How Hillary And Her Team Missed What Was In Plain Sight

Since Election Day, there has been a lot of reflection from all sides on why Hillary lost the election. Why didn’t she, the Democratic National Committee, the press, and most of all, the pollsters see what was coming?
The signs that Trump was pulling ahead were right there in front of them—and us—all along but they (and we) failed to see them. Reputable data was predicting that Trump had a very good chance of winning (which his team certainly picked up on) but everyone else’s brains ignored it. How? When looked at from an anthropological perspective, the answer is pretty clear, which is the focus of my recent article for The Huffington Post, published soon after the election.  

It wasn’t the data—it was the stories about the data that made the difference 

As I say in my article, Anthropology 101 teaches that data, whether soft observational research or cold hard numbers, essentially does not exist when taken out of context. This recent election is a perfect example. The pollster’s brains kept seeing what their “mind maps” believed was true and discounted data that didn’t fit their own models of perceived reality.

The pollsters’ mind maps turned out to play a pivotal role because, as we now see so clearly, they took in the information they liked and discarded the rest. Which ultimately led to failure.

Could a little anthropology have helped Hillary?

How different might the outcome have been if Hillary’s team had headed out into the field to listen to what people were saying. It was out there, if only they had opened their ears to hear it. I certainly heard it, from business leaders and physicians and hospital administrators…all of whom were struggling, either with global competition or government regulations or the new healthcare laws. 

There were a lot of people out there expressing a lot of anger and the Democratic campaign didn’t bother to listen to them. But Trump sure did. When Hillary lost her connection to these voters, she lost the election.

Read my blog to get at the whole story

Are you too ignoring the obvious? My blog can help you find out. Get it in its entirety here.

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From Observation to Innovation


Andi Simon
Corporate Anthropologist | President
Simon Associates Management Consultants