Opinion: Where was this Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential Campaign?
To hear Hillary Clinton put it, losing the 2016 presidential campaign to the worst candidate ever was her fault. Wait, what? Hillary Clinton actually admits that she made mistakes that led to her humiliating loss to a political neophyte?
During the campaign and for months leading up to it, I saw Hillary Clinton as someone who didn’t understand the issues facing average Americans.
Watching her campaign always me with the impression that she was programmed, that she had no idea what people around her were going through or even her reasons for running for office.
Now listening to her doing a postmortem of the election and reading excerpts from her book – What Happened – I am left with many questions.
Where was this blunt talking, straight for the jocular Hillary Clinton during the campaign?
Why was she unable to clearly articulate her feelings throughout the campaign?
Why was she so cautious, so robotic?
Why did she hold back to the degree where she was almost unrecognizable during the campaign?
What happened, Hillary?
“I understood there was anger and fear and people were really unhappy because of what had happened in the financial crash. I understood all of that,” Clinton told NPR.
“What I didn’t — and I say this in the book — I didn’t really do well is conveying how much I understood of that, conveying how I got the despair and the anger.”
“I talked about it, but I didn’t really convey the emotional resonance,” she said.
Right on the money, Hillary. That was the problem.
If you understood it, why didn’t you say so? Why did it have to take a postmortem for you to appear “human”?
Sure, other factors contributed to the results but what makes me glad is that you recognize your shortcomings, that the loss was about you.
During the campaign, you came across like a robot that its programmers thought should be afraid to speak its mind.
You came across as someone who knew what she was talking about but was afraid to say what she thought.
Trump won not because he was brilliant – we all know he was not – he won because he was blunt.
Never mind Comey, Russia, email, sexism or any other issues you believe contributed to the outcome. The number one reason you lost was you just didn’t come across as someone who cared about the Average American.
You came across as professorial while Trump came across as the ordinary man on the street. He spoke to peoples’ fears, hopes and yes, prejudices. Love him or hate him, he spoke what his voters were thinking.
Hillary, your voters knew racism was at play during the election. We saw sexism and Russia. We thought Comey was off base too.
The problem was you did not articulate our fears, needs or feelings. It was like you were ignoring your base while trying really hard to get Republicans to like you.
You did not excite your base. That is why you lost.
You allowed yourself to be defined as the epitome of everything wrong with politics by a man who was a hundred times worse.
You have core beliefs, Trump does not. You are intelligent, Trump is not. You have empathy, Trump does not. You understood what the ordinary person in America was going through, Trump did not, and still does not.
Yes, you let him define you.
In your interview with NPR, you said you will no longer run for office. I wish you will reconsider because I believe you will make a great president. Far better than the bozo we have there now.
I wish you would have tried one more time.
“I think the country’s at risk, and I’m trying to sound the alarm so more people will at least pay attention. I’m not going anywhere. I have the experience, I have the insight, I have the scars that I think give me not only the right, but the responsibility to speak out.”
Gee Hillary. I wish you would have been this forthright during the campaign.
“Look, I was prepared to be president. I had prepared and worked at it, and I go a little bit batty when I hear him say, ‘Gee, this is a really hard job. Who knew health care was so complicated?’ I did. No, I always am responding and reacting. Sometimes I yell at the TV even.”
“I take ultimate responsibility for the loss. I was the candidate. I was the person whose name was on the ballot. And I’ll never get over that.”
That was what we needed during the campaign – honest, straightforward talk.
Can you imagine if you had forcefully called out Donald Trump for his sexism, Bernie Sanders for his negative campaigning or the Republicans for all the damages they are doing to this country?
Or maybe just spoken forthrightly about how you really felt about America and what Americans were going through?
Imagine what that would have done for your base.
Sure, some Bernie supporters would have been angered by your words but it would have done a whole lot more for your supporters and for those who were at that time wondering why they should vote for you.
“His message was ‘discriminatory, it was bigoted, it was prejudiced.’ And yet it fed into part of the electorate that just wanted to have a primal scream. They didn’t like what was going on. They wanted something different. They weren’t interested in what you could actually do, because clearly Trump hasn’t done very much that he said he would do. But they really responded to his racial and ethnic and sexist appeals.’”
Goodness gracious! I wish you said something similar during the campaign. Even when it was obvious that Trump was attempting to get to the White House by appealing to nativist – read racist – tendencies, you did not forcefully call him out. You danced over the whole thing.
“Losing is my biggest regret. And losing to someone who was not qualified and did not have the experience or the temperament to be president of the United States. That is my biggest regret.”
Our regret too.
Imagine what a President Hillary Clinton would have done for America. We would have had an intelligent, understanding and compassionate president, one that the whole world would respect.
My hope is that after your book tour ends, that you will take a deep breadth and think of ways to help the Democratic Party and America get back on track.
Help Democrats unify, Hillary. Help us move past 2016.
We have 2018 and 2020 to think about now. We need you to help guide the party, however you feel is in your power to do so.
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