J.B. Pritzker on 3 reasons Clinton lost
November 13th, 2016
“I’ve been to this rodeo before, but that does’t make it any easier,” J.B. Pritzker, the billionaire philanthropist said after Hillary Clinton’s heartfelt concession speech. It was the kind of speech a president would give, he says. “It spoke to the kind of leader and role model she would have been–compassionate and strong.”
Pritzker and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, sat on the front row among supporters as Clinton spoke and they were among the first to embrace her when she stepped off the stage.
Before heading out for an East Coast vacation, Pritzker talked about the campaign and how the loss likely came down to three issues.
1. FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress days before Election Day saying his office was examining emails pertaining to Clinton. “This gave the Republicans a major talking point that filled the airwaves for the last two weeks straight,” he said. “Had he stayed out of it, I think it’s clear (from all the polling) she would have won.”
2. Male voters. “After the Comey letter, the white male vote that had been supporting her simply collapsed.”
3. Polling. “None of the polling indicated for months that it was needed” in Wisconsin.
Pritzker is a venture capitalist, philanthropist and entrepreneur who’s been involved in politics his whole life. He walked door to door with his mother for Jimmy Carter in 1976. In 1998, he ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat. And over the past decade he’s supported Clinton, serving as her national campaign co-chair in 2008.
Over the past 18 months, he’s worked phone banks and canvassed door to door. His key role, though, was raising funds–and he’s expected to go down as raising more than anyone. Pritzker personally gave to the tune of $14 million to the campaign, Democratic National Committee and political action committees.
He’s been through thick and thin with Clinton, whom he praised for running “a campaign of substance” and made up of “the best statisticians and data analytics people in the world.”
“She ran the campaign while Republican bullets were flying and with a media that gave him (Donald Trump) more air time and enjoyed following his antics more than they did talking about the qualifications and experience of what it would take to be president,” Pritzker says.
There’s comfort in knowing Clinton won the popular vote and that she wasn’t far behind in many states.
Looking ahead, Pritzker expects Clinton, now “a states-person of historic importance,” to advise leaders. And he hopes she’ll become a force in philanthropy–ideally in early childhood education. That issue is especially important to Pritzker, who was co-chair of Clinton’s Education Policy Working Group, which in part focused on early childhood education. Clinton’s view of education is a “big reason” Pritzker supported her.