Election 2020

'Madame President' -- What Might Have Been for the MSM

The schadenfreude, it burns (Rex Features via AP Images)

Yes, it’s true that media bonzes often prepare alternative-universe stories on the eve of a big election. But they were so cocksure about what they thought was a fixed right that’s it a real pleasure to read these aborted masterpieces of the scribbler’s art (h/t Ace of Spades, whose obscenely funny take you can find here, if you dare):

Lots of outlets prepared for the opposite outcome. And so, thanks to Trump’s unexpected electoral victory, there is now a massive, unprecedented content graveyard of articles celebrating or analyzing Hillary Clinton’s would-be historic victory. (We’re just as guilty: A Newsweek partner prepared a whole Clinton commemorative magazine in advance of the election, infuriating Trump supporters who didn’t realize we’d prepped a Trump edition as well.) Most of that content won’t be read by anyone. But here is a small sampling. This collection is a tiny glimpse of what the internet would have looked like on November 9 if Clinton beat Trump, as so many pundits forecast.

Four quick notes: (1) Each of these excerpts is from an actual piece that was supposed to be published after Clinton claimed victory. (2) These excerpts were all provided to Newsweek via email, except for the Washington Post one, which already ran on the newspaper’s site. (The Post‘s Chris Cillizza took the unusual step of publishing his “How Hillary Clinton Won” piece as a transparency exercise. We’ve excerpted just a snippet of his analysis.) (3) The Onion declined to share its Clinton-wins-the-presidency headlines. Sorry. “As good as they are,” an editor responded, “we’re always overly keen on maintaining our shroud of mystery over here.” (4) If you’re one of the 64,658,130 people who voted for Clinton (a popular vote total that significantly exceeds the president-elect’s), this might be wrenching to read.

Or hilarious, depending on your point of view. Note that the zombie version of Newsweek still doesn’t understand that the popular vote matters not at all in determining who wins the presidential race; it’s where the votes are, not how many of them are. That’s why it’s called “federalism.”

And now, sit back, relax, and enjoy the lamentations of the women, at the first link above:

JONATHAN CHAIT(writer and columnist, New York magazine)

Sparing the Republic from the whims of a twisted maniac is no small triumph. Clinton’s skeptics have already been denying credit for her expected victory by noting that she benefited from facing the least popular major party nominee in history, and that a normal Republican could have defeated her. This misses the extraordinary nature of the opposition that produced this unpopularity in the first place. Clinton has absorbed 25 years of relentless and frequently crazed hate directed at her husband, compounded by her status as a feminist symbol, which made her the subject of additional loathing. Her very real missteps were compounded by a press corps that treated her guilt as an unexamined background assumption. She is almost certainly the first president to survive simultaneous leak-attacks by both a faction of rogue right-wing FBI agents and Russian intelligence.

ALEXANDRA SVOKOS(political writer, Elite Daily)

Clinton was the first First Lady to have had a full-time job outside of her husband’s career before moving into the White House. She was the first First Lady to get an office in the West Wing. Clinton was the first female senator from New York. She was the first First Lady to be elected to a public office. Clinton was the first woman to clinch a presidential nomination and the first female presidential nominee for a major party. Now, Clinton is set to become the first female president of the United States.

NEWSWEEK/TOPIX STAFF (prepared for a special commemorative edition)

On Election Day, Americans across the country roundly rejected the kind of fear- and hate-based conservatism peddled by Donald Trump and elected the first woman in U.S. history to the presidency. The culminating election of a career in politics spanning three decades and arguably more experience than any other incoming president, 2016’s was not an easy race to watch, comment on or be a part of—but when the dust cleared it revealed a priceless moment in American history. The highest glass ceiling in the Western world had finally shattered.

PAUL KRUGMAN(columnist, The New York Times)

Nothing prewritten

Sent from my iPhone

Who knew Krugman would turn out to be the smartest guy in the room. Read the whole thing, and savor every last wonderful word, and then reawaken in a blessed world in which the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua is not your, my, or anybody’s president.