So I wrote a thing... about Hillary Clinton’s “So I wrote a thing...”
In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I am a Bernie Bro who not only voted for Hillary Clinton in the general election but also warned my audience and friends against making a bad decision. Obviously, it didn’t work. But I was excited to read Hillary’s version of “So I wrote a thing…”
So this isn’t going to be a “Hillary shouldn’t have written this book” rant. That’s a stupid talking point, not just because it can easily be dismissed as sexist, but also because, of course, the shoo-in candidate who took the biggest, most surprising “L” in recent political history is going to write a book about it. Are you kidding me?
I was extremely curious to find out if any of HRC’s takes in What Happened would surprise me. Sadly, they were dull and repetitive, a rehashing of everything we had already heard from her loyalists in the aftermath of the devastating loss. Doubly ironic given HRC’s claims of this book not being “a rehashing of the past but a prescription for the future.” Apparently for Hillary the future is built upon on more blame-sharing, and a steadfast clinging on to what’s marginally possible.
But let’s get into it. Let’s talk about all the things that she’s undeniably right about ― before I get into where she’s terribly wrong and potentially leading Democrats to fall into the same misguided thinking that plagued her in the Democratic primary..
Denying that Hillary was an incredibly qualified candidate even way before she’s compared to a dangerously unqualified, racist, alleged rapist is absurd.
Hillary unquestionably brought an impressive resume to the campaign. However, being a prestigious candidate does not erase the “business as usual” politics and the growing resentment towards this concept from voters. Trump’s anti-corruption demagoguery was his most successful talking point. He turned his weakness ― a lack of experience ― into his ultimate strength.
Also, “Drain the Swamp” is still a far superior campaign slogan to “Love Trumps Hate” because one speaks to the legitimate problem voters perceived within DC, while the other is cripplingly obsessed with fighting against the perceived evil monster Trump (even though that’s literally what he is). In this way, Trump turned Hillary’s extensive governing experience from an asset into an albatross he could hang around her neck.
Trump helped drive a discourse in which Hillary’s long track record of accomplishments, which necessarily involved a whole lot of compromise, or, “flip-flopping” to the layperson, hurt her. A Chris Cillizza-like amoral pundit class that has dedicated their entire lives to understanding the complexities of the political arena will excuse this. An electorate frustrated with what they perceive to be DC corruption will not.
We all know “What Happened.” Hillary’s lengthy CV certainly did not sway the minds of voters angry at real economic problems but mistakenly assigned blame to racially charged prescriptions. These were people desperate for change, many of the privileged bunch whom made the ill-advised choice of voting for Trump in spite of the overwhelming evidence that he would be as awful as he has proven to be, as well as those who voted for him because of that awfulness. “I drink liberal tears” would make a fine slogan for the opposition party of very vocal yet still somehow silent underdogs, and it fucking worked ― paired with many empty promises about fixing infrastructure, bringing back jobs and a bunch of other racist shit.
So despite her war-hawkish and ideologically inconsistent track record, Hillary is absolutely one of the most important female icons of our generation. Hillary definitely rocks in the way that she could be just as evil as the rest of the calculating, corporate-facing DC assholes with dicks. And I do admire and respect her for this. I’m not even remotely kidding. However, this brings me to my next point (segue bitchhhhhh)
Denying that sexism played a part in Hillary’s loss is also dumb.
Even when analyzed with the least qualitative lens, one can easily see the extra focus both the media and voters placed on Hillary’s flaws as we overlooked or downplayed the flagrantly abusive ― and often-times idiotic ― rhetoric Trump (a poster boy for white privilege and male privilege) filled the airwaves with.
However inexcusable, sexism is a reality ― and if sexism contributed to driving Sanders supporters towards Trump, then back in 08 racism contributed to driving angry Hillary supporters to vote for John McCain instead of Barack Obama ― at much higher margins than Bernie-bro’s voted for Trump, mind you. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Yes, Russia and James Comey also contributed to the loss significantly
I won’t get too far into the Russia and Comey subject. These factors are mostly true and we’re finding out more about Russia’s involvement in election meddling everyday. Yes, there was an unequal amount of leaked information against Clinton that left the Democratic side exposed. Paired with years of pre-existing Clinton conspiracies, this new information fueled the fire already burning against Clinton.
But we mustn’t simply gloss over the reality that a majority of the exposed shit within the leaks were actual things Hillary Clinton said and did. In this instance, getting mad at the leaks is no different than getting upset at Edward Snowden rather than the NSA for unconstitutionally surveilling Americans or getting mad at Ava Duvernay for including Hillary’s “superpredators” quote in her documentary “The 13th” instead of questioning Hillary for advancing the racially charged concept to begin with. It’s a deflection of responsibility away from the person solely responsible, which has been an overwhelming theme with Hillary and her supporters.
But I must repeat that it is still absolutely insane to think anything Hillary said or did was worse than the impeccable consistency in which Donald Trump exposed to non-white non-male Americans his asshole on national television every. Single. Fucking. Week.
Hillary lost for a number of reasons, some of which she admits in her book, some were outright omitted, and others deflected away. It’s impossible to please everyone, if anyone knows this ― it’s prolific means tester Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But there are three excerpts from Hillary’s Pod Save America interview that perfectly summarizes her deflections and provide the foundation for my gripe with her campaign, the repeated failings of establishment Democrats and their donors - and this tell-all-but-not-really-all book overall:
The “Bernie’s not a Democrat” defense
This is bullshit. The dude unseated a Democrat as an independent back in the same year Reagan was almost assassinated ― everyone should collectively get the fuck over this as we work through this obviously new concept(?), that we are condemned to live within a two party system.
Bernie’s not a Democrat? Is he not a Democrat even though he caucuses with Dems? When he mostly “tows the party line” unless it’s a compromise on his ideological integrity? Is it because he voted against the Iraq War? Or Is Bernie not a Democrat because “How dare he try to provide a more progressive alternative to what our Democratic establishment believed was the most electable candidate for the country?” Btw, that Democratic establishment failed. In a really public way. In a “bigly” way. So all this “sweeping under the rug” is not genuine, it’s carefully crafted to maintain their positions of power. It’s like when Equifax fucks up big time by not putting in proper security measures for your social security, but instead of admitting they fucked up and facing the consequences, they try to screw consumers over further and deflect ― but this time it’s our health care, and the lives of millions of undocumented citizens on the line.
The “Bernie’s no Democrat” rhetoric also creates this weird tribal identity around the Democratic Party which holds that maintaining the sanctity of said party and its greatest standard-bearer Hillary Clinton on a higher plane as more important than the party’s policies, if advanced by who Hillary and the DNC deems to be an “outsider”
What a great big “fuck you” to the millions of Americans who vote Democrat but have the gall to care about universal healthcare and free public universities.
Bernie’s as Democratic as they come, he’s just not your Democrat.
The “I couldn’t expand upon Obama’s programs because I am a Democrat” defense.
Double dog BS. One, because she has been throwing Obama under the bus fairly regularly on her promotional circuit because he told her not to attack Bernie ― which she did anyway, and also because she was mad at Obama for making progress on green energy initiatives that increased resentment against the Democrats among workers dependent on fossil fuel industries. What? So Obama should’ve subsidized more of the coal industry and then maybe you could have campaigned more in important swing states like Pennsylvania, I guess.
Also Obama literally has mentioned, probably a billion times, that the ACA is supposed to be a stepping stone toward universal health care, a concept Hillary has described as impossible to enact. The same concept that Mr. Non-Democrat Bernie Sanders has successfully been able to get in front of the Democratic party, which is now hopping on the Bern-train. All aboard baby, sexist ass health care for everyone.
However denying that Bernie had something to do with Hillary’s results is meaningless ― it was a strong primary ― Hillary faced a challenge she overcame with many millions of more votes, but to go back to this primary and keep repeating the same mistakes and alienating millions of passionate democratic voters by calling them sexist (not denying there were sexists) or racists, or similar to the alt-right via the extremely smooth-brained political horseshoe theory is not only counterproductive, but also boring at this point. It’s tired and dull.
What Could She Have Changed?
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly ― when asked to sum up her faults and how she would change how she campaigned, Hillary drops her ultimate gem: “Nothing on the policy front, but definitely would be more open minded to weird unforeseeable things, like Russia hacking our entire election.”
An entire book summarized with these words. Her profound inability to admit mistakes, in order to not repeat them, is ultimately going to let this circus machine that keeps pumping out new, and even more viciously racist assclowns on the Republican side while Dems keep throwing banal boring Hail Mary candidates like John Ossoff at walls in red districts with hopes that they stick. Without candidates who clearly support populist economic programs, as well as social justice, we will simply remain the anti-Trump party. And we will lose.
At a time when one side’s trying to maintain the status quo, while the other is destroying that status quo with pure racist vengeance ― the takeaway from this book is no different: the same glaringly out-of-touch elitist talking points that shifted the responsibility away from a failed campaign to an electorate that did not vote or voted elsewhere. Politicians need to work for our votes and encourage us to campaign on their behalf, lest the nation continue to turn into a larger demoralized voter base that doesn’t believe their vote counts for something.
I’m glad Hillary wrote her book, and she is rightfully an icon for girls all over the U.S. ― but if Democrats want to win, we’re going to need to latch on to clearly identifiable progressive policies ― no matter how economically unfeasible they may seem, policies that terrify Republicans who want a future where the poor are melted for biomatter ― and I don’t know if that will happen when we’re so busy blaming Russia and Bernie.