“Mr. President,” Clinton said softly. “I’m sorry.”
The book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign has revealed candid details about Hillary Clinton’s campaign the months leading up to election night and how she dealt with the massive loss to President Donald Trump.
Poll after poll showed Hillary with the lead, which rightly had everyone thinking she would win on November 8. But something happened. The quiet Trump supporters came out of the woodwork and handed her a devastating loss.
Authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote that the defeat forced Hillary to do two things she never thought would happen: Congratulate Trump and apologize to former President Barack Obama.
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All through election night, Hillary and her aides remained convinced she would win the presidency. But when top vote counter Steve Schale alerted the campaign that she would not win Florida, the defeat became obvious.
But when Fox News called Wisconsin for Trump, reality set in for many in the campaign and the White House. The Washington Post reported:
First came a call from White House political director David Simas to Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook. “POTUS doesn’t think it’s wise to drag this out,” Simas said.
But Clinton was dragging it out.
So then she got a call from POTUS. “You need to concede,” urged Obama, who repeated the message in a follow-up call to Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
At last, Clinton said, “Give me the phone.” And then the first woman who was going to be president got her opponent on the line and said two words she never expected to say: “Congratulations, Donald.”
Moments later, Obama was back on the phone, this time making a consolation call. “Mr. President,” Clinton said softly. “I’m sorry.”
Why She Lost
Yes, it’s that simple. Hillary and her aides can scream sexism and blame FBI director James Comey all they want, but Allen and Parnes narrowed down the loss to the quality of the candidate. From The Daily Beast:
Based on interviews with more than 100 unnamed sources from within Clinton’s orbit—each account given under the condition that the tales would be told only after the final ballot was counted—the 480-page report relays the behind-the-scenes drama behind many of the Clinton campaign’s most embarrassing blunders and unforced errors. More damning than any anecdote of petty infighting or a deadly devotion to data, however, is the book’s verdict on the main reason for Clinton’s loss: Clinton herself.
For example, Hillary’s use of a private email server when she served as secretary of state was more problematic than the campaign recognized. The campaign wanted to treat it as no big deal. As she kept denying she did anything wrong with the server, like sending and receiving classified information, facts kept proving her wrong.
To make matters worse, the communications team booked her first national interview with CNN’s Brianna Keller, the wife of a former Clinton administration aide. The Daily Beast continued:
Allen and Parnes frame this and similar stories of Clinton’s insistence on trying “every approach but confession and contrition” as indicative of a Clintonian truth, universally acknowledged: that she is “a terrible judge of how her actions could backfire and turn into full-blown scandals.”
The denialism ran in the family, Allen and Parnes report, particularly with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, who delivered what one aide called “an ass-chewing” tirade on a conference call with senior campaign staff about their supposed failure to articulate the campaign’s message and bury the email scandal.
“Neither Clinton could accept the simple fact that Hillary had hamstrung her own campaign,” Allen and Parnes write.
Hillary doomed her campaign because she favored “loyalty over competence.” One speechwriting source told Allen and Parnes that this action made the campaign a popularity contest and compared it to junior high school. This also caused the campaign to struggle “with recognizing an existential crisis in the candidate’s standing with working-class whites.”
This is an area that her husband Bill excelled in. However, Allen and Parnes discovered that the campaign largely kept him quiet during this run. From The Daily Beast:
The former president, a preternatural reader of crowds since his early days as a Democratic political wunderkind, saw in the Democratic and general electorate a resentfulness among the blue-collar whites that the rest of his wife’s team didn’t. A dyed-in-the-wool member of the white working-class, Bill saw the constituency’s frustration with being “left behind” in the economic recovery as an opportunity for the populists—and a problem for his wife that needed to be addressed head-on.
But Mook decided the campaign should focus on the “turnout among minority constituencies,” which caused Hillary to lose the Michigan primary and the election:
“Michigan really baked in this idea that we had pushed him to spend time in the African American communities when he should have been out pursuing white people,” one aide said of Bill Clinton, according to the book. (As a result of the Michigan cataclysm, due in large part to faulty data showing Sanders behind, Mook would eventually be “layered,” a nicer way of saying that he was demoted while never losing the title of campaign manager, Allen and Parnes write.)
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