Elections have themes. The themes are natural products of the voters, or themes created by political parties. Sometimes the voter and party themes coincide, sometimes not. The 2016 Presidential election was of the latter type.
In elections when there is an incumbent President, keeping or dismissing the leader is always a present theme. When there is a war, supporting the commander in chief is an add-on. In 2016, the natural theme was No More Business as Usual. Loud and clear. It is why Bernie Sanders, an Independent, was able to mount a strong campaign in the Democratic primaries, and why Donald Trump was nominated.
But there was another theme at work. After John Kerry lost in 2004, the Democrats developed the Elect the First Woman President theme. There was no doubt who that woman would be: Hillary Clinton. When the 2008 nominating season came along, up popped an eloquent, charismatic black man, and so the theme morphed into Elect the First Black President. The original theme remained however, but was aimed at the next appropriate election, 2016.
Starting in the early 1990s, the Republicans missed no opportunity to heap bad thoughts on and about Hillary Clinton. Hillary, being a closed person, did not effectively defend herself. By the time 2016 came around, she was the least liked woman among Democrats and Independents, and the most reviled woman among Republicans. Democrats tried to replace the natural No More Business as Usual theme with their Elect the First Woman President theme. But they failed to consider the stature of their instrument, Hillary. The voters didn’t buy it. Now I would like to have a woman President. It’s time, and it might bring some anti-business as usual changes. Perhaps, in the future, Elizabeth Warren or Michelle Obama might run, but it should not be when it’s necessary to push aside a natural, voter supplied theme. That’s foolish.