The Forgotten Hillary Clinton Voter: A Profile Of The Not-So-Silent Majority

A collage of some of the Clinton voters who chose to share their photos with us (Rantt Media Production Designer Madison Anderson)

The Forgotten Hillary Clinton Voter: A Profile Of The Not-So-Silent Majority

Ignored by the media and ignited by a Trump Presidency, Rantt News spoke to the 65.8 million who refused to be relegated to the shadows

Where were you when you heard Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be the next President of the United States?

November 9th is a date that will live in infamy for many Americans, a moment that looms large in our country’s psyche. Some of us were huddled around televisions, speechless in disbelief. Others slid into bed, hoping that they’d awake from the bad nightmare of a Trump Presidency in the morning. Many, myself included, tucked children into bed, frightened for the future we had suddenly thrust upon them.

When America awoke that day life seemed surreal. The atmosphere was heavy with the subdued nature of some sixty-five million Americans, quietly brushing against each other on the way to work, suddenly terrified to look one another in the eye. The loss felt deeply personal. Millions more had been “with her” and yet Hillary Clinton would not be the 45th President of the United States. The light at the end of the tunnel had vanished.

The majority of Americans were given the clear picture of a woman who would assume the highest office in the land. A woman who didn’t have to be attractive or likable. A woman who could simply work earnestly, and let her resume and her passion carry the day. Instead, a reality TV star and con man who had never once demonstrated the competence necessary to lead would be elected to our nation’s highest office.

In the aftermath, the media ran piece after piece on Trump voters casting them in a sympathetic light, favoring hot takes about so-called “economic anxiety” over the very real anxiety of the Clinton voters fearing for their future. Ignored by the media and bombarded by taunts from Republican family and friends, Clinton voters took refuge in online groups, looking for reassurance that the world they had help build hadn’t been destroyed.

The Resistance was born from this banding together, forged from the fire to fight back for the country they love. Instead of celebrating a broken glass ceiling, they had to pick up shattered dreams of equality and soldier on together. Who were they and what did they care about? These were the people Rantt News wanted to give a voice to.

Instead of seeking to shed light on the over-reported on Trump voter, we at Rantt News decided to spotlight the majority. We opened a survey soliciting Clinton voters who’d be willing to answer a few questions. Why did they vote for Hillary? How did they feel about living under a Trump Presidency? What did they think needed to be done to move forward as a country?

Preparing for only 100 or so participants, we received impassioned responses from 1,500 Clinton voters from all across the country. And as we read through the comments, piecing them together with dozens of photos, a clear picture began to emerge. It’s a story we’re honored to tell of the 65 million Americans who would march to the polls tomorrow and vote for Hillary Clinton all over again. This is their story.

Who Are Clinton Voters?

The vast majority of our survey respondents were the backbone of the Resistance: Women.

Those surveyed typically hailed from blue dots or were clustered in urban areas, with a heavier concentration along the eastern and western coasts of the United States. And while it might be tempting to dismiss these as “coastal elites,” the demographics and narratives tell a different story.

While our respondents were generally centered in urban hubs, their geographic distribution broadly reflects national trends. Our country has a large concentration in cities, and those densely populated areas are along the coasts, with greater distribution across the East and Midwest. Since this was a convenience sample over social media, where women are leveraging those platforms to organize activism, we expected the majority of those surveyed to be women. While we’re not surprised their response rate was so much higher, given the large number of respondents and the broad distribution, we do seem to have found something reflective of a national conversation.

What Clinton Voters Believe

From college students to senior citizens, the Hillary Clinton voters we surveyed all have one thing in common: They believe in Hillary. She wasn’t the lesser of two evils, or the only choice left standing for the never-Trump crowd. She was their candidate. They saw Hillary as a hard-working, qualified, ambitious woman whose time had finally come. She’d fought her entire life on behalf of Americans for the issues that mattered: income inequality, healthcare, climate change, education, racial justice and equal opportunity for women.

We crunched the data and pored over the responses, picking out threads that were familiar refrains. Many of the Clinton voters we surveyed echoed similar ideas and beliefs that have been ignored by the media in favor of extremist voices on the fringes of the left and the right. What motivated the 65.8 million people who voted for Hillary Clinton? Here’s what they told us.

Hillary Was The Most Qualified Candidate For The Presidency In Modern History

When asked about how they viewed Clinton as a candidate, there was little equivocation. Those surveyed described Hillary as the most qualified candidate in their lifetime, citing not just her intelligence and experience but her progressive platform and long history of supporting the rights of women and minorities.

Size indicates the words survey respondents most often associated with Hillary Clinton

This depiction of Clinton as uniquely qualified for the job isn’t a new one. In one way or another, she’s been serving this country her whole life. When Hillary Rodham Clinton crossed the threshold of the White House in January 1993, she was the first inaugural First Lady to have a postgraduate degree. She hasn’t stopped breaking glass ceilings since. From New York Senator to Secretary of State, to first female nominee of a major party to run for President, it is no surprise that qualified was the most used word by our respondents.

“She’s the most prepared candidate I’ve seen in my lifetime; she would have made an extraordinary President.” — Jan E., New York

And yet, according to our survey respondents, it seems there is no resume solid enough, no political pedigree pure enough to overcome sexism and misogyny in America. Much of the dismay our survey respondents expressed stems at least in part from this singular conclusion.

“She’s my hero. She was the most accomplished person ever to run for President, and she is one of the toughest, thickest-skinned public figures in the world.” — Amy M., California

The Media’s Biased Coverage Of Clinton Makes Them Complicit In Her Loss

The refrain “but her emails” has become a popular meme that haunts Clinton voters. Our survey respondents expressed frustration and outrage at the treatment Hillary Clinton received throughout the election cycle not just from conservative media, but from proclaims unbiased sources like CNN.

“The media would prefer a circus to keep up with ratings and that’s what they gave us. Their unfair and comprehensive coverage of her was a major factor in her loss.”- Amy L., Illinois

Wikileaks’ Russian sourced smear campaign dominated the election cycle and dwarfed any attempts at discussion of policy. Over and over again, Clinton voters watched the media ignore a woman’s experience in both foreign and domestic matters and her extensive, well thought out platform in favor of chasing the titillating shadow of her alleged misconduct.

Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, <a href=

Meanwhile, Trump’s predilections for the violent and obscene went unchecked. Over a dozen victims claiming sexual harassment at the hands of Donald Trump were dismissed, his comments about “grabbing pussy,” condoned by conservatives as nothing more than “locker room” talk. Things that would have been unthinkable for other candidates to utter were chalked up as evidence of Trump’s “colorful” character. His foundation was mired in accusations of tax evasion, his businesses convicted of fraud, and yet the media continued to laud Trump the swindler as if he was the Pied Piper, playing a melody they found too enthralling to ignore.

“Email Dominates What Americans Have Heard About Clinton,” <a href=

And when faced with coverage that didn’t match their narrative, the press switched to sexist gender roles that framed a poised, confident, intelligent woman as “over-prepared” and lacking “feeling.”

When the pulsing pain of election night receded, for many Clinton voters, the anger of an injustice done remained. They fumed at a media whose singular focus on Hillary’s emails in the final days of the campaign almost certainly handed the election to her dangerously incompetent opponent in several swing states.

Clinton voters believe the media’s complicity exposed the ugly underbelly of misogyny that permeates every institution in America, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

“Execrable, vicious, misogynistic, disrespectful to both her and her supporters. At no point did it ever seem like major media outlets were even trying to inform the public about the issues or what was at stake in the election.” — Donna G., Arizona

When given a choice between a blatantly sexist, incompetent man who spewed violence at every turn and a calm, controlled woman who had steered our country through troubled waters for the better part of a decade, 46.4% of the voting populace pulled the lever for the nightmare we are currently living. The threat of nuclear war, racism in the White House, and the slow bleed out of Constitutional rights was more palatable than a woman who didn’t “smile enough” and seemed “too prepared.”

“The double standard to which she was held, first in relation to Sanders and then to Trump, was head-explodingly frustrating. The media’s utter failure to cover this election in a professional manner is one of the 10,000 papercuts that gave us Trump.” — Michelle W., California

A Trump Presidency Threatens Not Just The Future Of Democracy, But The People They Care About

Over and over again, Clinton voters used one word to describe living in Trump’s America: Frightened. And it’s not just the threat to democracy the authoritarian approach this administration has taken poses. It’s the legitimate risks friends and family face from racial profiling, loss of healthcare, and the increasingly violent, hateful rhetoric once confined to the fringes that has elbowed its way into the White House.

Size indicates words survey respondents most often associated with a Trump presidency.

Women and other minorities are also troubled by a much deeper sense of unease that derives from being at the mercy of an oppressor. In Trump, they see the abusive spouse, the schoolyard bully, the rapist they’d hoped to leave behind. Overwhelmed by the hate they see reflected in the world around them, many feel fearful and adrift from the communities they once felt a part of.

“Everyday is a challenge. The tears that I cried when I learned on election night he was elected. To see everything he has destroyed and is destroying that was implemented by the Obama Administration is very disheartening. I don’t know if we can ever get back what we lost. I don’t even know if there will be a future for my grandchildren.” — Debra Q., Pennsylvania

Their fear comes not from speculation but from experience. The democracy voters trusted has elected a bully and given him power over their daily lives. This is not political but deeply personal for minorities and other oppressed groups facing racial profiling, deportation, and brutality at the hands of police and the justice system. Instead of cowering, most Clinton voters have chosen to stand and fight, joining the Resistance in record numbers and finding solidarity in each other.

For blue dots, these feelings of betrayal and isolation can be even more extreme. Under assault from friends and family, they drift in a sea of sparsely populated red counties.

“I avoid them. It’s like talking to a wall. Some are family so I just avoid the subject altogether. At times I have wanted to scream, “look what you did to our country. Aren’t you sorry?” But I don’t. I’m angry because it was so obvious who and what trump was every time he opened his mouth. If I could see what a disaster he would be, why couldn’t they?” — Nancy T., Georgia

When asked about interactions with the “Make America Great Again” fan club, Clinton voters confess to avoiding politics in public or with unfriendly family members.

Size indicates words survey respondents most often associated with interacting with Trump supporters.

“The friends I have who voted for him (Trump), I just don’t talk politics with. The interactions I’ve had online and with random voters has been pretty negative.”- Brooke D., Pennyslvania

The Future Of The Democratic Party

Attacked from both sides, Clinton voters remain deeply suspicious of Bernie Sanders. In several instances, our survey respondents described the far-left as threatening, eroding support for Hillary and feeding into Russian propaganda designed to undermine the election.

“I feel like it is extremely unfair and that he is a divisive figure on the left. He used us and his fans have harassed, stalked, and doxed me. Bernie allows this. An old white man who ignores the identity of anyone not white and male is not the future.” — Bianca D., Alaska

According to the numbers, while some Sanders supporters did eventually vote Clinton, it was too little too late in several swing states.

Some on the left feel Bernie Sanders is the future of the party but Clinton voters vehemently disagree. The only “Bern” Clinton voters have felt is the one that comes from being harassed online by an army of Bernie bros they say are infected with rabid conspiracy theories.

“Bernie helped start the narrative of “corrupt” Hillary that Trump seized on, and didn’t do nearly enough to unite the Democrats. That he gets to keep talking but she has to go away is insane.” — Chad M., New York

As the dust of the election settled, Hillary commanded 48.5% of the popular vote over Trump’s 46.4% but was criticized as an unpopular candidate. Every movement of her campaign was dissected and criticized, found wanting and pronounced a failure.

“I’ve spent years dealing with far-Left Progressives and they simply are incapable of seeing outside of their ego-filled world, where they know what’s best for everyone and they’re ‘not going to settle’. Boy, whichever Conservative coined “not going to settle’ deserves the prize of hamstringing the Left.” — Timolin B., California

When Clinton announced the release of her book, What Happened, the backlash on social media was swift. Pundits urged her to remain in the shadows, attempting to shame Hillary supporters into silence. She’d had her moment, the media chattered. Calls for Clinton to recede from public life came from both sides of the political spectrum.

In her book, Clinton sheds some light on what she saw as fundamental flaws with Bernie’s approach during the campaign. And while some in the media condemned Clinton for speaking out, her criticisms echo what many of our survey respondents said.

“He was right that Democrats needed to strengthen our focus on working families and that there’s always a danger of spending too much time courting donors because of our insane campaign finance system. He also engaged a lot of young people in the political process for the first time, which is extremely important.

But I think he was fundamentally wrong about the Democratic Party — the party that brought us Social Security under Roosevelt; Medicare and Medicaid under Johnson; peace between Israel and Egypt under Carter; broad-based prosperity and a balanced budget under Clinton; and rescued the auto industry, passed health care reform, and imposed tough new rules on Wall Street under Obama. I am proud to be a Democrat and I wish Bernie were, too.” — Hillary Clinton, What Happened

Many of our survey respondents see the call for Clinton to sit down and be quiet as misogynistic, suggesting it implies a certain level of victim blaming that feels all too familiar.

“ I voted for her because she was going to offer the American people the most progressive presidential platform ever. And because I adore and respect her as a person.” — Kathryn M., Ohio

“The media needs to hire more women and especially WOC. Congress needs to accurately represent the diverse make up of our country.”- Linda G., Maryland

Clinton Voters Speak Out

Instead of framing their experience with our own words, we thought we’d let Clinton voters speak for themselves about why they voted for Hillary, what it’s like living in Trump’s America, and what should be next for the future of party and the country. And like Hillary herself, they’re more than ready to tell you exactly what happened:

Lauren P. from California

Why did you vote for Hillary Clinton?

“Hillary Rodham had a plan for everything — literally everything, even if the specifics weren’t fleshed out. I remember being really impressed she even had ideas about taking care of bottlenecks in shipping that caused slowdowns in getting products to stores and consumers. Who thinks of things like that? Hillary did. She was by far the smartest, most prepared, and thoughtful candidate who ran, and I regret nothing about voting for her.”

How do you feel living under a Trump Presidency?

“Without swearing? Donald is incompetent and racist and he’s surrounded himself with people too craven and selfish to tell him no. I think we’re on the precipice of breaking democracy. If there is one good thing I think has come from this, it’s a major civics lesson for folks, and the power of individual actions.”

Daryl G. from Virginia

Why did you vote for Hillary Clinton?

“I voted for Hillary Clinton because she worked hard all her life and dedicated her life to helping others in need. She offered a future where you feel safe and secure, she offered hope and the desire to do better. She was/is someone everyone can look up to as a role model.”

What have your interactions with Trump voters been like?

“They’re beyond help and redemption. You can’t tell them nothing without being accused of being a sore loser or a libtard. They dismiss anything they don’t like as fake news and live inside their own universe where Trump is some type of Messiah.”

Hillary D. from Texas

How do you feel about the media’s coverage of Clinton?

“It was awful. Over and over I was told I didn’t exist. That no one really wanted Sec. Clinton. All the media, even so-called liberal media was biased against her. It was so obvious and heartbreaking to watch. She was brilliant in debates, speeches, interviews and she was called over prepared, not warm enough, not natural enough. Everything about her was wrong in their eyes. I am still angry, I think I always will be.”

How do we move forward as a country?

“We need to do everything we can to resist Trump and his administration. We need grassroots level rebuilding of the Democratic Party. But we need to make sure we remain inclusive to minorities and that we do not waver on our support of women’s reproductive rights.”

Nailah A. from New York

How do you feel living under a Trump Presidency?

“Angry and scared. As a woman, woman of color, immigrant, millennial, and combat veteran, — Trump has made it clear I am not welcome in the country I risked my life to defend.”

Clinton won the primary and the popular vote yet her primary opponent is portrayed as the future of the Democratic Party. How do you feel about that?

“Bernie Sanders is a misogynist who favors white people over minorities. He is NOT the future of our Party. The media falls in line with this dangerous ideology by amplifying the voices of “progressives” who are racist and sexist.”

Morgana R. from California

Why did you vote for Hillary Clinton?

“Why would I NOT vote for Hillary Clinton?!!! She is the smartest, most experienced, most liberal and knowledgeable candidate we’ve ever had. Her platform addressed health care, climate change, jobs, education, voting rights, reproductive choice, and civil rights. She was the only candidate with real international experience. Putin feared her. She knew how to protect us. I had no idea how deeply I would love Hillary Clinton (I originally favored Sanders) until after I decided she was my candidate. I have never had so much passion for a presidential candidate in my (very passionate) voting life. I also felt all the attacks against her as if they were attacks on me and all other women. She took one for the team. It’s impossible to be a woman in America and not have had the experience of being judged on our appearance, passed over for less qualified men, be threatened and attacked. I actually switched from Sanders to Clinton BECAUSE the Bernie Bros attacked me so viciously online if I said something positive about Hillary Clinton. I could not be part of that culture.”

Clinton won the primary and the popular vote yet her primary opponent is portrayed as the future of the Democratic Party. How do you feel about that?

“FURIOUS. Let’s not forget she also won the popular vote in the 2008 primary, and conceded graciously and immediately. I have stopped all donations to the DNC, DCCC, and every group that allies with Sanders and ignores Hillary, our chosen leader. I used to send monthly donations and extra. Many days I feel like without a home on the left and with the Democratic party, I no longer have a home in America.”

Marya P. from New York

How do you feel about the media’s coverage of Clinton?

“Early in the campaign, I admit I was skeptical of Clinton. As a young voter who cast her first ballot for Barack Obama in 2012, I have no personal memories of Clinton’s time as First Lady of Arkansas, of the United States, or even of her time as a senator in New York. I was uncomfortable with her failed attempts to connect with youth voters on the Ellen Show. But as I started to pay attention to the primary ramp-up in earnest, and began researching Clinton’s background and platform, I found that the more I looked into her, the more I connected with this woman who just wants to do all the good she can. I didn’t see that Hillary at all in mainstream media coverage of her campaign. I shook with rage as men on TV tried to undermine her for superficial reasons; I shook with rage when Chuck Todd suggested she was TOO PREPARED during a debate. I watched her opponents and detractors’ misogynistic comments and tactics taken at face value, and was dismayed to see the rise of an old white man who ran a primary campaign based on character assassination and who, among many other things, brushed off her endorsers NARAL and Planned Parenthood as “establishment.” I have no idea how Clinton has persevered and remained in the public eye for so many years of this mistreatment, but I’m incredibly grateful that she’s been willing to bring out the worst in our culture and media so we can confront it head on.”

Adam K. from Pennsylvania

How do you feel living under a Trump Presidency?

“Like an intangible and oppressive weight pushes down on my chest each morning the moment I rise in bed. Honestly, it’s had the unintentional consequence of making me live more freely because, well, why not? We have Nazis feeling like they don’t even need white hoods anymore, so you know what? I’m not going to avoid the uncomfortable politics conversation at work or refrain from telling Deb that her joke was racist. Also, I’ve started wearing really sparkly shoes in public without shame. (We’ve all got our coping mechanisms.)”

What have your interactions with Trump voters been like?

“Generally as impossible as they were before the election, but it becomes harder to even bother as each day passes. Hillary was right about how this would go down, we echoed her sentiments, and we were told to shut up and stop being so hysterical and ridiculous. I’ve lost a lot of respect for people, and if I’m honest, it’ll be hard to get back. Y’all started at this buffoon for months as he showed you who he was, but you wanted to pretend like it wasn’t so bad because you somehow felt like Hillary Clinton was worse. How does one conduct a meaningful conversation with someone so far removed from what you and I likely consider reality?”

Vhey B. from Washington

Do you think Clinton voters have been ignored and if so, what does that say about the media?

“Yes… and it says A LOT. This: Women don’t matter. The truth doesn’t matter. Only ratings and dollars matter. When they attacked Hill, they attacked me. When they lied about Hill, they lied about me. When they told her to sit down and shut up, they were telling me…. and EVERY woman who has for most of HER life been caring for others and helping make the world a better place. WE ARE THE VOLUNTEERS, THE MOTHERS, THE TEACHERS, THE DOCTORS & NURSES, THE ADMINISTRATORS, THE SOCIAL WORKERS, THE POLICE OFFICERS, THE SCIENTISTS, THE SOLDIERS, THE ACTIVISTS, THE ELDERS, THE CONGRESSWOMEN, THE AMBULANCE DRIVERS, THE ARTISTS, THE MUSICIANS, THE GRANDMOTHERS, And we are exhausted with our culture’s and the media’s insistence we must stay invisible. The media is no longer a place where one might expect journalism with integrity. They are a woefully lacking version of what the founding mothers & fathers intended as one of the foundations of democracy… a free and independent press. They have morphed into big business with ratings and profits their God.”

How do we move forward as a country?

“We need to own the rampant sexism that is still prevalent as well as racism and other forms of prejudice. White male privilege and the Patriarchy needs to be brought into balance. Owning up to it and talking about it is a good start. The Equal Rights Amendment still has not passed. The clear DOUBLE STANDARD that we saw front and center during the campaign and in decades of concerted efforts to discredit and defame a brilliant, lifelong public servant, Hillary Clinton, cannot continue if we are to survive as a nation. Woman hate is alive and well in America. Add this to the violence being perpetuated against people of color, LGBT community, economic inequities, our unfair tax codes, our atrocious health care (or lack thereof) system and the raping of the Earth Mother… the deifying of money & profit before the welfare of people… and we have one heck of job ahead of us. I would like to see Hillary Rodham Clinton as President of the United States. She is the ONLY one I see who has the clear qualifications, experience, intelligence, commitment, compassion, and strength to lead our Nation in the direction of rectifying all these inequities. Third time the charm? I hope so with my entire being. IF she wants 2020, I would be IN 2000%.”

In a country that remains sharply divided, the Clinton voters we surveyed seemed to be united about how to move forward as a nation. Clinton voters want economic reform, money out of politics, and racial justice. And there’s a laundry list of progressive legislation they’re eager to pass, including healthcare, the equal rights amendment, and regulations to address climate change.

“The most hopeful thought I have is that as our democratic institutions are under attack people are coming to appreciate how precious they are. I hope that America will emerge stronger from this challenging time.” — Catherine W., Missouri

They would have preferred Clinton as President leading the country forward towards a brighter future, but her supporters will take what they can get. Ms. Clinton will continue to inspire those who believed in her to step forward and take their places in the political arena. Since the election thousands have filed to run for office and begin the work of taking back a country and political system that no longer represents their values. Resistance to the Trump agenda has been fierce and driven home an essential lesson looking forward. We are indeed stronger together.

The thousands of grassroots groups that have organized Resistance to this administration are getting great practice for what Hillary Clinton voters agreed was the first step in taking back this country: 2018. Whether or not Trump is impeached, the Resistance is already mobilizing with every intention of storming the castle and taking back Congress. And if our survey is any indication, the GOP won’t be able to hold back the tide of the 65.8 million.

Special thanks to Greg Fish and Tai Ragan for contributing to this piece.

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