Hillary and Obama seem to be on the wrong side of history here and the people aren’t tolerating it. Check this out!
Mrs. Clinton shares more with the defeated “Remain” campaign than just their common slogan, “Stronger Together.” Her fundamental argument, much akin to Prime Minister David Cameron’s against British withdrawal from the European Union, is that Americans should value stability and incremental change over the risks entailed in radical change and the possibility of chaos if Donald J. Trump wins the presidency.
She offers reasonableness instead of resentment, urging voters to see the big picture and promising to manage economic and immigration upheaval, just as Mr. Cameron did. She, too, is a pragmatic internationalist battling against nationalist anger, cautioning that the turmoil after the so-called Brexit vote underscores a need for “calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House.”
But prudence is cold comfort to people fed up with more-of-the-same.
According to their friends and advisers, Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton have worried for months that she was out of sync with the mood of the electorate, and that her politically safe messages — like “I’m a progressive who gets results” — were far less compelling to frustrated voters than the “political revolution” of Senator Bernie Sanders or Mr. Trump’s grievance-driven promise to “Make America Great Again.”
Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump won a combined 25 million votes during the primary season, compared with 16 million for Mrs. Clinton. And while many of Mr. Sanders’s supporters are expected to support her in November, she has not recalibrated her message to try to tap into the anger that he and Mr. Trump channeled.
Nor does Mrs. Clinton have any plans, advisers say, to take cues from the Brexit campaign and start soft-pedaling her support for globalized markets, or denouncing porous borders, illegal immigrants and the lack of job protections in free-trade agreements.
Much distinguishes the presidential contest from the British fight, of course, including a head-to-head matchup between well-known candidates, a sharply different economic context, and a long and proud history of immigration.
Yet in addition to worrying that she is out of step, Mrs. Clinton is somewhat hemmed in by her record: She supported her husband’s North American Free Trade Agreement, which caused significant economic pain in the industrial Midwest after it went into effect in 1994. And her nuanced views about free trade are a harder sell to many voters than Mr. Trump’s fire-breathing vows to trash bad trade deals and use tariffs as economic weapons of national defense.
While Mrs. Clinton is counting on Mr. Trump’s history of racist and sexist remarks to doom his candidacy, Thursday’s Brexit referendum was an unnerving reminder that voter anger is deeper and broader than many elite politicians and veteran pollsters realize. In swing states like Ohio, many Democrats and Republicans yearn for an economic comeback and are not confident that Mrs. Clinton understands their frustrations or has the ideas and wherewithal to deliver the sort of change that could satisfy them.
“Brexit is clearly a cautionary tale for the Clinton campaign not to get too complacent with a potential victory,” said David B. Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Akron. “Trump, Sanders and those in Great Britain who ran the Leave campaign are tapping into an anger and anxiety that is clearly festering. Working-class folks in the United States are similar to working-class folks in Europe. And a lot of those working-class people feel as if the international economic system is not working for them and strangling the middle class.”
Mike DuHaime, a Republican strategist, said the British vote was the clearest sign yet that “the intensity against the status quo is far more real than many are still willing to acknowledge.”
“If the Trump victory in the primary wasn’t enough of one, the Brexit vote serves as a major wake-up call indicating just how frustrated average voters are with those in power,” Mr. DuHaime said.
Several Democrats cautioned against drawing too many lessons from the Brexit vote, saying mass immigration and economic malaise were bigger problems in Britain and the European Union than in the United States. They also said many British voters were revolting against a bureaucracy in Brussels that they regarded as bloated, overpaid and prone to interfering in the affairs of sovereign countries.
Yet the Democrats acknowledged that the worldview held by Mrs. Clinton and many of the party’s elites was not as attractive to many voters as it once was.
“Liberal internationalism seems to have been dying for a while,” said Mark S. Mellman, a Democratic pollster who is not involved with the Clinton campaign. “But while that may be the animating philosophy of foreign policy intellectuals the world over, it is not the animating philosophy of America, nor of our domestic politics.”