Hillary Clinton looks back at her humiliating loss to Trump in a memoir
BY PHILOMENA JONES
Arguably, macho America was not ready for a woman-president, but, in the public’s eyes, at the end of the day, Hillary Clinton has nobody but herself to blame for her humiliating loss in the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump, a prejudiced, execrable man with a documented history of woman’s groping who bled all the way to election day. The theory has it that had Clinton campaigned more intensely in a few locations that her husband felt her campaign team had overlooked, the United States would not be in the dangerous hands it now is.
But the former Democratic candidate, in a memoir that is scheduled to go on sale on September 12, explains the election result in her own way. While taking responsibility by stating: “I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them,” she has enough blame to throw around, with Trump, her pseudo-Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders, former FBI director James Comey, and former vice president Joe Biden on the receiving end. Not to mention that she somewhat scratches her former boss and staunch supporter, President Obama.
Clinton writes in the 494-page memoir titled What Happened, published by Simon & Schuster:
“You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want—but I was the candidate. It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.”
She concedes she could have done a better job working in sync with the 2016 environment and her unorthodox Republican rival:
“I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t realize how quickly the ground was shifting under all our feet. I was running a traditional presidential campaign with carefully thought-out policies and painstakingly built coalitions, while Trump was running a reality TV show that expertly and relentlessly stoked Americans’ anger and resentment.”
Clinton singled out one particular statement that she describes in the book as the mistep she regrets the most: putting coal miners out of business, a statement that depicts insensitivity to the coal mining labor force.
Pointing to the obvious, Clinton says it was “dumb” of her to use a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state, which later triggered wild, relentless attacks by the majority Senators on her throughout the campaign. When the matter was basically put to rest by the FBI concluding that there was no criminal wrongdoing, just negligence, Clinton breathed a sigh of relief, feeling that her good image was restored. But, when the same then-FBI director James Comey wrote to Congress in October saying he was looking into freshly-discovered emails about the matter, Clinton writes in her book, “Comey’s letter turned that picture upside down.” Clinton then goes on to speculate that a strong reaction by President Obama would have made a difference.
Then, turning to her Democratic rival during the primaries, Senator Bernie Sanders who ran a populist, social-democratic campaign down to the wire, Clinton writes flatly:
“He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic party. He isn’t a Democrat. That’s not a smear, that’s what he says. I’m proud to be a Democrat and I wish Bernie was, too.”
Clinton recalls in the book how often she wanted to hit back at Sanders, also recalling he was dissuaded by President Obama from doing so.
“Every time I wanted to hit back against Bernie’s attacks, I was told to restrain myself. My team kept reminding me that we didn’t want to alienate Bernie’s supporters. President Obama urged me to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket.”
Clinton says in the book the damage was unequivocal:
“Nonetheless, his attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
Clinton also takes a swipe at former vice president Joe Biden. Recalling the vice president saying that the Democratic party in 2016 “did not talk about what it always stood for—and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class,” Clinton notes in her book:
“I find this fairly remarkable, considering that Joe himself campaigned for me all over the midwest and talked plenty about the middle class.”
One of the theories explaining Hillary Clinton’s loss to the weakest U.S. presidential candidate in decades is grounded on the American people not being ready to elect a woman-president. Clinton given credence to that theory, saying that sexism impeded her ability to connect with voters. She writes:
“What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I’m really asking. I’m at a loss. I think it’s partly because I’m a woman.”
Another theory—a proven one in the view of many in the intelligence community—explaining the election result is Russian influence on the election by hacking the Democratic party’s computer system. Clinton is devasted that worked. She writes in her new memoir, now her third one:
“There’s nothing I was looking forward to more than showing Putin that his efforts to influence our election and install a friendly puppet had failed. I know he must be enjoying everything that’s happened instead. But he hasn’t had the last laugh yet.”
Following the 2016 election, it was widely speculated, with words put in Hillary Clinton’s mouth by some, that she will exit public life for good. No so fast, she says in her book, defiantly:
“There were plenty of people hoping that I, too, would just disappear. But here I am.”