In recent days, news outlets such as NBC News have secured copies of Hillary Clinton’s highly anticipated book What Happened, the tell-all story of her 2016 presidential campaign. True to the bombastic and sensationalized atmosphere that surrounded the political whole of 2016, the published excerpts of the book not only discuss the campaign’s internal failings but take prominent aim at external forces as well.
Media reports, which have thus far been effective at garnering obscene viewership figures, have strongly and ostensibly, rightfully, highlighted the veritable blitz of blame that the former presidential contender has placed squarely at the feet of her numerous adversaries. In those passages, Clinton has given powerful voice to the freshly-buried scorn of her core supporters.
To be certain, it should be noted that Clinton does indeed hold herself largely accountable for the implosion of her campaign, an electoral detonation that many observers viewed as an unmitigated political tragedy, taking a dose of responsibility for horrendous messaging fumbles like labeling Trump supporters as “deplorables.” However, while acknowledging the ghastly mistake, Clinton does effectively argue that such a costly faux pas didn’t warrant the elevation to campaign-crippling status, and she’s sorry that in the wake of issuing such a careless blanket statement that voters misunderstood her “to be criticizing all Trump voters.”
While first-person accounts of history-shaping events, particularly those that will serve as seminal moments in American politics, are of incredible significance, there’s an underlying political fatigue that sees many individuals lacking the desire to relive one of the single-most grotesque presidential elections in history. What’s more is that many despondent Americans harbor no appetite for consuming the less than introspective outlook that dominated her lackluster campaign.
To be honest, we’re tired of hearing the old tale of how Bernie Sanders’ primary challenge was unprecedented in its brutalization of her presidential aspirations. The truth is that all primaries are bruising. We’re tired of hearing how Jim Comey’s handling of the email investigation sabotaged perceptions about Clinton’s public image when her opponent was stumbling headlong into one news cycle-grabbing gaffe after another. We’re tired of hearing how Jill Stein robbed her of critical electoral votes when she all but abandoned the ground game in the upper Midwest.
The reality was that the system wasn’t predisposed to hold her in contempt. The system did not force her to enter the employ of Goldman Sachs, a firm reported by McClatchy to have played a role in sparking the subprime mortgage crisis, and then run on a flimsy “tough on Wall Street” platform. The system did not force her to adhere to policies that left Millennials thoroughly unenthused, nor did it mandate that she lead an admittedly passionless campaign when seeking the highest office in the land. Perhaps most importantly of all, the system did not force her to ignore the overwhelming populist undercurrents that rippled through the American populace.
All of these things, the injuries that truly hobbled her campaign and doomed her ambitions were self-inflicted. While the urge to avenge a stinging loss by lashing out at exaggerated malevolent actors is understandable, it’s less than productive when the splintered Democratic Party she used to lead heads into the all important 2018 midterms. With that being said, it’s time to turn the proverbial page and focus on the road that lies ahead, not the political carnage that decorates the past.
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