Peeps. We’ve been living this nightmare for almost a year now. It feels like ten. I don’t want to relitigate the 2016 election, except to say that I was blue no matter who (thanks to my Throwing Shade podcast for that line!), and I am tired of Hillary Clinton being burned in the town square of public opinion. She is not president of the United States, and she is not running again. And after reading her book, I began to understand the enormity of what we lost out when we elected Donald Trump instead of her.
Clinton is no stranger to controversy, and What Happened eschews the First Lady years and Secretary of State years in order to focus on the 2016 presidential run and what happened that led up to her Electoral College loss. The answers are not easy, and Clinton herself discusses the metrics that her team used in order to campaign (they followed a similar path as Obama’s campaign teams), the email scandal and subsequent media shark tank feeding frenzy, the Democratic primary process, and the James Comey bombshell that ultimately sealed the deal for a lot of undecided white voters.
As a writer, Clinton is smart, funny, and engaging. She spares no detail when it comes to the campaign, her policies, and her frustrations. The chapters on sexism are painfully relevant and resonate with me on so many levels. The chapter on Russia is honestly the most important. I feel disappointed that the media has Angelina-and-Jennifered her and Bernie Sanders instead of focusing on Vladimir Putin and Russia’s interference in the election, of which we are getting more evidence.
In my personal opinion, Hillary’s big mistake was not connecting more to the Rust Belt states, in which I have lived almost all my life, though my parents are from other states. I personally think she should have gone through all the states she lost to Bernie in the primary and assumed those were going Trump and that she would have to work hard for them. I’m not forthcoming about location, but I will say this: I lived half my life in Wisconsin, and that state is ruby-red. Milwaukee and Madison are typically large and liberal enough to swing the state blue (and have done so since the late 1980s), but honestly, north of Madison, almost everyone is a Teapublican. The Koch Brothers have enormous sway in the farming/agro areas, not to mention a puppet in Scott Walker. Let’s also not forget the horrible racial profiling occurring in the state, no thanks to cartoon villain Sheriff David Clarke. Clinton lost Wisconsin by 10,000 votes, but 100,000 people were refused a vote, because of the voter restriction laws. Obviously some of those votes would have gone to Trump, but not all, particularly in Milwaukee among diverse voters.
I highly recommend this book. It’s much more a policy-oriented book than a complaint about the campaign. Clinton’s economic and foreign policies were sharp and interesting, and she had many good ideas about how to improve ObamaCare. If only. If only.
Cross-posted to my blog.