How Did Hillary Lose? Let Us Count the Ways
We've been reading excerpts from What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new book, for weeks now and the litany of excuses she's made for her loss.
As it turns out, the book isn't so much about "what happened" as it is about "who screwed me over." But I don't think that title would have been a best seller, even if it is more accurate.
Clinton appeared on CBS's Sunday Morning and was interviewed by one of her friends, Jane Pauley. What makes this particular interview so valuable is that by watching it, we don't have to go out and spend any money on her book. You can just watch the video and get the highlights.
How did Clinton cope with her loss?
Off I went, into a frenzy of closet cleaning, and long walks in the woods, playing with my dogs, and, as I write-- yoga, alternate nostril breathing, which I highly recommend, tryin' to calm myself down. And-- you know, my share of Chardonnay.
So alternate nostril breathing and getting drunk. If it were me, I'd do a lot more of the latter than the former.
But how did Hillary lose the election? Let us count the ways.
1.The fact that I'm a woman did me in.
"I started the campaign knowing that I would have to work extra hard to make women and men feel comfortable with the idea of a woman president," she said. "It doesn't fit into the-- the stereotypes we all carry around in our head. And a lot of the sexism and the misogyny was in service of these attitudes. Like, you know, 'We really don't want a woman commander in chief.'"
If a single Republican or surrogate of Donald Trump had even hinted at that, he would have been tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. Of the teeny-tiny percentage of voters who cared that she was a woman, most supported her because of her sex.
2. White supremacism
"He was quite successful in referencing a nostalgia that would give hope, comfort, settle grievances, for millions of people who were upset about gains that were made by others because—" Clinton said.
"What you're saying is millions of white people," Pauley said.
"Millions of white people, yeah," Clinton replied. "Millions of white people."
3. The Russians were coming!
"The forces that were at work in 2016 were unlike anything that I've ever seen or read about. It was a perfect storm," Clinton said.
4. Comey, Comey, Comey
"I don't know quite what audience he was playing to, other than-- maybe some, you know, right-wing commentators, right-wing members of Congress, whatever," Clinton said.
"Eleven days before the election. And it raised the specter that, somehow, the investigation was being reopened," Clinton said. "It just stopped my momentum. Now, remember this, too, Jane. At the same time he does that about a closed investigation, there's an open investigation into the Trump campaign and their connections with Russia. You never hear a word about it. And when asked later, he goes, 'Well, it was too close to the election.' Now, help me make sense of that. I can't understand it."
No new improprieties were discovered. But Clinton believes Comey's 11th-hour intrusion cost her the election.
Of course, Comey proceeded to savage Trump in congressional testimony earlier this year. Maybe the former FBI director was playing to "left-wing commentators, left-wing members of Congress, whatever..."
5. Those damn deplorables
"Why do you think that word deplorable had been circulating in your mind?" Pauley asked.
"Well, I thought Trump was behaving in a deplorable manner," Clinton said. "I thought a lot of his appeals to voters were deplorable. I thought his behavior, as we saw on the 'Access Hollywood' tape, was deplorable. And there were a large number of people who didn't care. It did not matter to them. And he turned out to be a very effective reality TV star."
Clinton says she thinks her rival's opponents were "already energized" before her "deplorable" comment but conceded: "I'm sorry I gave him a political gift of any kind."
6. It's "The Bern's" fault
Not in the interview, but something she has mentioned several times is Bernie Sanders' responsibility for her loss. She claims that Sanders was not out to win, but rather to "disrupt" the Democratic Party. She also blames Sanders for hindering her effort to unify progressives.
Someone who raises $229 million for a primary election is not out to "disrupt" anything but to take it over. And progressives hated Clinton almost as much as they hated Trump. Even if her march to the nomination had been a coronation, she would still have been unable to unify liberals behind her.
In passing, she took responsibility for the email debacle. But looking at the polls, it was clear that very few voters changed their minds because of revelations about her emails. Just like few voters changed their minds because of revelations about Trump's crude references to his sexual conquests. It was a weird race because even before the conventions, voters had already made up their minds about how awful both candidates were and very little happened that changed votes.
We all know the reasons Hillary lost. She is untrustworthy. She is a liar. And most importantly, her ideas were soundly rejected by the American voter. As painful as it might be, Clinton and the Democrats are going to have to come to grips with that reality sooner or later.