Canadian Report Explains Why Clinton Lost 2016 Election

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
Font Size:

A report prepared by the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. attempted to explain the shock of Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. It contended that Clinton under-performed among minority voters and led a fundamentally flawed campaign.

The document was obtained by Postmedia this week through an access to information request. The document gives an interesting look into how surprised Canadian officials — north and south of the border — were at Clinton’s loss and Donald Trump’s victory.

Embassy staffers prepared the report for David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, and the department of global affairs, sending it on Nov. 11 in the wake of Trump’s stunning upset.

Canadian media — like a lot of U.S. media — demonstrated blatant bias in favor of Clinton. Just a week before the election, the liberal Toronto Star ran a headline that read “It’s not even close,” suggesting Clinton would run away with the presidency.

The embassy explained Clinton’s loss by saying she performed poorly with the Democratic voter base of African-Americans, Latinos and Asians.

“Clinton fell behind Obama’s showing among African-Americans by five points, among Hispanics by six points, and among Asians by 12 points. Her under-performance with these communities rendered Mr. Trump’s over-performance with whites that much more significant,” said embassy staffer Meaghan Sunderland.

Sunderland concentrated on the conflicting demographic vote in America and relied on data obtained from early voting and exit polling. She flatly said that Trump won the election because of his strong support among white voters and that Clinton did not overcome his advantage because she failed to capture the minority vote to the same extent that Obama did four years earlier.

“White voters make up 70 per cent of the U.S. electorate (down from 84 per cent in 1984) and they overwhelmingly preferred Trump over Clinton (58 per cent to 37 per cent). This in itself is not terribly surprising, since Mitt Romney won whites by only one point less in 2012. But if Hillary Clinton was looking to make up for that difference with an outpouring of support from minorities, that support didn’t manifest itself sufficiently,” Sunderland explained.

Global Affairs Canada offered a talking point when asked by the National Post if they would care to discuss the embassy’s analysis:

“The relationship between Canada and the United States is unique and unparalleled. We have the longest, most peaceful, and mutually beneficial partnership of any two countries, forged by shared geography, common interests, and one of the largest and most comprehensive economic relationships in the world.”

In terms of why Trump won — as opposed to why Clinton lost — the embassy report suggested the American voters’ desire for change overcame any qualms voters possessed about Trump. Significantly, the author suggested that Clinton’s campaign strategy was misguided because it focused almost entirely on college educated, urban voters.

“This election, one-third of the 700 counties that twice supported Obama flipped to support Trump. Those counties are, on average, 81 per cent white,” Sunderland wrote.

Follow David on Twitter