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Former Hillary Clinton advisor reveals how Joe Biden can avoid her US election mistakes

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For many commentators, Mrs Clinton’s defeat came as a shock, but one of her former advisors has shared insight into how Biden can avoid making the same mistakes she did in the lead up to the November election. The former Secretary of State received nearly three million more votes than Trump. But the electoral college format of the elections meant the votes Trump picked up translate into more electoral votes.

Professor James Davis of the University of St.Gallen advised Mrs Clinton’s campaign on foreign and defence policy.

He told express.co.uk: “Hillary Clinton was convinced that the Democratic Party’s “Blue Wall” especially in the Middle West would hold. Consequently, more resources were devoted to swing states. But Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin all broke for Donald Trump. The fact that Clinton had not visited Wisconsin after her nomination is indicative of how the campaign’s blind spot. Biden is unlikely to make a similar mistake. In fact, he has made Pennsylvania his campaign headquarters and has targeted campaign adds to the specific issues facing Michigan and Wisconsin.

“A second failure of the Clinton campaign was to assume that widespread antipathy toward Trump meant that American’s were not concerned about policy. So Clinton hammered on Trump’s lack of experience and weak character to make the case that he was unfit for office. Somehow her own vision for the future faded from view. Meanwhile an electorate anxious about the future saw something appealing in Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. The Biden campaign cannot just make the election a debate about Trump’s character. Americans know Trump. What Biden needs to do is point to the failures of the Trump Administration’s policies and present a compelling alternative vision for the future of America.”

The four states mentioned by Professor Davis equate to 66 electoral votes, and Mrs Clinton was only ten more electoral votes behind Mr Trump.

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Joe Biden is the Democrat nominee for the Presidential election (Image: GETTY)

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Donald Trump is the incumbent (Image: GETTY)

During Mrs Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, she became under scrutiny for using a private email server for official communications.

Two days before the election, then FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the Bureau found no evidence of criminality in revelations of a new batch of emails.

In July 2016, the FBI initially concluded that no “reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against her but she and her aides were “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information.

Professor Davis added: “Something the Clinton campaign underestimated was the degree to which many middle of the road Americans questioned her personal ethics. She failed to get out in front of the charges of ethical or legal impropriety (i.e. private email server) believing these charges were a side-show created by Trump to distract from his own indiscretions.

READ MORE: Trump humiliated as rival Biden scores record funds

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Mr Biden and Hillary Clinton both served in the Obama administration (Image: GETTY)

“Finally, Clinton underestimated the disappointment among the supporters of Bernie Sanders that he was not the nominee. She did too little to reach out to them, especially younger voters, who did not show up to the polls in large numbers.”

Mr Sanders, a Vermont senator is widely considered to be a more left-leaning Democrat.

Though in the 2016 primaries, he polled more than three million behind Mrs Clinton, he won 23 of the 57 races.

The races took place in all 50 US states, the District of Colombia, five US territories and Democrats Abroad.

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James Comey is a former FBI director (Image: GETTY)

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Kamala Harris is the bookies favourite to be Mr Biden’s VP nominee (Image: GETTY)

Mrs Clinton was the first woman to secure a nomination for a major party.

Professor Davis acknowledges this is something that may have helped her campaign: “That is an incredible and historic accomplishment and generated a lot of excitement in women of her generation.

“And this came on the heels of the historic Obama presidency. Biden is another ‘old white male’.

TRUMP FAMILY TREE

The Trump family tree (Image: EXPRESS)

“It is harder for him to generate the sense that his campaign is in some way historic. His best chance to do so is with his vice-presidential choice. A black woman would echo the history-making campaigns of both Obama and Clinton.”

According to Oddschecker, the three favourites for Mr Biden’s Vice-Presidential nominee are California Senator Kamala Harris, Florida Congresswoman Val Demings and Susan Rice, who was national security advisor during Mr Obama’s second term as President.

A lot of coverage of the election has focused on the fact that Mr Biden has been known to make gaffes in the past, but Professor Davis argues this might not be an issue: “I am confident that Biden will perform well enough to convince Americans that he is a credible alternative. Americans know he is gaffe-prone, so barring some major error, they are likely to overlook minor errors or misstatements.”

He also says the electoral college gives more of an advantage to Republicans, the four times the winner of the popular vote has lost the electoral college, in 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016, the winners were Republicans.

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Val Demings is a Florida Congresswomen (Image: GETTY)

But, he adds, in future this might favour the Democrats: “Under current conditions, the US electoral system gives Republicans a certain built-in advantage. A vote for Trump in sparsely populated states of the great plains and southwest counts more toward a vote in the electoral college than a vote for Biden in a densely populated state like California, Illinois or New York.

“But despite the built-in advantages Republicans enjoy, more states are in play this time around than in 2016. This is a function of demographic change.

“Unless Republicans can make significant inroads into the Latin American community, it is certainly possible that in another 10 years, when Latin American voters will be significant factors in states such as Texas, the built-in advantage will be in favour of the Democrats.”



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