Most Were With Her


Hillary Clinton arriving on stage at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington DC 2016. Photograph by Lorie Shaull.

From The New Yorker:

Clinton lost a race that few thought possible to lose. Her opponent was not Mitt Romney or John McCain or Marco Rubio but Donald J. Trump, a demonstrably crooked businessman and reality-television star, an unsavory, if shrewd, demagogue whose rhetoric and policy proposals had long flouted the constitutional norms of the United States. She lost because of the tactical blunders of her campaign. She lost because she could never find a language, a thematic focus, or a campaigning persona that could convince enough struggling working Americans that she, and not a cartoonish plutocrat, was their champion. She lost because of the forces of racism, misogyny, and nativism that Trump expertly aroused. And she lost because of external forces (Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, James Comey) that were beyond her control and are not yet fully understood.

“There are times when all I want to do is scream into a pillow,” Clinton admits in a raw memoir, both apologetic and apoplectic, called “What Happened.”Clinton describes the daily activity of working on the book with her collaborators, two former speechwriters and a researcher, as “cathartic.” They spent long sessions at her house talking through the details of the campaign, exchanging notes, suggestions, edits. But, as Clinton said when we met recently for a long conversation, the process of thinking about it all—Trump looming over her like a predator at the second debate, the incessant drumbeat of “e-mails, e-mails, e-mails,” awaking from a nap on Election Night and being told that Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and the election itself had all slipped away—was like willfully reënacting a hideous accident. “Literally, at times when I was writing it, I had to go lie down,” she said. “I just couldn’t bear to relive it.”

But, against the advice of some of those closest to her, she has relived it, for publication.

Clinton’s memoir radiates with fury at the forces and the figures ranged against her, but it is also salted with self-searching, grief, bitterness, and fitful attempts to channel and contain that fury. At one point, she writes, “Breathe out. Scream later.” On the night of November 8th, Clinton expected to give a victory speech at the Javits Center, in Manhattan, as the first female President-elect. The stagecraft was in place: she would wear white—“the color of the suffragettes,” the fulfillment of Seneca Falls—and stand on a platform cut into the shape of the United States, under a vast glass ceiling. It was to be a triumph on a historic scale, an American breakthrough as consequential as Barack Obama’s Election Night speech in 2008, at Grant Park. Instead, the next morning, she wore purple, a symbol of the unity of red and blue states, and, before hundreds of shocked, weeping staffers, she made her way through a hastily drafted message of endurance and gratitude. Afterward, she and Bill Clinton climbed into their car and, as they were driven along the Hudson River, she was hollowed out, unable to speak, struggling to breathe: “At every step I felt that I had let everyone down. Because I had.”

When Clinton arrived home, she changed into yoga pants and a fleece and wandered outside. She lives on a cul-de-sac called Old House Lane, in Chappaqua, a wooded hamlet in Westchester County. The property is surrounded by a high white fence. Secret Service officers operate out of a red barn in the back yard. It was cold, rainy, quiet, and, she writes, “the question blaring in my head was, ‘How did this happen?’ ”

“Hillary Clinton Looks Back in Anger”, David Remnick, The New Yorker

  • firegazer1

    Clinton lost because the salt of the earth community in the US (the European offspring of those who built the country and forged the kind of civilization that still today draws immigrants today) became weary of the continued influx of non-Europeans. Diversity is not a goal or pie in the sky status; it is a condition. Enough was enough and then too much. That’s the foundation reason Clinton lost. However there was another large factor and that was the almost unstoppable liberal zeal for making the abnormal normal. As society was forced to accept more and more side-line and abnormal societal issues it just got to be overwhelming. Clinton was not against any of this and she lost.

  • jansand

    Or perhaps she lost because she was deeply involved with the total destruction of Libya which was led by a most peculiar leader with some odd authoritarian factors but it was a functional nation that devoted much of its oil wealth to the benefit of the population. But the leader was attempting to operate outside the petrodollar system and that 0ffended the USA. Or perhaps because her deep involvement with the installation of the fascist regime in Ukraine which was part of the plan to destabilize the current Russian government and at minimum this ferocious love to destroy weaker nations which could lead to a nuclear war with Russia was not particular attractive to a sector of US voters.Even an idiot like Trump was a better consideration.

  • Rebecca Brockway

    firegazer1: Your comment? Deplorable. Jesus would agree. Sad we’ve (you’ve) come to this.