Democrats need to get a grip if they want to win next time

Saying you lost because the system was rigged against you is self-flattery, and it doesn’t help you learn anything about what to do next time.

.. FBI Director James Comey’s interference in the election was inappropriate and quite possibly swayed the outcome. The best way to prevent that from happening again is to do what political parties usually do: nominate a candidate who is not under investigation by the FBI.

.. Clinton failed to offer a compelling message on how she would help middle-income Americans get ahead through work — a failure that has been common for Republican and Democratic politicians in recent years, but that Trump managed to avoid. The next Democratic nominee will need to figure out how to convince voters he or she can succeed in fixing the job market where Trump fails.

Most importantly, Clinton had major conflict-of-interest issues that positioned her poorly to take advantage of Trump’s corruption.

.. Voters were reasonably suspicious of how much money she and her husband had been able to make by monetizing their contacts and influence, and of what favors they might owe as a result of that.

.. Pick a candidate who can capitalize on Trump’s failures

.. A candidate with a better pitch for these voters — one who understood the skepticism of new, complex government programs at a time of low trust in institutions — probably would have beaten Trump.

.. For all the complaining about how unfair everything was this time, Democrats had the easier hand to play in this campaign than Republicans did.

Democrats faced an often-hostile FBI and a meddlesome Russian government. Republicans had Donald Trump at the top of their ticket. I wouldn’t trade.

.. As Luigi Zingales wrote last month, drawing on his experience observing Silvio Berlusconi’s opponents in Italy, the way you beat the inept clown who runs your country is through normal politics. Instead of focusing your message on how ridiculous he is, focus on how what he’s doing isn’t working, and how you have better ideas.