A former aide to Bill Clinton says former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton failed in a “miserable” way to communicate with white evangelical Christians in the 2016 election campaign.
Matthew Bennett, who now funds Third Way, a liberal think-tank that celebrates its “modern center-left ideas,” says the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee will have to make a much better showing if he or she is to capture enough of the evangelical vote to win.
The Christian Post reports that Bennett made the observations last weekend at the Michael Cromartie Forum that was organized by the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Estimates based on exit polls suggest that 16 percent of white evangelicals voted for Clinton in 2016, compared to Barack Obama’s 24 percent in 2008 — although that support slipped to 21 percent in 2012. White evangelicals have overwhelmingly supported Republican presidential candidates at least since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Bennett says the mistake that Clinton and the Democrats made in 2016 was to constantly tweak the campaign message depending upon who the audience was, instead of sticking to “a narrative that can be broadly useful.”
Bennett notes that Bill Clinton kept his messaging remarkably simple — almost vague — and that it could be used just about anywhere.
“When I worked for Bill Clinton, he would say everywhere, ‘If you work hard and play by the rules, you should get a fair shake.’ He would say that every single place he went, no matter what he was doing.”
That wasn’t the case with Hillary, who “said a different thing in every place she went and she was nuanced and she was sophisticated and it was a disaster.”
Bennett also suggested that Democrats were over the top on left-wing social issues like transgender rights and pushed these contentious issues that alienated socially conservative voters.