Word came recently that Hillary Clinton has authored a new book entitled, “What Happened” If she is still in doubt about what caused her defeat in the 2016 Presidential election, I would recommend she read a book entitled, “Shattered”. That book is a 400+ page meticulously researched tome by authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Its sub-title is “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign”.
The book purports to get inside and it does so in a most riveting fashion. For starters, the campaign resembled a two-headed monster since there was a savvy political operative as Campaign Chairman, John Podesta and a youthful avant-garde data analytical specialist, Robby Mook. On Podesta’s side, he had a strong ally in the person of ex-President, Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton, who was a master of retail politics, believed that Hillary should have made many more public appearances. Podesta firmly agreed with this approach. On the other hand, Mook felt that Hillary’s best chance for election was to regenerate the Obama coalition, which had been developed by using his favorite tool of data analysis. Actually, Mook’s approach succeeded in driving white working class voters away from Hillary since they perceived her as being more interested in minorities than them.
Hillary’s travails began in the Democratic Primary where septuagenarian Socialist Bernie Sanders dragged her far to the left. The unlikely Sanders soon became a rock star with young millennials. By doing so, he succeeded in stripping away that portion of the previous Obama coalition.
According to “Shattered”, when the shocked Hillary learned on election night of her loss, she immediately blamed Wiki Leaks and FBI Director Comey for her defeat. Actually, Comey’s last minute interference about her emails was attributed to information that Hillary’s gate-keeper Huma Abedin had forwarded thousands of emails to the computer owned by her husband, the disgraced Anthony Wiener.
The Allen and Parnes book accurately describes the startling difference between the campaigns run by Hillary and Trump. In Hillary’s case, she had some 800 paid staff members while Trump ran a lean machine of 130 paid staffers. During the summer of 2016, she spent the majority of her time on fund-raising activities and was out-spending Trump by more than two to one. In fact, during one month while she was doling out millions, Trump was spending zero because he was getting enormous media coverage by staging huge rallies. One reason for Hillary’s bloated staff was that when she became disenchanted with any of them, she did not fire them from their positions, but merely hired someone else to overlap their authority. This tendency caused enormous confusion and massive amounts of internal back-biting as was attested in the hacked Podesta emails. Name-calling was routine and major and minor jealousies were exposed.
Another of Hillary’s major problems was in crafting speeches that were acceptable to her. She would routinely use as many as six speech writers to deliver the final rendition. Political speech writing is best done by a singular writer with an understanding of what the candidate’s position happens to be. Speech writing by committee delivers a result that the old saying best describes-”A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”
Whatever lengthy list of excuses that Hillary will come up with about her defeat, the singular admonition to her should be, “Look in the mirror.”