From Hillary’s perspective, external forces created a perfect storm that wiped her out. In this telling, laid out in scores of interviews with Clinton campaign aides and advisors for this book, the media bought into an absurd and partisan Republican-led investigation into her e-mail server that combined with Bernie Sanders’s attack on her character and a conservative assault on the Clinton Foundation’s practices to sow a public perception that she was fundamentally dishonest. From there, Comey’s unprecedented public condemnation of her handling of the server, the Russian cyberattacks on the DNC and Podesta’s e-mail account, and new voter ID laws suppressed support for her. In a twist, Clintonworld sources said, Comey’s final exoneration of her enraged Trump backers and pushed them to the polls in droves. Along the way, they said, misogyny played a quiet role in turning men against her without an offsetting boost in support from women. Her most ardent defenders maintain that she nailed every major moment of the campaign. “Those debates were her. The Benghazi hearing. Her convention speech. Her getting off the mat in New Hampshire,” said one senior campaign aide. “She does not give up.”

But another view, articulated by a much smaller number of her close friends and high-level advisors, holds that Clinton bears the blame for her defeat. This case rests on the theory that Hillary’s actions before the campaign—setting up the private server, putting her name on the Clinton Foundation, and giving speeches to Wall Street banks in a time of rising populism—hamstrung her own chances so badly she couldn’t recover. She was unable to prove to many voters that she was running for the presidency because she had a vision for the country rather than visions of power. And she couldn’t cast herself as anything but a lifelong insider when so much of the country had lost faith in its institutions and yearned for a fresh approach to governance. All of it fed a narrative of dynastic privilege that was woefully out of touch with the sentiment of the American electorate.

“We lost because of Clinton Inc.,” one close friend and advisor lamented. “The reality is Clinton Inc. was great for her for years and she had all the institutional benefits. But it was an albatross around the campaign.”

Allen, Jonathan and Amie Parnes. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. Crown; New York. 2017. p. 398–9

{ 0 comments }

{ 0 comments }

But over the course of the next seventy-two hours, on a series of conference calls, her team would radically reshape their approach to the final days of the campaign. In an effort to close a nasty contest on a high note and set herself up to govern from a more aspirational place, she had planned to spend millions of dollars on positive television ads in battleground states. The reintroduction of her e-mail scandal—and its attachment to Weiner—meant that she wouldn’t be able to concentrate on getting undecided voters to feel good about picking her. They already had deeply held concerns about her character, and this was going to add “Clinton fatigue” to the mix. Comey had raised the prospect of her facing criminal inquiry from the Oval Office and the country was being plunged back into the nasty, queasy politics of Bill Clinton’s final years in office.

Instead of just promoting herself on the airwaves, Hillary’s aided decided, she would use more of her cash to throw mud on Trump, to try to prevent him from getting a free ride while she again slogged through the e-mail saga. Her end-of-the-race persuasion campaign would be more of a reiteration of the case against Trump. She had to convince voters that he was even worse.

Allen, Jonathan and Amie Parnes. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. Crown; New York. 2017. p. 360

{ 0 comments }

{ 0 comments }

The real answer: she’d become the candidate of minority voters on social justice issues while Bernie was hitting her as a corrupt Wall Street-loving champion of the “rigged” financial system that took advantage of working-class voters. Whether she was perceived as hostile to working- and middle-class whites or just indifferent, it wasn’t a big leap from “she doesn’t care about my job” to “she’d rather give my job to a minority of a foreigner than fight for me to keep it.”

Meanwhile, Bernie had a message that was tailor-made for working-class whites. He’d take on the rich guys and the rigged game to deliver money and benefits to the working class. He’d kill trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that workers and their union leaders believed would result in jobs being shipped overseas. He argued that his economic fairness doctrine was color-blind and would help everyone on the lower end of the scale. Trump was hammering home the same message in the Republican primary: He’d be for the white working-class stiff. He’d void or rewrite bad trade deals, and, going beyond Bernie, he’d protect their jobs against the encroachment of undocumented Mexican immigrants.

Allen, Jonathan and Amie Parnes. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. Crown; New York. 2017. p. 179–80

{ 0 comments }

{ 1 comment }

After nearly a year on the campaign trail, and hundreds of stops at diners, coffee shops, and high school gymnasiums and just as many roundtables with young professionals and millworkers, Hillary still couldn’t figure out why Americans were so angry or how she could bring the country together. She had tried to learn the lessons of 2008 and had built a campaign that was different, if too similar in some respects, this time around. But fundamental changes in the electorate eluded her grasp. She couldn’t find ways to connect with portions of the primary electorate that were driven to Sanders because he represented an all-out assault on the establishment thinking at the core of her being.

When she peeked at the Republican primary, she saw campaigns running into a similar problem. Jeb Bush—the favourite going into the race—was being pummelled by Trump. Like Sanders, the free-wheeling billionaire businessman turned political force was taking advantage of the populist fury that had swept the nation. From her perspective, these guys weren’t offering plausible solutions. But they were good at channeling anger.

Meanwhile, she was running into the same trap as 2008. She was becoming the inevitable candidate of the status quo, the one she tried so desperately to avoid this time around by offering a raft of new policy proposals. Her message wasn’t getting through—even in the moments that weren’t dominated by the e-mail scandal. The one thing Hillary could put her finger on was that her 2016 team wasn’t doing any better job of figuring out how to connect her to the national sentiment. She was in a bubble, and so were the people around her. Together, they had a feel for national politics from the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, when the public was less dissatisfied with the Democratic establishment’s inability to solve their problems.

Allen, Jonathan and Amie Parnes. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. Crown; New York. 2017. p. 146

{ 0 comments }

{ 0 comments }

But Hillary still struggled with the question of whether she was running for Bill Clinton’s third term, Obama’s third term, or her own first term. “How do you take credit for eight years of Democratic progress but also get that things haven’t gone far enough?” said one aide who wrestled with the conundrum. “She hired us all to help her figure this out, and I think at the beginning we struggled to do that.”

The confusion was reflected in the conclusion that Favreau and Muscatine both reached early on: The campaign was an unholy mess, fraught with tangled lines of authority, petty jealousies, distorted priorities, and no sense of greater purpose. No one was in charge, and no one had figured out how to make the campaign about something bigger than Hillary…

Favreau thought Clinton’s campaign was reminiscent of John Kerry’s, where he had gotten his start in 2004—a bunch of operatives who were smart and accomplished in their own right but weren’t united by any common purpose larger than pushing a less-than-thrilling candidate into the White House. Hillary didn’t have a vision to articulate. And no one else could give one to her. In fact, the more people she assigned the task of setting the tone for her campaign, the more muddled her message became.

Allen, Jonathan and Amie Parnes. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. Crown; New York. 2017. p. 13-4

{ 0 comments }

Lavender

2017-06-21

in Photo of the day

{ 0 comments }