Hillary Clinton Spending: Is This The Real Reason She Lost The Election?

Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump on Nov. 8, and a number of reasons have been uttered to explain how it happened.

The race has consumed the media and the American people for about 18 months now, starting with the controversial primaries and going forward into a bitterly divided general campaign.

Many Americans continue to protest the election outcome.

Despite 240 years of using the Electoral College to determine Presidents, there is anger at the fact Hillary Clinton will win 2.7 million more raw votes and still lose the election.

Donald Trump, in contrast, won 38 of 50 states (close to 80 percent of the geographical U.S.) and secured the 306 electoral votes required for the victory.

What has thus far been overlooked — likely because the numbers were still pending until recently — was the role of money in politics.

It has grown over the last 50 years, and campaign spending has largely been seen as a barometer of electoral success. Going into 2016, Trump vowed to self-finance while Hillary Clinton relied on a well-established network of fundraising.

The results, according to a new report from the Daily Mail: Hillary Clinton crushed Donald Trump in campaign spending with $581 million raised versus $340 million, $66 million of which was Trump’s own money.

Put another way, Donald Trump spent half the amount that Hillary Clinton did and earned 62.8 million votes to her 65.5 million.

That means Clinton’s net spending per vote is now at $8.87 to Trump’s $5.41.

Essentially, if Trump were to have spent the same amount of money as Hillary Clinton, and if he had done so with the same rate of return, his popular vote count would have been approximately 107 million to her 65.5 million.

Now, assuming the extra capital outlay resulted in diminished returns by a hypothetical 30 percent, Trump would have still netted around 75 million votes with the same amount of campaign spending as Clinton — more than enough to secure the popular vote.

Trump’s supporters point out that, given this data, winning a popular vote election would have simply required moving the needle a small bit in states with heavy population centers, even if he still lost those states badly (as in New York and California, for instance).

The President-elect might have also vanquished Hillary Clinton if he spent more heavily in middle America to further galvanize a get-out-the-vote effort in the locales that were heavily against her.

There is, of course, a counterargument that claims Hillary Clinton might have run her campaign differently under a popular vote format as well, spending more in “blue wall” states that went in favor of the Republican.

The problem with that argument, however, is that Hillary Clinton did run her campaign as if she were trying to get the most overall votes instead of majority votes in the right locations.

That’s why her campaign spent most of its time appealing to liberal “safe zones” and very little time going for Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and other key midwestern states.

In other words, Hillary Clinton likely would not have campaigned any differently, so her outcome would not have been altered as much as Trump’s might have been in a different election format.

All that said, the bottom line is both candidates knew the rules going in, so they campaigned in a way that made the most sense to them based on those terms.

Trump spent almost half what his opponent did.

Hillary Clinton raised almost $600 million, which is just behind Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 and President Barack Obama’s two runs for President in 2008 and 2012, Metrocosm reports.

In light of these numbers, do you still think Hillary Clinton would have won a popular vote election if those had been the rules of the game? And if so, how do you think she would have managed it given the data above? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Featured Image by Oslo rådhus/Oslo City Hall/Flickr Creative Commons/Resized and Cropped/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]