Hillary Clinton’s campaign was so certain in her victory that her aides reportedly popped open champagne on the campaign plane early on Election Day.
Donald Trump was named the new president-elect of the United States mere hours later after winning several battleground states, stunning Clinton and the rest of the world.
The Clinton campaign’s early champagne-popping is a fitting metaphor to illustrate the attitudes of many leading pundits, journalists and pollsters who gave Republican Donald Trump almost no chance at winning the election.
You may also recall that the Clinton campaign had to cancel a planned election night victory fireworks show over the Hudson River in New York City.
The Democrats’ overconfidence may have been the result of erroneous data from a complex computer algorithm known as “Ada.” The Washington Post has more details:
Ada is a complex computer algorithm that the campaign was prepared to publicly unveil after the election as its invisible guiding hand. Named for a female 19th-century mathematician — Ada, Countess of Lovelace — the algorithm was said to play a role in virtually every strategic decision Clinton aides made, including where and when to deploy the candidate and her battalion of surrogates and where to air television ads — as well as when it was safe to stay dark.
About some things, she was apparently right. Aides say Pennsylvania was pegged as an extremely important state early on, which explains why Clinton was such a frequent visitor and chose to hold her penultimate rally in Philadelphia on Monday night.
But it appears that the importance of other states Clinton would lose — including Michigan and Wisconsin — never became fully apparent or that it was too late once it did.
Additionally, the Clinton campaign was also counting on young, black and Latino voters and “suburban women” to turn out in stronger numbers, The New York Times reported. The campaign’s data suggested they would — but reality turned out to be different.
Clinton's supporters were just as stunned as her campaign on election night. Many of them even burst into tears.
Navin Nayak, the director of opinion research on the Clinton campaign, blamed the stunning upset on FBI Director James Comey.
Just 11 days before the election, Comey announced the FBI was looking into new emails that could be pertinent to its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. The emails were found on a laptop shared by top Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner.
A week later, Comey cleared Clinton for the second time and revealed investigators found no new evidence that she committed any wrongdoing.
“We believe that we lost this election in the last week. Comey's letter in the last 11 days of the election both helped depress our turnout and also drove away some of our critical support among college-educated white voters — particularly in the suburbs,” Nayak said in a statement. “We also think Comey's 2nd letter, which was intended to absolve Sec. Clinton, actually helped to bolster Trump's turnout.”
People will likely be trying to figure out what exactly happened in the 2016 election for a while.