like our uranium, but still a gift! Endless War against Innocent Muslims for Big Oil Forever!"--Rachel Maddow-Cheney

    btw, I think a lot of that Mid-Western support was for ending bad trade deals and finally standing up to China, something our wholly-owned Elites refu$ed to do.

  11. Btw, a bit off topic, but did anyone notice the December jobs report: 312,000 jobs were added last month. Wall Street analysts had anticipated an increase of about 180,000. It was the biggest monthly gain since 324,000 jobs were added in February. Including revisions, the monthly average for October, November and December was 254,000.

  12. Still bitter that Hillary lost. Interesting.