Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series on the shocking defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. It features a conversation on Liberty Nation Radio with Amie Parnes, co-author of the definitive book on the Clinton campaign, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.
This was supposed to be a cakewalk. She was, for all intents and purposes, the anointed one. A winner by default, if by no other method.
She was the one who would preserve both the Obama and Clinton legacies. She would cement Obama’s progressive agenda that sought to fundamentally transform America. Despite widely perceived character flaws, she had the name, the money and the power to overwhelm a wild and bombastic insurgent like Donald Trump. In any conventional sense, she had it all going on. She was ahead in virtually all the polls from start to finish. She registered as a possible landslide winner just one month out from the election. She had her impending administration fastidiously organized.
But then came Election Day, and a shocking defeat that destroyed not only her, but the progressive legacy of the last eight years, in the blink of an eye.
So what word comes to mind when you think of Hillary Clinton and the 2016 election? How about…Shattered? Well, that’s the title of a new book – subtitled Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign – with all kinds of inside dope on Hillary, her campaign and her devastating, career-defining defeat at the hands of Donald Trump. We spoke with co-author Amie Parnes on Liberty Nation Radio.
LN: If you had to write a headline based on what’s in your book, what would it say, and what would you write in, say, the first three paragraphs of the story?
Ms. Parnes: I would say that there is a lot more to the story than just James Comey, the FBI director, and Russia. It’s a very easy excuse to give…those two reasons were definitely a part of why she lost the campaign, but my co-author and I tell so much more in this book. Messed up messaging problem, there were internal fights,there wasn’t a clear hierarchy. All of these things contributed to what everyone thought on Election Night was a stunning loss for Hillary Clinton.
LN: Well, after investigating Hillary in the 2016 campaign so thoroughly, which conclusion do you believe is closer to the truth: That Hillary should have won this thing, and just blew it? Or that she was a fatally flawed candidate from the beginning?
Ms. Parnes: It was hers to lose, obviously, and I think that’s why this stuff is so interesting. Because she had the traditional campaign infrastructure, and she had financial and surrogate star power behind her campaign. She had her name. But the one thing that she didn’t have was a clear idea, a clear simple message.
We all know that Donald Trump wanted to make America great again. And we know his positions on NAFTA, and on building a wall. These were things that if you asked your average person on the street what Trump wants to do, they know. I don’t think it was as clear with Hillary Clinton, and I think that problem kind of dogged her throughout the campaign.
LN: When you consider the things she could have changed – her campaign staff, the way she positioned herself, and the many mistakes and scandals – the email scandal, the truckloads of foreign cash that the Clinton Foundation continued to rake in, her neglect of those states in the Midwest behind the blue wall – and the intervention by the FBI Director 10 days before the election, and allegedly by Russia – which of those might be an “if only”? in other words, If only one of those missteps, or scandals, or interventions had not occurred, she would have won.
Ms. Parnes: I think email had to have been the big one, because it was thing she was talking about before the campaign, and it was the thing that people were focused on at the end of the campaign…It’s tricky, because as you say, there were so many factors here. There were her paid speeches to Wall Street banks, and everything else. All this played into what people thought was an out-of-touch candidate. Someone they thought had likability issues, and someone that just wasn’t relatable.
In the final part of our series tomorrow, we will discuss with Ms. Parnes how the campaign ignored the advice of a former President – Bill Clinton – and how Hillary Clinton managed to blow an overwhelming lead in the polls just one month before the election.