“What Happened?” That’s the title of Hillary Clinton’s up-coming memoire.
If after 10 months since being crowned runner up in the 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton doesn’t understand that her vision and policies for America were soundly rejected by the electorate, she may never be able to answer her own question.
CNN and the Daily Beast got an advanced copy of Clinton’s latest nearly 500-page reflection on who and what lost her the presidency.
We haven’t read the book, but just from excerpts, we glean two takeaways: (1) Clinton has yet to move on from 2016, and (2) she’s pointing the finger at every other factor, but doesn't own enough of her role in her loss.
Clinton claims to take some responsibility for her blatant mistakes:
“I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want — but I was the candidate," she writes. "It was my campaign. Those were my decisions."
However, she has a boatload of blame to pass around to friends and foes.
The political environment
“I think it's fair to say that I didn't realize how quickly the ground was shifting under all our feet," she writes. "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."
Mr. James Comey:
“My first instinct was that my campaign should hit back hard and explain to the public that Comey had badly overstepped his bounds—the same argument [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein would make months after the election,” Clinton writes in her forthcoming book, What Happened, a copy of which was obtained and read by The Daily Beast. “That might have blunted the political damage and made Comey think twice before breaking protocol again a few months later. My team raised concerns with that kind of confrontational approach. In the end, we decided it would be better to just let it go and try to move on. Looking back, that was a mistake.”
"Joe Biden said 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 writes. "I find this fairly remarkable, considering that Joe himself campaigned for me all over the Midwest and talked plenty about the middle class."
“[H]is attacks caused lasting damage,” she lamented, “making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
“I am proud to be a Democrat and wish Bernie were, too,” she wrote after admitting she “appreciated” his general-election boost.
"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," she writes. "I know he must be enjoying everything that's happened instead. But he hasn't had the last laugh yet."
If all of that wasn't enough, she reasoned her gender played a role too:
“What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I'm really asking. I'm at a loss," she asks her readers, before concluding: "I think it's partly because I'm a woman."
Interestingly, we don’t see any blame on her campaign and their blunders nor the leaked inappropriate behavior by Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile. They worked to sabotage the Sanders’ campaign in her favor and even leaked debate questions to her campaign. Perhaps that is in the epilogue of the book.
This all sounds tired and rehashed. Former Secretary of State Clinton has yet to move forward from November 6, 2016. Meanwhile, the rest of America is focused on the issues of today including the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the fury of Hurricane Irma, an economy starting strengthen and deliver jobs, millions of kids returning to school for a new academic year, international turmoil, and other pressing issues.
Clinton may never move forward from her devastating loss to President Trump. Sadly, she’s missing an opportunity to model for the next generation of (female) leaders how to learn from defeat or failure to achieve something of greatness. That would’ve been a better book.