Editor’s Note: This is the last of a three-part series reviewing the many books written about the unforgettable 2016 presidential election.
So many books, so little time. If you’re a political junkie, there is much to attract your attention in the broad range of volumes written about the unforgettable 2016 election – and from almost every perspective. Having consumed six of these books cover-to-cover, and parts of many others, we hope the reviews and awards offered here will assist in your last minute Christmas shopping, even if you want to slip in a little gift for yourself.
In the first part of this series, we offered up the best page-turner, Donna Brazile’s Hacks, the best pro-Trump book, Game of Thorns, and the best anti-Trump volume, Unbelievable by NBC’s Katy Tur.
In the second part, we handed out awards for the best objective analysis, Defying the Odds, the best unbiased reporting, Shattered, the best pure propaganda, Roger Stone’s Making of the President 2016, plus the most disappointing book, How Trump Won, by Breitbart’s Joel Pollak.
Today, we close with three final awards. All of them are for books with an anti-Trump perspective. And we saved the most famous, or infamous, for last.
SOUR GRAPES SPECIAL: How the Right Lost Its Mind by Charles Sykes
This is the perfect book for those virtue-signaling NeverTrump conservatives and establishment Republicans who yearn for another diatribe on how Trump – and importantly, his conservative supporters – betrayed the conservative movement. The author spares few insults in describing what an awful vulgarian Trump truly is, and how unthinkable it is that other real conservatives would support the guy.
One suspects that the likes of George Will, Bill Kristol along with the many NeverTrumpers at National Review – and few others – will enjoy this tale of woe composed by a longtime conservative who refused to vote for Trump. He and his fellow travelers gave aid and comfort to Hillary and the Democrats during the campaign, and obviously have a very high opinion of their own morality. These high-minded elites proclaim their fealty to a doctrinaire conservative agenda, and are appalled that populist rabble would be allowed to infiltrate the GOP (Hillary called them deplorables).
One wonders what these conservative Trump rejectionists think of Neil Gorsuch and the array of constitutionalist federal judges already appointed by Trump, the roaring economy, the 30 percent rise in the stock market, the dramatic rollback of federal regulations, once-in-a-generation tax reform, immigration enforcement, calling out media bias, and all the other things they have claimed to desire for years that would never be happening without Trump. Apparently, these things must only be accomplished by a member of their exclusive club.
MOST UNFUNNY ATTEMPT TO BE FUNNY: How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016, by P.J. O’Rourke
PJ O’Rourke used to be funny. Really funny, in fact. But in 2016, after years of satirizing and ripping apart everything and everybody on the left with abandon, PJ’s idea of humor was his own virtue-signaling proclamation that he would vote for Hillary Clinton. Because Donald Trump was just that bad.
Now, in an attempt to regain relevance, his idea of funny is to write a book taking one cheap shot after another at both candidates, which he thinks are quite hilarious, while neglecting to mention that he voted for Hillary. Or at least he didn’t in the 30 or so pages I bothered to read before effortlessly deleting the sample from my trusty Kindle. Mr. O’Rourke is another in a long line of anti-Trump conservatives who have been rendered irrelevant in the age of Trump, and his attempts at humor, which fall surprisingly flat, are not likely to help his return to grace.
MOST SELF-SERVING: What Happened, by Hillary Clinton
Boy, where to begin? In this sad and persistently argumentative book, Hillary attempts more than anything else to talk people out of disliking her (sort of the inverse of Sally Fields’ famous “you like me, you like me”). Simultaneously, she tries to convince people that the country may well crumble with Donald Trump in the White House.
And the excuses. Oh, the excuses. There have been multiple media “counts” of the number of reasons Mrs. Clinton has given for losing the election…none of which involve her. I personally lost count at 18 about halfway through this book: James Comey, the Russians, the media’s focus on her emails…I won’t bore you with the rest.
That said, the early part of this book is effective in revealing Hillary’s mindset as she weighed whether to run at all (she claims, unlike most reports, that it was not a sure bet), and how she planned to position herself. Later in the book, she devolves mostly into lectures, excuses, and ad hominem attacks on Trump, which have the unmistakable ring of a sore loser who looks everywhere but the mirror in explaining away her historically disastrous campaign.
The many who reveled in Hillary’s shocking downfall might get a cheap thrill out of reading about her self-proclaimed victimhood and searing hatred for the 45th President. But, in the end, Hillary’s plaintiff wails are, as Shakespeare put it, full of sound and fury…signifying nothing (I have redacted the first part of this Macbeth quote for fear of setting off a trigger warning that could violate Hillary’s safe space. Go look it up yourself).
BEST REVISIONIST HISTORY: What Happened, by Hillary Clinton (oh, sorry, that already won most self-serving book – no double-dipping allowed)
AS YET UNREAD: Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency, by Corey R. Lewandowski and David N. Bossie
Sorry, haven’t gotten to this one yet. But the authors were managers of the Trump campaign, and reviews indicate there is a good supply of inside information which will undoubtedly delight Trumpists and be labeled as “fake news” by the left.