Despite being the first woman to win the ticket, Hillary Clinton was oftentimes criticized for being too mainstream or "establishment." You know the script. And after the election, commentators made it seem as though she lost because she wasn't "likable" and "relatable" to the average voter. I, for one, would argue that. Now, besides the fact that she actually won over the American people by millions of votes, there's something new to consider that might convince the haters. The Clinton campaign identified 10 million new voters in 2016 who were with her in November.
We know this because it was announced on Sunday that the Clinton campaign turned the data over to the Democratic National Committee so that they can target these folks in the midterms. That means that out on the campaign, Clinton's staff of organizers and volunteers identified 10 million people who were supporters that were not already part of the Democrats' voter files, and that's a huge success. These are files in a big database that show your party affiliation, likelihood to vote Democratic, and lots of other information about you including your email. The information about each voter can be used to raise money, turn out voters, or identify volunteers.
The voter files are not easy to get, and definitely not if people aren't excited to elect the candidate. The information is valued at $3.5 million, according to the Federal Election Commission, and it is being donated as an in-kind contribution from the Hillary for America campaign. So, in the attempt to turn the House blue or get a Democratic edge in the Senate, 10 million new names and emails will be at the disposal of the many campaigns connected to the DNC.
Xochitl Hinojosa, communications director for the party explained as much to The Huffington Post.
This information will help candidates up and down the ballot engage with voters and win seats from the school board to the Senate. We're seeing momentum and energy across the country, and this investment will help us harness the energy and turn it into votes.
That's great going forward, but it also reaffirms facts that get overlooked in the election rehashes. Clinton won more votes than any other candidate in history except President Obama (and she nearly matched his 2012 numbers). She won more than Trump, and more than Mitt Romney and John McCain had in 2012 and 2008 respectively. So there were plenty of people enthusiastic about her campaign, and this list of 10 million new voters proves it.
The Clinton camp is playing this as a way to build Democratic unity going forward. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill explained Hillary's goals in doing so to The Huffington Post. "Putting the DNC on a strong footing is something that she's been very focused on since the campaign," he said. "But in addition to a strong financial footing, sharing campaign data and resources is something she views as critical to electing Democrats in 2017, 2018 and beyond. It is an important and unprecedented step toward a strong, unified Democratic Party going forward."
Obama by comparison didn't share his whole email list until 2015, even though a strong showing by Democrats in the House and Senate would have helped his agenda. Thus Clinton's data is important to Democrats' attempts to win back the country.
And while, yes, it's important to look forward, I think it's only fair to acknowledge that there were plenty of Americans excited about a Clinton presidency. Sure, the Clinton campaign made plenty of mistakes, but Clinton herself was not some flawed candidate who had no chance of winning. She came awfully close (just 100,000 votes in three swing states kept her out of the White House). There were millions of Americans with her, and these voter files remind us just how many.