A popular pastime for politicians looking to fill time after losing an election is to come up explanations for their loss that deflect blame from themselves.
As an example, former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp recently took away from her new gig writing deep-as-a-puddle retirement advice articles to blame her party affiliation and Hillary Clinton for her loss to Senator Kevin Cramer last year.
“I was branded as a Democrat, I was branded as somebody who didn’t care about those jobs,” Heitkamp told MSNBC host Kasie Hunt. “And you know, it goes back to Secretary Clinton basically saying we’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of work. That’s frightening to anyone.”
One might rebut Heitkamp’s argument here by pointing out that she was, in fact, a Democrat. It’s a partisan affiliation she chose for herself. What’s more, she brought in national Democratic figures like New Jersey Senator Cory Booker to campaign with her.
Also she did, in fact, endorse Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. Very loudly. Republicans even used video of Heitkamp shouting her support for Hillary Clinton in an ad during the 2018 election cycle:
Heitkamp has always liked to talk until she’s blue in the face about her supposed independence. Her self-described willingness to buck political convention. But if those things were true, why did endorse Hillary Clinton so forcefully in 2016? Why did she continue to affiliate herself with a political party she claims to have disagreements with?
Maybe Heidi Heitkamp lost in 2018 because, even her words told us she was independent, her actions said otherwise.