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Hillary Clinton Blames Obama, Biden, Others for Her Loss

Hillary-Clinton-What-Happened

After thirty-two years of voting Republican for president, I went the other way in 2016—despite the Democrats fielding the nominee that I liked least of all their previous offerings during that stretch.  Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir demonstrates both why she was obviously far superior to Donald Trump as a presidential choice and why it took me so long to convince myself to actually vote for her.

CNN’s Dan Merica and Kevin Liptak provide an early look.

While she casts blame for her shocking less widely, she begins with herself:

“I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want — but I was the candidate,” she writes. “It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.”

In a voice that swings from defiant to conciliatory to — at rare moments — deeply vulnerable, Clinton does assume ownership where the fault lines are obvious. And in overarching terms, she admits she badly misjudged the environment in which she was running and the candidate she was running against.

But she quickly shifts to others in her own party:

But Clinton still finds ample blame to go around. She writes bluntly that sexism hampered her ability to reach voters effectively. She offers unvarnished assessments of those who have cast doubts on her campaign, including Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, her former rival. And she singles out James Comey — a “rash FBI director” — for direct and lashing criticism.

Sanders is obvious. His campaign bloodied her on the left and arguably paved the way for Jill Stein and others to siphon votes that might have made the difference. But Obama and Biden?  All I can gather from the report is that she’s annoyed at Obama for not doing more to push the Russian interference narrative (see later in the post) and an offhand post-mortem from Biden:

“Joe Biden said the Democratic Party in 2016 “did not talk about what it always stood for — and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class,'” Clinton writes. “I find this fairly remarkable, considering that Joe himself campaigned for me all over the Midwest and talked plenty about the middle class.”

But Joe Biden wasn’t running for president. The fact that others—including Donald Trump—were doing a better job than she was at addressing this sore spot is problematic.

I find her inner wonkiness endearing:

She tells readers she has spent the months since her defeat reading studies, reports and news articles (all cited in her book) that offer suggestions at how her style of campaigning was lost on an angry and disillusioned electorate. In places, “What Happened” reads like the term paper of a student studying the most unpredictable loss in modern American politics.

And this seems more than reasonable, if perhaps a skosh resentful:

“I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t realize how quickly the ground was shifting under all our feet,” she writes. “I was running a traditional presidential campaign with carefully thought-out policies and painstakingly built coalitions, while Trump was running a reality TV show that expertly and relentlessly stoked Americans’ anger and resentment.”

Clinton makes frank admissions about the places she fell short. She acknowledges it was bad “optics” to deliver paid speeches to Wall Street banks after the financial meltdown last decade. She says her comment during a CNN town hall about putting coal miners out of business was the misstep “I regret the most.” And, as she has before, Clinton calls her decision to use a private email server during her time at the State Department as “dumb.”

But she quickly turns the blame back outward:

“Comey’s letter turned that picture upside down,” Clinton writes about her tarnished image, which she said had gone from a picture of a steady leader to one compromised by scandal.

In a lengthy middle section, Clinton unpacks Russia’s meddling in the election, openly wondering whether a more forceful public response from then-President Barack Obama could have changed matters.

And she describes her regret at not facing Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a US president — a form of vengeance she can now only imagine.

“There’s nothing I was looking forward to more than showing Putin that his efforts to influence our election and install a friendly puppet had failed,” she writes. “I know he must be enjoying everything that’s happened instead. But he hasn’t had the last laugh yet.”

There’s no need to rehash their decisions—we’ve done that plenty in the months leading up to and shortly after the election but suffice it to say that Comey, an Obama appointee, and Obama, her former boss and head of the Democratic Party, were both in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. While it’s easy to understand her post hoc bitterness, their actions would have actually helped her had she—as all indications had led us to believe—won the Electoral College in addition to the popular vote.

A report in The Hill from Jonathan Easley provides a few more insights into Hillary Clinton’s complaints—and shows some Democrats annoyed that she won’t just go away.

In the book, Clinton says she was put in a “straightjacket” during the primary by former President Obama, who she writes advised her not to attack Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), her rival in the Democratic primary, out of fear it would divide the party ahead of the general election.

Clinton writes that she bristled at former Vice President Joe Biden‘s suggestion that she failed to adequately convey the Democratic Party’s commitment to helping the middle class.

And Clinton unloads on Sanders, mocking his policy proposals as pie-in-the-sky fantasies and ripping his supporters on social media — the so-called Bernie bros — as sexist.

Clinton says that Sanders’s attacks did “lasting damage” to her general election hopes. She accuses him of “paving the way” for Trump to cast her as a corrupt corporate stooge deserving of the nickname “Crooked Hillary.”

Sanders brushed off Clinton’s criticism in a Wednesday interview with The Hill, saying it’s time for Democrats to “look forward, not backward.”

Not everyone was so charitable. Even some of Clinton’s allies have grown weary of her insistence on re-litigating the 2016 campaign at a time when the Democratic Party is looking to forge a new identity in the age of Trump.

“The best thing she could do is disappear,” said one former Clinton fundraiser and surrogate who played an active role at the convention. “She’s doing harm to all of us because of her own selfishness. Honestly, I wish she’d just shut the f— up and go away.”

There’s very little chance of that.

Merica and Liptak note that,

[Clinton] wonders aloud why, after terms as first lady, US senator, secretary of state and two-time presidential candidate, the public still just doesn’t seem to like her. ”What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I’m really asking. I’m at a loss,” she asks her readers, before concluding: “I think it’s partly because I’m a woman.”

There’s little doubt that she both benefitted from and was hampered by her sex. Negative attacks simply don’t land as well when they’re directed at—or coming from—a woman. And women have a much tougher balancing act in demonstrating that they’re “tough” while at the same time expected to be warm and nurturing.

But sex likely permanently colored her image for those of us over a certain age because she didn’t conform to the norms of the unelected office of First Lady. Many in the Democratic Party love her for it but she rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. And, while public sympathy for her after the Monica Lewinski scandal helped her win a Senate seat in a state where she’d never lived, there are also many who resent her enabling her husband’s awful behavior. She apparently devoted considerable space in the book to the issue:

Clinton also opens up about her personal life with lengthy passages dedicated to her daughter, her mother and, most notably, her husband. She describes her marriage to former President Bill Clinton as one with “many, many more happy days than sad or angry ones” and confronts all the worst public assumptions about the relationship.

“I heard it again on the 2016 campaign … it’s just a marriage on paper now,” she writes, adding “(he is reading this over my shoulder in our kitchen with our dogs underfoot and in a minute he will reorganize our bookshelves for the millionth time … but I don’t mind because he really loves to organize those bookshelves).”

[…]

In describing her scrutinized marriage to the 42nd president, Clinton reveals deep resentments at the rumors and innuendo that have colored public speculation about the partnership since the late 1990s.

Writing with pique, Clinton is unapologetic for wanting to keep the personal aspects of her marriage private, even in a world where the details of her husband’s affairs have been widely aired.

“There were times that I was deeply unsure about whether our marriage could or should survive,” she wrote. “But on those days, I asked myself the questions that mattered to me: Do I still love him? And can I still be in this marriage without becoming unrecognizable to myself — twisted by anger, resentment, or remoteness? The answers were always yes.”

Clinton also appears to be wrestling with other demons throughout “What Happened” as she comes to terms with the aftermath of her devastating loss. Searching for answers, Clinton steadfastly insists that the woman who has spent decades persevering in a harsh spotlight won’t be embittered by a final humiliating blow.

In the same manner she has remained by her husband’s side, Clinton writes she is intent on remaining in public life — despite its dark moments and uncertain payout — instead of seething in solitude.

Oddly, I think that she’s have improved her vaunted “likability” if she’d been more open about this aspect of her life during the campaign.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. KM says:

    Oddly, I think that she’s have improved her vaunted “likability” if she’d been more open about this aspect of her life during the campaign.

    Wonderfully optimistic of you, James. But when the choice was Trump or Clinton and the answer ends up being Trump, no amount of “likability” would have changed the equation.

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  2. I haven’t read many of the early articles about this book so I don’t know whether or not Clinton addresses more fundamental mistakes her campaign made, such as the failure to address the multiple warnings it was receiving from people in Midwestern states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and others regarding which way the winds were blowing. According to other post-election accounts, these warnings were coming from both people on the ground, like former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, but also Bill Clinton himself, who apparently was often cut off from the campaign staff during the course of the campaign. As I’ve noted before, she only lost those states by ~77,000 votes combined and winning there would have put her over the top in the Electoral College.

    For the most part, though, it seems as though she’s retreated back to the familiar pattern of blaming others for her own mistakes and shortcomings as a candidate.

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  3. @KM:

    The odd thing about that is that Trump’s “likeability” numbers were much worse than Clinton’s throughout the course of the campaign.

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  4. Stormy Dragon says:

    I take responsibility for all of them.

    Other than saying she has, in what ways has she actually taken responsibility for the loss? How is our current world in which Clinton “took responsibility for all of them” different from one in which she wouldn’t take responsibility?

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  5. James Pearce says:

    She acknowledges it was bad “optics” to deliver paid speeches to Wall Street banks after the financial meltdown last decade. She says her comment during a CNN town hall about putting coal miners out of business was the misstep “I regret the most.” And, as she has before, Clinton calls her decision to use a private email server during her time at the State Department as “dumb.”

    No mention of the pretending not the have pneumonia thing?

    Also:

    ”What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I’m really asking. I’m at a loss,” she asks her readers, before concluding: “I think it’s partly because I’m a woman.”

    This, for me, is why I’m in the “shut the f— up and go away” camp when it comes to Hillary. She got more votes than Trump. She almost won.

    And yet, she lost not due to her own missteps or because sometimes that’s what happens, but “because I’m a woman.”

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  6. Kylopod says:

    Sanders is obvious. His campaign bloodied her on the left and arguably paved the way for Jill Stein and others to siphon votes that might have made the difference

    I actually think her attacks on Sanders reveal how self-serving and hypocritical her present criticisms are. I wasn’t happy with the way Sanders conducted himself during the campaign. But frankly, it was mild compared with the way she behaved toward Obama in 2008. Practically everything Sanders did to her, she had done to Obama, only she did it worse. These include:

    (1) She claimed McCain was better qualified than Obama.

    (2) She ran an ad suggesting Obama would be unprepared to handle a foreign-policy crisis. (This was particularly ridiculous coming from her, because while it’s true Obama was inexperienced, she didn’t exactly have a well of foreign policy experience at that point that made her better suited to the job than Obama. She’d been a senator for a little longer than he had, and before that she’d been First Lady. Boo frickin hoo.)

    (3) She declared that Obama was a Christian “as far as I know.”

    (4) She propagated misleading talking points about Obama’s tenure that were later picked up by Republicans. Most notably, her campaign made hay out of the fact that Obama had voted “present” over a hundred times while state senator–neglecting to mention that it constituted only a very tiny percentage of his total number of votes. This became a major talking point among Republicans. Sarah Palin relied on it heavily at the GOP convention, falsely implying that Obama had been a do-nothing legislator.

    (5) She referenced Bobby Kennedy’s assassination when discussing why she wanted to stay in the race.

    (6) She made the deeply misleading claim that she had won the popular vote.

    (7) She questioned the legitimacy of the election results, actually comparing it to the fraudulent elections in Zimbabwe. (Yes, she really said that.)

    (8) Like Bernie, she called upon the superdelegates to basically coronate her, ignoring the results of the primaries.

    Keep in mind, also, that the percentage of 2008 Hillary supporters who ended up supporting McCain was higher than the Bernie-to-Trump defectors in 2016. It’s just that Obama managed to win the general election by a comfortable enough margin that these relatively small defections didn’t matter. In 2016, they may have.

    I had the distinct feeling in 2008 that she was deliberately trying to torpedo Obama’s chances of defeating McCain, so that she could come back in 2012 with an “I told you so” message.

    It’s particularly interesting that she depicts herself as the grownup in the 2016 race. I suppose next to Donald Trump anyone looks like a grownup, but that doesn’t mean we should forget how far down the rabbit hole her 2008 campaign went.

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  7. James Joyner says:

    @KM:

    But when the choice was Trump or Clinton and the answer ends up being Trump, no amount of “likability” would have changed the equation.

    Anecdotally, I’ve met lots of Republicans who passionately disliked Trump and yet voted for him because they just couldn’t stomach Hillary. I don’t know that there were enough people in that camp to have made the difference but we’re talking about a relative handful of votes. Almost anything could have turned the tide.

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  8. Franklin says:

    So Sanders beat Hillary up a little bit. And what were Trump’s 10+ opponents doing to him?

    Look, Trump won for similar reasons to why Sanders did “better than expected”. They were the only ones who were actually going to do something significantly different for a change, for good or for bad. And for people who feel left out or stuck in a rut, shaking things up seems like their only chance.

    The rest of this “blame game” stuff probably accounts for less than 2% of the total vote. Sure, if everything else went perfectly for Hillary, she would have won by some slim margin. I’m not going to read the book or continue rehashing the election that I was done with 36 hours after it ended, but trying to lay the blame on Biden suggests Hillary still doesn’t fully understand why Trump and Sanders did well.

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  9. al-Ameda says:

    Don’t blame me, I did not vote for Jill Stein.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: For the most part, though, it seems as though she’s retreated back to the familiar pattern of blaming others for her own mistakes and shortcomings as a candidate.”

    And if the whole book was nothing but 500 pages of her saying “It was all my fault I suck I’m horrible I’m sorry”… you would be saying exactly the same thing.

    For God’s sake, she says flat out — in fact, quoted in this piece — that the main fault is hers.

    But that will never be enough. If she attempts to understand what went wrong in her campaign, then she’s just that nasty harpy who will never be sorry enough. If she attempts to explore the treasonous activities of the Trump campaign, she’s just a loser who can’t deal with the fact that she sucks.

    It’s not just you, Doug, it’s half the media in this country. Apparently you want her to take Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame — and then never be allowed to speak again.

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  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    @wr:

    For God’s sake, she says flat out — in fact, quoted in this piece — that the main fault is hers.

    But that will never be enough.

    Because no one believes she actually believes that the main fault was hers.

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  12. Joe says:

    Searching for answers, Clinton steadfastly insists that the woman who has spent decades persevering in a harsh spotlight won’t be embittered by a final humiliating blow.

    Hillary was a politician beyond her shelf life, pure and simple. There are many reasons for her early expiration, years of Fox News for example. None of this had any bearing on her far superior credentials. But she was what she was and the Democratic party could not get past her.

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  13. Wr says:

    @Stormy DragonYup. Pretty much my point. It’s like a psychosis with people like you.

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  14. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    It’s like a psychosis with people like you.

    No, wr, what I’ve learned over the last year is that disliking Hillary Clinton is most definitely not a psychosis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11

  15. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Because no one believes she actually believes that the main fault was hers.

    Yup. Let’s again examine what she said:

    “I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want — but I was the candidate. It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.”

    While I haven’t read the book, it hardly sounds like she’s interested in getting any more specific than the above disclaimer.

    I also get the feeling she looks at the matter in heavily technical terms, like her mistakes consisted of, say, microtargeting oversights.

    I was once reading an old Rolling Stone interview with George Lucas from 1977. He mentioned that he didn’t think his new movie, Star Wars, was perfect. I thought to myself, well, duh. I read further to see what specific complaints he had about the film. Acting? Dialogue? Plot? He said that Artoo looked too much like a vacuum cleaner. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  16. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    Anecdotally, I’ve met lots of Republicans who passionately disliked Trump and yet voted for him because they just couldn’t stomach Hillary.

    Sorry, that makes about as much sense as eating rat poison because you hate broccoli. As an excuse, it’s worse than actually liking Trump’s message.

    And, of course, it begs the question of why they couldn’t stomach Hillary, which can’t possibly have anything to do with a decade of well-funded smear campaign (with an assist from Russia), can it?

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  17. DrDaveT says:

    After thirty-two years of voting Republican for president, I went the other way in 2016—despite the Democrats fielding the nominee that I liked least of all their previous offerings during that stretch.

    You voted for Sarah Palin? You do realize that this means we should all ignore anything you say about rational political choices, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  18. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT: The Republicans will depict anyone who happens to win the Democratic nomination as the anti-Christ. But some Democrats are better at deflecting it than others. I was watching a recent Bill Maher, and the mostly Democratic panel (including Paul Begala) kept talking about Trump’s “authenticity” compared with Hillary’s. Not one of them noted that it’s hard to think of a political figure LESS authentic than Donald Trump, whose entire public career is built on lies and fraud, who can barely open his mouth without making demonstrably false statements.

    But I think it’s partly a reflection of the fact that Hillary has always had a certain smarmy manner that tends to conjure up some of the worst stereotypes people have about politicians. There’s a moment from her speech at the 2000 Democratic Convention that has always stuck in my mind, for some reason. She talked about how we need to elect leaders “who don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.” The cliche was cringe-worthy enough, but she spoke the line with no conviction at all. She has this habit of sounding stilted and robotic at the worst possible moments.

    The fact that even Trump’s harshest critics would perceive him as “authentic” reminds me of a line attributed to George Burns: “The secret to acting is sincerity, and if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” Hillary, God love her, is very bad at faking sincerity, and that may have been her biggest weakness, her Achilles’ heel.

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  19. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    And, of course, it begs the question of why they couldn’t stomach Hillary

    We can go through the reasons, but will you even listen to them? (Kylopod listed quite a few.)

    Once you accept that reasonable people can disagree, it’s not too difficult to accept that reasonable people can disagree on the topic of Hillary Clinton.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

  20. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    We can go through the reasons, but will you even listen to them?

    Sure. Will you? Or will you continue to ignore the deliberate, orchestrated campaign that (sorry Kylopod) was not, in fact, just like any other past Democratic candidate?

    Look, I don’t like Hillary either, as a person. But that doesn’t blind me to what happened.

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  21. James in Bremerton says:

    It’s time for this relic from last millennium to retire. These excuses are just shameful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  22. Jen says:

    Anecdotally, I know a lot of Republicans who voted for Hillary because they thought Trump would be a disaster.

    Anecdotes don’t matter.

    Look, she squarely takes the blame. And regarding Sanders, frankly she has every right to be ticked off at him (I know I still am). Everyone gets all huffy at her quotes from this book, but look, Sanders IS NOT A DEMOCRAT. He wasn’t before the race, he was permitted to run as one* (hindsight being 20/20 and all, that wasn’t a good move, but hey…), and right after he jumped back to being an independent. He has ZERO loyalty to the party, he hasn’t passed any significant legislation…his sole purpose is to pull the party left, which isn’t going to win races outside of CA, VT, etc.

    Regarding being a woman: Damn straight that’s why she’s getting so much flak. It doesn’t matter what she does, she gets criticized. I don’t really think that men–and even many women–fully absorb the tightrope she had to walk. She always had to look picture-ready–lest her looks become the point of the story. She never could allow her voice to go up–lest she get slammed for being “shrill.” People who have never had to walk this line really do not get it.

    It’s exhausting. And she did it and got the most votes. Yes, she should have been in WI, MI, OH, and PA more. That’s a tactical mistake that she and her campaign made. But nothing will ever be enough for her critics. And absolutely sexism plays a role in that.

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  23. Todd says:

    “The best thing she could do is disappear,” said one former Clinton fundraiser and surrogate who played an active role at the convention. “She’s doing harm to all of us because of her own selfishness. Honestly, I wish she’d just shut the f— up and go away.”

    That about sums it up.

    Bernie Sanders is still in the Senate, so we will be hearing from him (mainly in the form of his single-payer healthcare plan that other A-list Democrats are endorsing lately). But please Bernie, for the good of the country, don’t even think about running for President again … and while we’re at it don’t respond to anything Clinton’s written in this book.

    This Clinton/Sanders fight was a loser for Democrats in 2016, and it continues to be a loser for them as long as anybody keeps talking about it.

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  24. Jen says:

    Everyone here seems to be ignoring the fact that Clinton’s favorability rating when she left the office of Secretary of State was 66%. She has always had low ratings during elections, higher ones once she is in office (this includes the office of First Lady). She does not ooze charm, to be sure. Competence should matter, but it doesn’t to our easily distracted, reality-show addicted, short-term memory society.

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  25. Todd says:

    @Jen:

    Regarding being a woman: Damn straight that’s why she’s getting so much flak.

    I call BS. I know many, many people, myself included, who were not at all enamored with Hillary Clinton as candidate, but would have enthusiastically supported someone like Elizabeth Warren had she been the nominee. The fact that those who raised legitimate concerns about Clinton’s candidacy were too often immediately attacked as sexist, probably did end up costing her some votes in the end. But her problem was that this was 2016, not 1975. The vast majority of people in this country recognized that it’s long past time we have a female President; in the end though, too many people just weren’t excited enough about the idea of Hillary Clinton being the one to occupy that spot in future history books.

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  26. Hal_10000 says:

    There are a lot of authors of her failure, but it always seems to come back to not campaigning in the midwest states she lost by a tiny number of votes. Yes sexism and all that but … she won the popular vote despite a strong third party presence, her own deep unpopularity and being such an establishment candidate, as one friend put it, she might as well be wired for electricity. The failure was tactical: not defending the states that Trump most needed to carve out a path to victory.

    We’ve heard various explanation as to why she didn’t campaign in the rust belt but the one that strikes me as most likely I think came from Shattered: she was afraid her pro-trade message wouldn’t play well and she’d hurt herself by campaigning. But by not campaigning, she gave a different message: I don’t care. I’ve argued before that, in politics, oftentimes people just want to be listened to. If she’d campaigned in those states, she’d be President now, even with all the other stuff.

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  27. Ben Wolf says:

    Sanders is obvious. His campaign bloodied her on the left and arguably paved the way for Jill Stein and others to siphon votes that might have made the difference.

    She could have solved this by asking Sanders to run as her VP but chose not to.

    But Obama and Biden? All I can gather from the report is that she’s annoyed at Obama for not doing more to push the Russian interference narrative. . .

    Trade was a serious problem for Clinton, because people were skeptical of her claims to have come to a new view of the TPP and other free trade deals. And throughout the campaign as she’s trying to distance herself from it, Obama is devoting the final days of his administration to getting the TPP passed by hell or high water. He showed no concern for how this was affecting her efforts to deal with a major weakness.

    Obama’s administration also scheduled a 20-25% premium increase for the ACA two weeks before the election. To say this was a politically stupid move is to be kind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  28. Todd says:

    @Jen:

    Everyone here seems to be ignoring the fact that Clinton’s favorability rating when she left the office of Secretary of State was 66%.

    Nobody is forgetting that. I think it’s pretty widely acknowledged that had she won the election Hillary Clinton would have done a fine job of being President. That doesn’t negate the fact that she is really bad at the task of trying to get elected to a job she would have been good at.

    It’s interesting, if you look at the polling trends during the general election campaign, every time there was an opportunity to show (and contrast with Trump) competency (the convention and the debates) Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers improved. But then in the space between, where she had to campaign, the gap always tightened again. In fact, I think a case could be made that had there been an election eve (or in the last week before the election) debate, Clinton probably would be President right now, even with the Comey debacle. The fact is, there was just too much time and space to fill between October 19th (the last debate) and election day on November 8th.

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  29. george says:

    @Jen:

    Regarding being a woman: Damn straight that’s why she’s getting so much flak.

    Dukakis and Mondale got as much flak as she got. For that matter, so did Jimmy Carter. She’s getting so much flak for the same reason every politician who lost – people pile on people who lose.

    I wonder about saying Sanders had much to do with the loss. 25% of Clinton supporters in 2008 voted for McCain, only 10% of Sanders supporters voted for Trump. If anything, Sanders seems to have done a better job of getting his supporters to support Clinton in 2016 than she did in getting her supporters to support Obama in 2008. The main difference is that Obama won anyway, while she lost.

    But actually I think the single biggest reason she lost, much bigger than either other circumstances or her own strengths and weaknesses as a candidate, is that the Democratic Party had already had the Presidency two terms in a row. Its become very hard for a party to three-peat. Too many grievances build up against the party in power.

    There were those who said right at the start she should sit out 2016 and run in 2020, after the GOP had a term and the Dem record was wiped clean. Turns out they were right.

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  30. Slugger says:

    It is best when autopsies are conducted by someone with a bit of distance from the case, not a relative of the patient nor the treating doctor. No knock on HRC, but I expect that any book by any living political figure is so full of self serving misdirection as to require an analysis by a real expert.
    The shocking thing about the 2016 election is that our system provided us with a choice that will lead future generations to think ill of us. Right now, Trump looks vulnerable in 2020, but I do not see anyone being groomed by the Democrats…hey guys, wake up.
    Our current political parties do not serve the interests of the people of the United States.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  31. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    Everyone here seems to be ignoring the fact that Clinton’s favorability rating when she left the office of Secretary of State was 66%.

    I’ve actually made that point same several times here.

    Of course I fully expected those numbers to sink as soon as she reentered electoral politics. What I did not expect was how far they would sink. I thought they’d end up around where she was the last time she ran for president (a quick Google search shows her Gallup numbers at 53/44 in March 2008)–controversial and polarizing, to be sure, but still above water.

    Note that if a pollster had asked me in 2008 what I thought of Hillary Clinton, I might well have given her a negative rating. I was hopping mad at her, for the reasons I outlined before. But by 2016, I’d likelier have given her a more positive rating. I still wasn’t a huge fan, I recognized she had some serious flaws, and I wished there’d been more standard elected Democrats who’d entered the race. But I knew she was well-qualified and capable and certainly preferable to any of the Republican choices. The email controversy did not bother me in the least. I thought it was a nothing-burger. What shocked me was that it managed to move beyond the denizens of the right and convince the majority of the public that she was hopelessly corrupt. Why that happened, when none of the previous controversies and quasi-scandals that the right had lobbed at her over the past few decades had ever stuck, is a worthwhile question; I suspect the proliferation of social media has something to do with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  32. MBunge says:

    1. The idea that Hillary Clinton would have been a good President is belied by the facts that she lost to the most unpopular major party candidate in history in 2016, a black guy with a Muslim-sounding name in 2012, and the debacle that was her attempt at health care reform. The myth of Hillary’s competence is something propagated by her fellow meritless meritocrats.

    2. Since psycho-analyzing public figures from a distance is now acceptable, let’s take a look at Hillary. She spent almost her entire adult life being repeatedly betrayed and humiliated by the only man she’s ever loved and as a result, she surrounds herself with the worst kind of coddling sycophants. If Hillary were truly exceptional, she’d at least be able to achieve great things before failing spectacularly. But she’s not. She’s a thoroughly pedestrian person who, thanks to a whole lot of personal and group dysfunction, was elevated far beyond her appropriate station. She’s like Mitt Romney, but with her husband’s political machine and the Democratic Party’s Battered Spouse Syndrome substituting for Romney’s wealth as the thing that covers up her inadequacies.

    Mike

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 22

  33. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Todd: Elizabeth Warren would have gotten beat a lot worse than Hillary and she would have blamed a lot of people too.

    To be honest, I think there is something tacky about telling the woman to get lost because the American people chose to vote for that lying scum bag Trump. If anyone should be apologizing it should be those socalled Democrats who did not bother to show up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  34. MBunge says:

    @Hal_10000: it always seems to come back to not campaigning in the midwest states she lost by a tiny number of votes

    Can we just kill this nonsense right now? She didn’t lose to Jeb or Rubio or even Cruz. She lost to Trump. The question is why was it close enough for any one of a hundred little mistakes to have made such a difference.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  35. Davebo says:

    @Hal_10000:

    she won the popular vote despite a strong third party presence

    Actually 2016 didn’t have a particularly strong third party presence. < 5% between 4 candidates. Hell Nader alone got 3% in 2000.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Davebo says:

    @Ben Wolf: Trade was a problem for Clinton because Americans are idiots, hence Trump.

    Bailing on the TPP was an idiotic move. Populism be damned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  37. Davebo says:

    @MBunge:

    and the Democratic Party’s Battered Spouse Syndrome

    Oh yeah. The old MBunge is back. I knew you wouldn’t stay on the meds long.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  38. Kylopod says:

    @Todd:

    I know many, many people, myself included, who were not at all enamored with Hillary Clinton as candidate, but would have enthusiastically supported someone like Elizabeth Warren had she been the nominee.

    I think the issue is a touch more complicated. And remember, I’m a male who’s been quite critical of Hillary, opening myself up to charges of sexism. (And it may not be totally wrong; it’s possible some of my visceral dislike for her has a sexist component.) I, too, like Elizabeth Warren, as well as Kirsten Gillibrand; they were among the politicians I had in mind when I lamented that there were few conventional elected Democrats who entered the 2016 race. I also have always had muted enthusiasm for Bill Clinton himself, even though I thought he was a pretty good president and, unlike Hillary, a skillful politician.

    But sexism is a complicated matter, and it is entirely possible to have a sexist reaction to one woman candidate and a more positive reaction to another. Sexism isn’t revealed by an inability to support any woman candidate, ever; it’s revealed by judging women candidates by a different set of standards than one judges male candidates. Throughout her career I was fairly constantly hearing sexist attacks on her, from jokes to the conspiracy theories about how she was a secret lesbian. I bet at least some of those people ended up enthusiastically supporting Sarah Palin; does that fact make them any less sexist?

    Hillary wasn’t all that different from other dull, uninspiring candidates in the past such as Al Gore or Michael Dukakis. But she was hated to a visceral degree beyond that of those earlier, male politicians. I think there was a sexist element to that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  39. Modulo Myself says:

    A) Anyone who couldn’t overcome their dislike of Hillary Clinton to vote for her against Trump has many psychological problems.

    B) Accepting no blame for anything is par for the course. Name anybody who had to suffer for supporting Iraq or the financial sector as they blew up the economy. Name a single person who will suffer for taking Exxon cash in return for climate denialism.

    C) She was a terrible candidate, but the system she endorsed for decades might have doomed her anyway. Gore was a terrible candidate, and he lost in a somewhat different manner despite winning the popular vote. Being popular may be what the right wing is calling virtue signaling–the kind of the thing people used to do in order to live in a consensual society, but which now is a liberal conspiracy. Trump’s success was basically predicated on appealing to white people who imagined they were both truth-tellers not afraid to speak out and victims of those who were not white who speak.

    D) The main difference between Clinton and Trump is that she is actually a real person. She went through life with ideas, fell in love with an idiot, and in the end, charged 500K for a bad speech. She has friends, and people care for her, and her one child seems to love her. Whereas Trump could have been shredded in a wood-chipper and not a single human being who knew him would have minded or missed anything. Many voters identified with Trump for that reason alone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  40. Jack says:

    @wr:

    It’s not just you, Doug, it’s half the media in this country. Apparently you want her to take Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame — and then never be allowed to speak again.

    If she was really sorry and accepted the blame she deserves she would commit harikari.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  41. Kylopod says:

    @MBunge:

    The idea that Hillary Clinton would have been a good President is belied by the facts that she lost to the most unpopular major party candidate in history in 2016, a black guy with a Muslim-sounding name in 2012, and the debacle that was her attempt at health care reform.

    The only item on that list that’s remotely relevant to her potential competence as president is the third. Presidential competence and ability to run a campaign are two different things.

    Moreover, I’m really tired of hearing about how Obama was automatically a weak candidate simply because he was a black guy with a “Muslim-sounding name.” Obama won 53% of the popular vote in 2008 and 51% in 2012, and if the general public was more than willing to look his past his “Muslim-sounding name” and African ancestry and give him a decisive popular and electoral majority, why would the Democratic Party primary electorate be expected to be any less tolerant?

    Of course your response would probably be that John McCain and Mitt Romney were also awful candidates if they were able to lose to Obama, but that really just shows how vacuous your theory is. Anyone who loses to Obama, you call a weak candidate. (In other words, sharp-shooter’s fallacy.) The fact is, Obama got where he is because he was a skilled candidate, not because he lucked into getting three terrible opponents.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  42. Terrye Cravens says:

    @MBunge: A lot of people lost to Trump…however, I have a feeling that if people had another shot at it, he would not even have gotten the nomination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  43. Andre Kenji says:

    As a Political junkie that followed elections with Female Candidates in Europe, Latin America and in the United States(I lived in São Paulo when the divorce of the then Female Mayor became a huge issue in her reelection campaign) I can say that there was lot of sexism aimed against Hillary Clinton, and that’s always a huge issue when Female candidates are running.

    On the other hand, I know Hillary Clinton since I was a teenager and I believe that most people know her since forever. If her Goldman Sachs Speeches were a nothingburger I’ve never managed to forgive her for her vote for the Authorization of Use of Force in Iraq. And Hillary never managed to get comfortable around people that aren’t her base of Highly-educated single women.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  44. Mikey says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Bill Clinton himself, who apparently was often cut off from the campaign staff during the course of the campaign

    Seriously? They cut off the guy who WON TWO GODDAMN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS?

    I can’t even.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  45. Anonne says:

    Hillary Clinton’s problem is that she and the Democratic Party in general have lost touch with rural voters. The greatest chasm in this country is the rural/urban divide. The party increasingly is represented urban populations with strong minority coalitions. When she went to Michigan, she went to Flint but where else? Didn’t the rural people upstate need to see her too? Didn’t they need to know that she really cared about them too? Pennsylvania: she went to Philadelphia. She sent Biden to Scranton. SHE should have gone to Scranton and other parts in Pennsyltucky. Listening is her strength, supposedly. She should have gone there to listen to people.

    All that dreck about Bernie Sanders is hogwash. She does not understand the political climate and she still doesn’t. She was a status quo candidate when people wanted change. The dynamics that put Trump in office are still out there, even amid the increase in Democratic activism. She needs to go away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  46. Davebo says:

    @Jack: Why am I not surprised that you didn’t know those are actually two words?

    Although your rendition does relate to a really bad 1960’s movie with that name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  47. Gustopher says:

    I blame the American People — you’re voting for a President, not an entertainer or spokesperson or whatever the hell Trump is.

    That said, as a white man — even a liberal white man — I didn’t think her campaign ever spoke to me. Commercials were aggressively inclusive of women and minorities, to the point where I didn’t feel represented. I’m a big boy, and I can live with being relegated to a mere 40-50% representation, but that required logic to kick in. I noticed being excluded. And if I noticed, a lot more people noticed.

    Also, she seemed to be doing a victory lap before the voting, coasting on the certainty that people wouldn’t elect that buffoon. She was a lot better in her first senate campaign, but she hates to be vulnerable and show herself for who she is — a strong, caring woman who wants to serve her country. I had to remember her earlier campaigns to be at all excited by her.

    The only time Clinton really spoke to me during this campaign was the “basket of deplorables” — which she then backed away from to avoid offending. And now we have pro-Trump Nazis strutting and goosestepping in our streets. She should have stuck to it.

    The whole “Clinton should go away” thing I see here and elsewhere disgusts me though. If anyone other than Hillary Clinton were in this position, people would just shrug rather than being upset with her. It’s partially that her loss gave us Trump, it’s partially that no one likes a loser, but mostly, it’s that she’s a woman. An ambitious woman. A b-tch.

    I’m guilty of the same thing — the ridiculous Republican women like Michelle Bachman and Carly Fiorina inspire an immediate visceral reaction that the ridiculous and incompetent Republican men don’t. But it’s still disgusting to see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  48. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    Also, she seemed to be doing a victory lap before the voting, coasting on the certainty that people wouldn’t elect that buffoon.

    That was a major factor in her defeat, and a key to some of her miscalculations, such as her decision to target Arizona and ignore Wisconsin. She figured she had the election in the bag, and that she could work on expanding the electoral map.

    She does have a history of playing the hare to her opponent’s tortoise. That’s more or less what happened in 2008, when she focused her campaign on big states and didn’t notice until it was too late that Obama was slowly accumulating delegates from small states until his lead was nearly insurmountable.

    But there was another component to it, and it was that much of the professional pundit class simply refused to consider the possibility that Trump could win. Sean Trende nailed it in June 2016:

    To be blunt, everyone has lost their damned minds lately. Twitter, and commentary in general, has become a giant echo chamber. My Twitter feed has devolved into a mélange of undifferentiated opinions explaining not only why Donald Trump shouldn’t win this election, but also how and why it can’t possibly happen. I don’t just mean an overall take that he’s likely to lose. I mean a complete and utter rejection of any evidence proffered that might point in a direction that is favorable to Trump. Oh, and by the way, he might also be the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse.

    This isn’t just unfortunate. It’s dangerous. I’m not worried about media influencing the election; media has less influence than it (and its critics) believe. I’m talking about pundits’ credibility. If the entire chattering class finds itself in the grips of a massive epistemic closure, if every bit of analysis is actually nothing more than a conclusion in search of an argument, if all we hear (as in the old apocryphal Pauline Kael story) are the voices of other people telling us that Trump is awful and that he can’t possibly win, then we’re like pilots flying without instruments. Maybe we’ll land safely, but the chances of a crash are much larger. Having just witnessed (and to some degree, participated in) just such a crash in the Republican primaries, I’m particularly on edge about this general election.

    One of the most enduring myths about the 2016 election is that it was one of the biggest polling failures in history. It was not. As 538 noted both before and after the election, it was an utterly normal, unremarkable polling error. The polls showed Clinton ahead, but not overwhelmingly. Yet HuffPost and Sam Wang absurdly gave Clinton a 98% chance of victory. That was not rooted in any genuine understanding of polls, which are very often off by a few percentage points. It was rooted in a refusal to accept the possibility that Trump could win. This attitude almost certainly filtered to the Clinton campaign itself, not only making her unprepared for the eventual outcome but shaping some of the bad decisions she made on the campaign trail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  49. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @MBunge: As I continued onto the second line of this comment, I realized that there was not going to be anything worth reading in it and I stopped. I’ve been awe struck at what you’ve been posting the past week and finally realize it’s not worth the time to consider what you think anymore. On the positive side for you (I guess), I won’t be be clicking the thumbs down symbol for your posts any more (or maybe you see them as validation, who can say?).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  50. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Jack: Classy! Keep up the serious analysis; it’s what we find attractive and endearing about you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  51. Anonne says:

    @Gustopher: I am a woman and I want her to leave electoral politics. If she wants to continue good policy work then by all means do it, but by “go away” I mean do not run for office, and don’t write books that embarrass yourself. I don’t mean that she should leave public life in total.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  52. Lounsbury says:

    @Jen: Asserting that does not make it so.
    That she’s a fundamentally not very likable person in her public persona and has terrible public charisma broadly rather explains without running and hiding behind the skirts of sexism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  53. Lounsbury says:

    @Jen: “he does not ooze charm, to be sure. Competence should matter, but it doesn’t to our easily distracted, reality-show addicted, short-term memory society. ”

    Charm matters in electoins and not just since Reality TV and not just on your side of the Pond.

    It’s a sad bit of Left elitist sneering to put down the loss of a charmless 3rd rate campaigner to this and sexism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  54. Ben Wolf says:

    @Davebo:

    Trade was a problem for Clinton because Americans are idiots, hence Trump.

    There was nothing good in the TPP for American workers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  55. B. R. Bong says:

    ”What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I’m really asking. I’m at a loss,” she asks her readers, before concluding: “I think it’s partly because I’m a woman.”

    Wow.

    Sarah Palin said the EXACT same thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  56. Jen says:

    @Mikey: Yes, they cut him off from the campaign–there was an interesting dynamic at play there. He was reacting viscerally to attacks on his wife, lashing out. I can’t remember the incident clearly now, but there was one instance during the campaign where he really shot his mouth off–it was very uncharacteristic of him–and that was when they started distancing him from the campaign.

    This was interesting to me because of the question of sexism. Bill Clinton reacted very differently when it was his wife, the candidate, who was being attacked, rather than himself, as a candidate.

    Regarding Warren, or any other woman running: I would be willing to bet that once the focus was on them, we’d start hearing the same things (heck, to a certain degree we already have–look at the reaction to Sen. Kamala Harris interrupting vs. her male colleagues, who also interrupt but don’t receive the squawking and attention she does).

    Women are held to a different standard. Full stop.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  57. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The election wasn’t about “likeability”; it was about giving white nationalists an outlet for decades of pent-up anger.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  58. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “No, wr, what I’ve learned over the last year is that disliking Hillary Clinton is most definitely not a psychosis.”

    For you and many others, it’s actually less a psychosis than an indulgence of petty narcissism. She does things that every politician in history does, but suddenly you are so pure, so clean, that she is simply, simply unbearable, beyond the pale, darling. You establish your little virtuous credibility, and help send Donald Trump to the White House. But you are pure, pure, pure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  59. Jen says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Charm matters in electoins and not just since Reality TV and not just on your side of the Pond.

    Really? Gordon Brown was charming? Nigel Farage?

    Europe has had more female leadership because it has greater gender equality–that and some of the systems there encourage more women to enter politics.

    I’m hardly a “leftist elitist.” I worked in Republican politics for a while. I am very familiar with sexist attitudes in the workplace, and have seen first-hand the effects of the double standard women are held to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  60. wr says:

    @Kylopod: “While I haven’t read the book, it hardly sounds like she’s interested in getting any more specific than the above disclaimer.”

    Well it’s certainly comforting to learn that you won’t let a silly thing like not actually having any information keep you from trumpeting that the book you haven’t read proves that all your preconceptions are true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  61. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: I don’t know that I agree with your argument, but I appreciate the fact that it is based in reality and not, like so many commenters here, “I just find her icky and she was mean to Bernie so she should go die.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  62. wr says:

    @Mikey: “Seriously? They cut off the guy who WON TWO GODDAMN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS?”

    Gosh. I sure remember the beginning of the campaign when all the knowledgable people — can’t say if you were one or not — were saying that the one thing Hillary Must Do is keep Bill away from the campaign because he’s a loose cannon and makes everything about him.

    It would be nice to see one of the bashers here simply admit that there is nothing she could do on any subject that they wouldn’t disapprove of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  63. wr says:

    @Anonne: “don’t write books that embarrass yourself. ”

    Have you read it?

    Then who’s really embarrassing herself here?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  64. wr says:

    @Anonne: “I am a woman and I want her to leave electoral politics. If she wants to continue good policy work then by all means do it, but by “go away” I mean do not run for office, and don’t write books that embarrass yourself. I don’t mean that she should leave public life in total.”

    Sorry for a second reply to the same message… but my God, did you read this before you posted it? “I demand you live exactly the life I want you to live, and don’t veer from that by one inch. I have the complete right to define the rest of your life.”

    I mean, it’s really generous that you’re willing to permit her to do “good policy work” and all. But who the hell are you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  65. george says:

    @MBunge:

    The question is why was it close enough for any one of a hundred little mistakes to have made such a difference.

    The answer is pretty straightforward. 95% people vote for their ‘team’. You might think the local quarterback is an a-hole who couldn’t throw a spiral to save his or her life, but you’ll cheer for them anyway because they are the leader of the team you’ve voted for your whole life.

    Moreover, most people don’t spend even 10 minutes following even presidential elections (all the Internet activity and rallies look impressive, until you notice that a couple of million people are involved, out of 200 million potential voters). All most people could tell you about Trump was that he said “You’re fired!” on some TV show, and all most could tell you about Clinton was that she’d been married to some president.

    People are over thinking this. Most people vote for the same party no matter who is running for it, and of the small percent who will change votes, most do so just because they want a change and hope putting a different party in power will create that.

    Clinton lost because the D’s were in power the last two terms. A quick glance at recent history (ie since WW2) will show you how rare it is for a party to win 3 consecutive terms (ie it only once in six decade, think about it). I’d argue that everything else is a minor factor. That she came as close as she did (only losing by a relative tiny amount in a few states) is actually very encouraging.

    People who are interested in politics say this was no normal election, that it was about something other than voting party lines. But in the end people voted as they always did – and in fact, 40% didn’t think it was even worth voting – because for most people it was just another case of politics as usual.

    Most people are no more interested in reading up about politics and presidential elections than they are in reading up on the latest advances in quantum mechanics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  66. Mikey says:

    @wr: Dude, I’m a big Hillary supporter, and I think she ran a very good campaign even in defeat, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t point out things I feel were mistakes.

    Maybe cutting Bill out was a good idea at the time for the reason @Jen stated, but I’m still a bit gobsmacked they didn’t even take his advice on the “rust belt” states he’d won twice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  67. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    Regarding Warren, or any other woman running: I would be willing to bet that once the focus was on them, we’d start hearing the same things

    I agree, but the complaints wouldn’t always be consistently from the same people. The left, for the most part, adores Warren. If she entered the race for president, like any other candidate her vulnerabilities would get more attention and people would find reasons to dislike her that they hadn’t noticed before. But I bet you’d find some people enthusiastically backing Warren who had previously referred to Hillary as a shrill harpy. That’s just the way these things work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  68. Kylopod says:

    @george:

    People who are interested in politics say this was no normal election, that it was about something other than voting party lines. But in the end people voted as they always did – and in fact, 40% didn’t think it was even worth voting – because for most people it was just another case of politics as usual.

    I agree 100%. Trump was a highly abnormal candidate, but if you ignore the candidates and just look at it as a contest between D and R after the Dems had been in power for two terms (and also the fact that economic growth had been slowing down since 2015–that was one of the main reasons why poli-sci projections tended to suggest Republicans had the advantage going into 2016), the results look utterly normal.

    I’ve mentioned this factoid several times before, but the political scientist Alan Abramowitz’s model suggested a Republican was favored to win the White House in 2016–but Abramowitz predicted that his model would fail that year because Trump was such a weak nominee. Obviously, Abramowitz overestimated the impact of Trump’s deficiencies on the outcome (and perhaps underestimated the impact of Hillary’s weaknesses), but it drives home the point that Trump benefited from running as a Republican during a year in which Republicans were favored.

    I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is to assume Trump’s victory can only be explained in terms of his particular attributes, rather than his simply being a Republican in a year that was favorable to the GOP. Indeed, it’s quite likely he won despite his being Trump. I think a more conventional candidate like Rubio or Kasich–the types the public was supposedly rebelling against–would have easily defeated Clinton. The fact that Trump just barely eked out of victory against the most unpopular Democratic nominee in history after two Democratic terms isn’t the sign of a strong candidate, it’s the sign of a lucky one. But it’s amazing how few people see it that way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  69. Jen says:

    @Kylopod: I agree with you. It would be different people, and for different reasons. The end result, however, would likely be the same. I’ve come to the rather depressing realization that the US is, at minimum, probably a few decades out from electing a female president.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  70. SKI says:

    @Kylopod:

    But I bet you’d find some people enthusiastically backing Warren who had previously referred to Hillary as a shrill harpy. That’s just the way these things work.

    If that is true, and I question whether the individual candidates matter as much as the color of the jersey these days, there would also be a whole lot more people who are more moderate/centrist who backed Hillary that wouldn’t back Warren.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  71. al-Ameda says:

    @Todd:

    Bernie Sanders is still in the Senate, so we will be hearing from him (mainly in the form of his single-payer healthcare plan that other A-list Democrats are endorsing lately). But please Bernie, for the good of the country, don’t even think about running for President again … and while we’re at it don’t respond to anything Clinton’s written in this book.

    Bernie is 70-effing-4 years old now, and Hillary is almost 70, Trump is 71: Is this generation of politicians ever going to retire?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  72. Kylopod says:

    @SKI:

    If that is true, and I question whether the individual candidates matter as much as the color of the jersey these days, there would also be a whole lot more people who are more moderate/centrist who backed Hillary that wouldn’t back Warren.

    I actually wasn’t talking about Warren’s relative electability compared with Hillary’s at all; I was simply discussing the phenomenon of sexism on the left.

    But as long as you brought it up…obviously there are tradeoffs with any candidate, and I have little doubt that if and when Warren runs for president she will be attacked as too far to the left. In fact some of the attacks are predictable: they’ll surely bring up the “Pocohantos” nonsense, and they’ll also depict her as a stuffy Massachusetts elitist. They’ll try to use her age against her (since in 2020 she’ll be even older than Hillary was in 2016). And they’ll look for a zillion things from her past that they can make into a controversy. That’s all Politics 101.

    Still, I have my doubts she’d ever become as unpopular as Hillary did.

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  73. dmichael says:

    Interesting discussion that has generated both heat and light. Let me get this out of the way now: I am an old white guy who voted for HRC and was a Bernie supporter (not “bro”). I am old enough to have experienced the growth of the right wing media and Clinton bashing industry. It is still there. We can spend years dissecting “what happened.” I hope the Democratic Party is doing a careful analysis because we need to get our political system back on a progressive track. HRC has every right to write books, go on tours and make money. The question really is should she spend her time bashing Bernie, Barack and Biden? How is that going to help us remove the sh!t stain in the White House and take back Congress?

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  74. Andre Kenji says:

    Sexism is always an issue when there is a female candidate running. She will be judged by their looks, by their marital/relationship history or by both, people will question her qualifications even if the candidate is qualified, people will even question their emotional balance.

    There was lots of sexism against Sarah Palin, and there was lots of sexism when Woman Candidates were being elected in Latin America and Europe. Even Angela Merkel has her share of it.

    But Hillary had plenty of problems of her own. I remember that Paulo Coelho, a writer that kept typos in his books because he thought that correcting then would be bring bad luck, was mocking the idea of weapons of mass destruction while Hillary voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution.

    And I feel that she never felt comfortable around people that weren’t her base of college educated women. That was clear during that townhall with veterans.

    Sexism was part of it. But just part of it.

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  75. teve tory says:

    While she casts blame for her shocking less widely,

    Like with a Taser?

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  76. Anonne says:

    @wr: Oh screw off. You have your opinion of what she should do, I have mine. Who are you to tell me what to do? See how pointless this exercise is?

    Right now she is not helping anything. She has the right to whine and complain but the consequences are that she is not helping the Democratic Party. All she is doing is making money for herself off the backs of the discord she’s sowing. So yeah, I’d like her to stop making books that embarrass herself. She says she “takes responsibility” for her mistakes and in some measure she has, but she sure spreads a lot of bs around about Obama, Biden and Sanders in the process. I fully understand the sentiment that she should go away, especially since she’s doing that now instead of after a Democratic president has been elected.

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  77. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    You establish your little virtuous credibility, and help send Donald Trump to the White House. But you are pure, pure, pure.

    Me and millions of other people had to hold our noses and vote for her despite massive reservations. So no, we’re not “pure, pure, pure.” We’re just practical.

    And, frankly, let’s stop trying to twist this around to make it seem like we let her down. She was the one up on the dais behind the podium, not me. The logo was made from her name, not mine. I was “with her. ”

    And where was she?

    @Jen:

    I’ve come to the rather depressing realization that the US is, at minimum, probably a few decades out from electing a female president.

    I hope that’s not true, but I do think when –yes, it’s a matter of when– we elect our first female president, it won’t be “because she’s a woman.”

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  78. John430 says:

    I love it when the left turns around and starts eating itself. I’d prefer to have used the old trope about “eating its young” but Democrats don’t have any, except for thugs who call themselves “antifa”.

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  79. Jen says:

    Only a handful of people have read advanced copies of this book, so it probably would be wise to not spend too much more energy saying she is “spending her time bashing” Sanders, et al, until we all actually read the damn thing. It could be a few pages of a 500-page book. In a tome that size, not mentioning clashes with other Dems would be odd.

    On what she’s doing for the party–my guess that once the book tour is done, she’ll raise money for Democratic candidates, and the party, like she’s done for the past few decades. So will Obama and Biden. Sanders? Who knows. But honestly, I don’t want any of them running for office ever again. New faces only, as far as I’m concerned.

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  80. James Pearce says:

    @John430:

    I love it when the left turns around and starts eating itself.

    Yeah, that’s not what’s happening, dude… This process — part soul-searching, part athletic conditioning– is necessary if you don’t want your party to be captured by a chump.

    Take it from me, John430. Don’t start “popping the popcorn.” The diligent and determined will beat the lazy and complacent every time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  81. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Bernie is 70-effing-4 years old now, and Hillary is almost 70, Trump is 71: Is this generation of politicians ever going to retire?

    This!!! And probably not; we boomers would rather die first.

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  82. al-Ameda says:

    @John430:

    I love it when the left turns around and starts eating itself. I’d prefer to have used the old trope about “eating its young” but Democrats don’t have any, except for thugs who call themselves “antifa”.

    Enjoy your borscht and shashlyiks Comrade John.

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  83. teve tory says:

    @Stormy Dragon: What do you want her to do. She’s apologized for losing about 50 times. I don’t recall other losing candidates being attacked for not apologizing enough.

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  84. Kylopod says:

    @teve tory:

    I don’t recall other losing candidates being attacked for not apologizing enough.

    Other candidates didn’t lose to an orangutan skinhead.

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  85. michael reynolds says:

    1) Of course it was sexism and outright misogyny. It’s absurd to deny that it played a big role.

    2) Of course it was decades of slander and lies from right-wing media enhanced by Russian interference.

    3) Of course it was Comey’s dumb announcement.

    4) Of course it was the bro-attack from Bernie’s people.

    5) Of course it was her ham-fisted ‘appeals’ to absolutely every group with the exception of white males.

    6) And yes, of course it’s her fault for not having overcome all of that.

    None of that alters the fact that voters made a catastrophically stupid decision. This mess lies squarely at the feet of the American voter who simply failed to do his job.

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  86. MarkedMan says:

    This post has been up for a while and I have to admit I kept skipping over it. As often as I admire James’ analysis, I found his overwhelming Hillary hate during the election to be tedious and illogical. But I wanted to make a point, and therefore felt obligated to read his post and found that it was reasonably fair and balanced. So my apologies for that negative assumption.

    My point is this: We need to understand why the Republican Party was able to make Hillary, a wonky plodder, into the devil incarnate, and if this book helps shed light on that, then we need to dig deep into it, whatever it’s failings might be. Since Lee Atwater the Republican Party has been incredibly effective at making the opposition unlikeable, explicitly by attacking and belittling their strong points. With 50 years of track record it is obvious that Clinton is the ultimate politician in some ways (knows the ins and outs of the legislative process, is willing to settle for one small step forward if the alternative is crushing defeat, allows others to take credit in return for advancing her cause, knows who everyone is in the room and where and when and why they supported or opposed her, and I could go on and on) and in a few crucial, perhaps fatal ways she is the ultimate non-politician (doesn’t seem particularly comfortable with large groups of people focused on her rather than her cause (this, in a presidential candidate?), always seems awkward (phony) when she tries to blow her own horn, and one on one she immediately and reflexively pivots to policy rather than personal). The Republicans very successfully attacked her on all her positives. At best she was a boring plodder who spent too much time thinking through every detail, someone who was willing to push aside the dramatic fight for a few measly steps of progress, a traditional thinker, a consensus builder. BTW, how does that sound now?

    But the Repubs also did this to Al Gore. Remember, he was the chair of the committee who fought for opening up ARPAnet to commercial ventures and increasing access to regular people. Oh and also oversaw its rebranding into the Internet. All while Republicans and many members of his own party mocked him for his focus on his “Information Superhighway” because after all, how could a computer network, for crying out loud, be revolutionary? Much less one developed as a government program? Yet, because of the gullibility of the chatting class and their overwhelming love a snappy and nasty put down, the association of Gore and the Internet is one of contempt, with the false assertion that he claimed to have invented the Internet. BTW, what he said was that while George Bush was partying in Mexico, he was chairing the committee that created the Internet. Which was 100% true.

    And they did it to John Kerry. Decorated multiple times as a Vietnam vet, a man who was in danger for months on end, in active firefights, while George Bush was playing at planes in a safe Air National Guad post and often skipping out on that to go on drunken binges with his fellow frat bros. Yet the infantilism of our “both sides” media resulting in Kerry’s heroic Vietnam service being seen as a frickin’ negative. This process is still referred to as “Swift-Boating” someone, named after the type of boat Kerry captained in the war.

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  87. wr says:

    @James Pearce: I don’t think “we” let “her” down. I think a lot of Republicans looked at Trump with disgust and then understood that if their candidate won, no matter how icky, they’d get to see environmental regulations gutted, the Supreme Court turned over to reactionary sociopaths, and uppity minorities put in their place, along with all the other policies they craved. Purist Democrats discovered they had a candidate who was not as pure as driven snow and had in fact many times acted just like a politician, and they understood that if they voted for such a terrible person they would be morally tainted, so they voted for Jill Stein or simply stayed home, and now they can tut-tut about how terrible that awful woman was as they watch eight years of progress flushed down the toilet.

    I don’t give a damn about Hillary as a person, but I am kind of fond of this country and I’m sickened at what’s happening to it. And by those who refuse to live up to their part in it. Sounds like Hillary is doing just that.

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  88. wr says:

    @Anonne: “She has the right to whine and complain but the consequences are that she is not helping the Democratic Party.”

    As opposed to you, right? And how are you helping? Still brandishing that “Jill Stein for President” bumpersticker so that everyone knows you’re better than all those corrupt people who participate in the system?

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  89. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that when a Republican is under attack — even when that “attack” comes in the form of a legitimate prosecution for crimes they were caught committing — his fellow Republicans all form a circle to protect him, which is why you have “religious conservatives” who were caught using prostitutes, having affairs, and forcing their young mistresses to get abortions still serving in the House and Senate.

    When a Democrat is under attack — even when it’s complete nonsense like Al Gore being a serial liar or — yes — Hillary taking money to give speeches that everyone else was taking money from to give speeches, Democrats can’t move fast enough to distance themselves from this terrible, corrupt, horrible person. And so we participate in the destruction of leader after leader because they are less pure than Jesus, and let the Republicans rule the country.

    But hey, we all feel soooo good about ourselves, right?

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  90. pylon says:

    Clinton: “I’ve looked back and read studies and here are a bunch of reasons we lost … proceeds to talk about a whole bunch of reasons including blaming herself and her campaign strategy, all of which are pretty well backed up by evidence.

    Critics: “why won’t she accept any blame”?

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  91. John430 says:

    @al-Ameda: Actually, down here in Texas we prefer tacos and tamales.But thanks for once again proving yourself to be a complete arsehole.

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  92. John430 says:

    @James Pearce: Democrat Party has been bought, sold and completely owned by Socialism; both the International and National kind. Keep up the doublespeak, citizen.

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  93. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Of course it was sexism.

    No one has ever been able to judge Hillary Clinton on the merits without one of her defenders popping up crying “Sexism!”

    And yet, here is the first woman to receive the nomination of a major party for president, acknowledge by all as breaking a certain “glass ceiling,” suggesting the forces of “sexism” have been at least diminished if not overcome, yet it’s still sexism when she loses, as it will always be.

    Like with the Danica Patrick story, “they won’t let me race” is sexism. “They won’t let me win” is not.

    @wr:

    I think a lot of Republicans looked at Trump with disgust and then understood that if their candidate won, no matter how icky, they’d get to see environmental regulations gutted, the Supreme Court turned over to reactionary sociopaths, and uppity minorities put in their place, along with all the other policies they craved.

    The left has the opposite problem. They’re prepared to let their interests go unaddressed or even undermined if it means they have a candidate that is superficially “not icky.”

    Enough of that nonsense.

    @John430:

    Democrat Party has been bought, sold and completely owned by Socialism

    Dude, save it. I have smart critiques of the Democratic Party, not ones regurgitated from the days when fax cartoons were the right wing’s best news source.

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  94. al-Ameda says:

    @John430:

    @al-Ameda: Actually, down here in Texas we prefer tacos and tamales.But thanks for once again proving yourself to be a complete arsehole.

    Comrade John430, (I apologize for leaving off the 430 in my original post) I have family and many relatives who live Texas – in San Antonio, in the Dallas-Ft Worth metroplex, some in Houston, Fredericksburg, as far west as El Paso, and east in the Texarkana area.

    For the record, my Texas relatives don’t stoop to the juvenile name-calling that you seem to prefer. Try to that finish Moscow-taco plate, it wrong to waste food.

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  95. @Todd:

    Regarding being a woman: Damn straight that’s why she’s getting so much flak.

    I call BS. I know many, many people, myself included, who were not at all enamored with Hillary Clinton as candidate, but would have enthusiastically supported someone like Elizabeth Warren had she been the nominee.

    While clearly individual positions will vary, I can’t look at what we have seen of late in regards to identity politics from a white, male perspective and then dismiss the notion the gender wasn’t a negative for her.

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  96. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    Does sexism exist, yes or no?

    If no, you’re clueless.

    If yes, then explain how a phenomenon you admit exists could have no relevance in this case?

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  97. @John430:

    Democrat Party has been bought, sold and completely owned by Socialism

    I thought socialists opposed private property 😉

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  98. @John430: And BTW, “Democrat Party” is so tiresome.

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  99. MarkedMan says:

    One of my “favorite” Al Gore stories: That he was a blowhard and self aggrandizer because he once claimed to have been the basis for the main character in “Love Story”. (For you kids out there: “Love Story” was a wildly best selling book and then hit movie about a young couple. I don’t know much more about them than that, having never read or seen them, except the little I remember from the Mad Magazine version, i.e. that the female lead character in the movie suffered from “Hollywood Disease” in which you grow more beautiful the closer you are to death.) So – Al Gore, whatta jerk, amirite?

    Here’s what actually happened. When an interviewer asked him whether he was the inspiration for the main character, he replied, “Well I know what the (some Southern newspaper) article said.” And what did that newspaper article say? Well, in an interview, the books author, yes, the actual author, said the character was based on his college roommate (yes, his roommate) Al Gore.

    And mindless media morons picked up the GOP spin machines take and endlessly snarked about what a self aggrandizing serial liar he was.

    It was at this time that I developed my undying contempt for that snarky political gossip, Cokie Roberts. To this day my stomach churns whenever I hear her voice. Her “analysis” is always an inch deep worth of nasty snark.

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  100. Jen says:

    @James Pearce:

    Like with the Danica Patrick story, “they won’t let me race” is sexism. “They won’t let me win” is not.

    “They won’t let me win” is EXACTLY it.

    You’re allowed to get close to the top job, that makes everyone feel good, like everything is alright now. But you can’t ever get the top job, because “reasons.”

    Sexism exists, and it is pervasive. It’s also really exhausting.

    I think one of the reasons that I’m so defensive of Clinton is that I spent years in male-dominated workplaces. I had to be virtually perfect day in and day out–and that still wasn’t enough. Try thinking of a high-pressure day: like, giving a big presentation that your bonus is riding on, or a job interview–anything where you had to be spot-on. Now make that your every workday existence.

    I got sick of it and got out. She stuck with it and continued to fight. I respect that. But there is no way that sexism didn’t play some role in her loss.

    Go read this Frum piece from before the election and see how some men view women in the workplace.

    Here’s a sample: “In your America, you worry about how there aren’t enough women making Hollywood films or sitting on corporate boards. In our America, the gender gap closed a long time ago—and then went into reverse.”

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  101. george says:

    Clinton losing to Trump after 2 terms of a Democratic President follows the pattern that’s only been broken once since Truman 6 decades ago. And even that exception only lasted one term – Bush the elder lost in his second attempt, unusual for a sitting President (see Carter and no one else since WW2).

    People are looking for exceptional reasons (everything from bad candidate to bad voters) to explain the normal process.

    I’m more inclined to think that if something follows the normal process then what drives it is the normal forces. After two terms of a Democratic President it was always going to be hard to get a third term for a different Democratic candidate.

    Basically what Clinton was guilty of was bad timing – she should have waited until 2020.

    Only wonks, people who follow politics, think this was an exceptional election. Most people (as in by far the majority of the 200 million potential voters who aren’t on forums and demonstrations) seemed to think it was business as normal, as is shown in the vote totals – including in the number who couldn’t be bothered to vote.

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  102. Kylopod says:

    @george:

    Basically what Clinton was guilty of was bad timing – she should have waited until 2020.

    While I agreed with you before, I’m going to have push back on this slightly.

    Just as it’s true that parties have a hard time holding onto the White House for more than two consecutive terms, it is also true that parties almost always hold onto the White House for a minimum of two terms. In fact, the latter rule has been broken only once in over 100 years: the single term of Democratic rule under Jimmy Carter.

    Does this mean Trump should be viewed as favored to win a second term, simply because of the historical pattern? I don’t know. These “rules” are always tenuous and can be broken under specific circumstances. But it’s something people should keep in mind when they just assume Trump’s doing such a pathetic job that there’s no way he’ll ever be reelected (an attitude that sounds strikingly similar to what people were saying about his chances of winning a first term). Maybe Trump will be, effectively, the next Jimmy Carter, but for what it’s worth, that would be an exception to the historical pattern.

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  103. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    identity politics from a white, male perspective and then dismiss the notion the gender wasn’t a negative for her.

    Gender? A slight majority of white women voted for Trump. I presume they did not find Hillary’s gender to be much of a problem.

    To go even further, I would presume that if given the choice between a liberal white man and a conservative woman, Trump voters would pick the conservative woman.

    @michael reynolds:

    Does sexism exist, yes or no?

    Absolutely it does.

    But this election didn’t sort America into “sexists” and “anti-sexists,” did it? Not one of Hillary’s failures could be attributed to her being a woman. Not one of them.

    Her ambitions were a little larger than her capabilities and her political instincts were atrocious. Why is that so hard to accept? If Hillary Clinton was destroyed by sexism, then any other woman is going to be destroyed by sexism, too. It is truly hopeless. Sexism (and racism) cannot be overcome.

    I don’t believe that. I’ve seen both overcome in the past. Our previous president was a black dude whose name rhymed with Osama who never, not one, blamed his failures on his race or his gender.

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  104. george says:

    @Kylopod:

    Just as it’s true that parties have a hard time holding onto the White House for more than two consecutive terms, it is also true that parties almost always hold onto the White House for a minimum of two terms. In fact, the latter rule has been broken only once in over 100 years: the single term of Democratic rule under Jimmy Carter.

    Good point. And waiting for 2024 would be a stretch, given her age.

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  105. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    Our previous president was a black dude whose name rhymed with Osama who never, not one, blamed his failures on his race or his gender.

    Well he did repeatedly do one stump speech in 2008 that went as follows:

    “So what they are going to try to do is make you scared of me. He’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. He doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills.”

    I do agree that Obama usually avoided this sort of thing–in public. Whatever he may personally believe, he determined that it was tactically unwise to bring up the subject–and, indeed, the McCain campaign did accuse him of playing the race card in response to the above comments. I don’t think he ever did it again after he became president. In fact, I remember an interview with Obama shortly after Jimmy Carter had accused the Tea Party of racism, where Obama sort of shrugged off the charges and pointed out that all presidents are the target of vitriolic attacks.

    Now, none of this changes the fact that at least some of the opposition was racial in nature. I’m sure Obama realized it. He just recognized that in modern-day America, raising the topic of racism (or sexism) tends to provoke a backlash that drowns out the merits of the charges. But that says more about the political environment than it does about the truth of the charges. Americans can’t have an honest discussion about racism and sexism because people get so defensive about the subject whenever it’s brought up.

    So while Hillary’s choice to broach the subject of sexism may not help her very much, that doesn’t mean she’s wrong.

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  106. James Pearce says:

    @Jen:

    “In your America, you worry about how there aren’t enough women making Hollywood films or sitting on corporate boards. In our America, the gender gap closed a long time ago—and then went into reverse.”

    That’s Frum hitting the left on a) their superficial fixations on fixing problems that are easy and visible* and b) neglecting the issues they claim as their competencies.

    (* It’s a whole lot easier to hire a woman to direct a movie or put on the board than it is to give all your female employees paid maternity leave, for instance.)

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  107. @James Pearce:

    A slight majority of white women voted for Trump. I presume they did not find Hillary’s gender to be much of a problem.

    Actually, I am certain some of them did.

    But this election didn’t sort America into “sexists” and “anti-sexists,” did it?

    No, but that isn’t the point. This election hinged on a relatively small shift in the vote in a few key states. Why that, and the general perception of HRC isn’t at least partially linked to sexism is beyond me.

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  108. But this election didn’t sort America into “sexists” and “anti-sexists,” did it?

    For that matter, the election didn’t sort America into “racist” and “anti-racist” either, but it is not controversial to note that race played a role in the outcome (even with two white candidates).

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  109. @James Pearce:

    Gender? A slight majority of white women voted for Trump. I presume they did not find Hillary’s gender to be much of a problem.

    From my experience in Brazil I can say that a LOT of women have problems voting for women candidates or are influenced by sexism when voting. I remember when the DIVORCE of a Female Mayor of São Paulo became a huge campaign issue.

    But Hillary had lots of problems of her own besides sexism.

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  110. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @James Pearce:

    To go even further, I would presume that if given the choice between a liberal white man and a conservative woman, Trump voters would pick the conservative woman.

    I don’t see any particular evidence of that phenomenon being likely. Moreover, we haven’t seen any competent conservative women “throw their cloche into to the ring” as it were. Overall, you seem to be arguing a counterfactual–which you are free to do, just don’t be surprised if you don’t get any takers.

    But in general, faith is a good thing. I’m glad you have some in something. A more important idea to have faith in might be better, but YMMV.

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  111. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    From my experience in Brazil I can say that a LOT of women have problems voting for women candidates or are influenced by sexism when voting.

    I saw the same type of thing among Korean women while I was living in Korea. Many women that I talked to thought that Park Geun-Hye was a good leader for the GNP, was an able driver of the party’s policies, had done a lot of good work to restore the credibility, but “didn’t think she was Presidential material” and supported Lee Myung-Bak over her in 2008 (???).

    It turned out, in Park’s case, that they seem to have been right, but at the time, even women acknowledged that they “simply didn’t feel right” about having a woman in the top job. Party leader? Great! Presidential candidate? Not so much. “A woman isn’t a good fit to the job.”

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  112. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: And even about being right about Park as President of Korea, it was her personal issues not her policies that proved to be a bridge too far. My take was that she handled the task well, but handled the power poorly. And even with the corruption that overtook her administration in it’s final days, I would pick her over Trump in a cocaine heartbeat.

    (Although “better than Trump” is, admittedly, not a high bar to jump.)

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  113. Anonne says:

    @wr:

    @Anonne: “She has the right to whine and complain but the consequences are that she is not helping the Democratic Party.”

    As opposed to you, right? And how are you helping? Still brandishing that “Jill Stein for President” bumpersticker so that everyone knows you’re better than all those corrupt people who participate in the system?

    Again, screw off. I voted for Hillary in the general. And for the record, Bernie did better at getting his supporters to vote for her than she did with the PUMAs and Obama.

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  114. Todd says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: While clearly individual positions will vary, I can’t look at what we have seen of late in regards to identity politics from a white, male perspective and then dismiss the notion the gender wasn’t a negative for her.

    As James Pearce mentioned above, Hillary Clinton’s main problem is that she has really bad political instincts. To the extent that sexism was a negative factor for her campaign, it was a least partially the result of those terrible political instincts. For instance, everybody was well aware that if elected, she would be the first female President. But throughout the campaign it almost seemed (and sometimes literally was) like she was introducing herself as “Hillary Clinton, future 1st woman President”. The fact that she scheduled her election night party in a room with a glass ceiling really sums it all up. She was much too wrapped up in how “historical” a victory would be for her.

    Contrast this with Barack Obama who always presented himself as candidate, and then President, who happened to be black. Everybody already knew he would be the first black President, so there was no reason to constantly remind us.

    p.s. just making this observation probably makes me a “sexist” in some people’s eyes. Which loops back to an effects on the election. There are plenty of men (especially on the center and left) who would have no problem voting for a woman Presidential candidate, but maybe not enthusiastically (or at all) after they’ve been accused of sexism for simply pointing out that a candidate has flaws.

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  115. MarkedMan says:

    The bottom line reality is that Clinton was not a personable or charming enough candidate to a significant part of the electorate, and because most people are unable to distinguish between “she makes me, personally, feel good” and ” she is the best alternative to voting a freakish orange madmen into office” we ended up with Cheeto Jebus. Most people can’t separate what is good for the country and the world from whether the candidate is sufficiently appealing to their own ego. And so we end up with a sociopathic imbecile that has literally no one standing between him and a nuclear launch against North Korea. Let me reiterate that. There are all kinds of sane and rational people standing between Trump and conventional war against North Korea, but not one single person that stands between Trump and a nuclear launch. It sounds crazy but, as several former defense secretaries have pointed out, it is exactly true that a president has many obstacles to launching a conventional war but launching a nuclear war is trivial, even one whose fallout would devastate South Korea, China, and Japan, with at least hundreds of thousands of innocents left sick and dying. If the elected president of the United States causes the deaths of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Chinese, what is their response? And would it be justified?

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  116. george says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    I don’t see any particular evidence of that phenomenon being likely. Moreover, we haven’t seen any competent conservative women “throw their cloche into to the ring” as it were. Overall, you seem to be arguing a counterfactual–which you are free to do, just don’t be surprised if you don’t get any takers.

    Actually I’d bet that most Trump voters would choose Sarah Palin or Margret Thatcher over any liberal (including a white man) without a second’s hesitation.

    Thatcher is extremely popular among conservatives in general (almost in Reagan territory). Not really sure why that is, given that her actual policies were to the left of almost every Democratic Party leader (simply because the center in the UK is far to the left), but she was very popular at the time and is now a legend among them. And Sarah Palin does well with the Trump wing of the conservatives (about 40% of conservatives if you go by their primaries).

    Many of them are clearly sexist and racist, but their hatred of liberals easily overrides that.

    And in fact, 95% of GOP voters would vote for whoever the party put up, generally without even a second’s thought. If you’re a Yankee’s fan you cheer the Yankees. If you’re a GOP voter you vote GOP. Its about supporting the team. The results show this – most people always vote the same. Though actually the single largest voter block is the “can’t be bothered to vote” block – sort of like people who don’t follow the NFL at all and so don’t bother watching the Superbowl.

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  117. Andre Kenji says:

    Sexism is always a factor for female candidates. Precisely because of that Female Candidates should be ready to deal with that from the day one. Hillary Clinton was not. She never managed to get comfortable talking with Men, specially White Men(That’s one of the reasons that she did not campaign in Rural Pennsylvania or in Wisconsin).

    With the runoff between Macron and Le Pen the French had their own version of Donald vs. Hillary, but with opposite genders.I think that it’s not a coincidence that the genders and the result were the opposite.

    But you know how the game is played, you should be ready for that.

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  118. wr says:

    @Andre Kenji: “She never managed to get comfortable talking with Men, specially White Men(That’s one of the reasons that she did not campaign in Rural Pennsylvania or in Wisconsin).”

    You know, the populations of those states are not exclusively male… and the populations of California and New York are not exclusively female. And while I can’t prove that the world hasn’t changed since last November, as I walk my dog along Manhattan’s streets, I see a lot of white males. So unless there was a sudden, huge migration, this strange breed, apparently so terrifying to Hillary, exists even in places she is comfortable.

    Perhaps we should stop trying to read her mind for a while…

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  119. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:
  120. @Todd: You are essentially dismissing sexism altogether and blaming her personality/rhetoric.

    But isn’t critiquing how she handled the “first woman president” thing direct evidence that gender was an important variable in the election (and that how she handled it impacted voters)?

    The notion that Obama’s blackness had to be managed and that HRC’s gender had to be managed are prima facie evidence that those variables were important to the outcomes and dynamics of those campaigns, yes?

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  121. @Todd:

    There are plenty of men (especially on the center and left) who would have no problem voting for a woman Presidential candidate, but maybe not enthusiastically (or at all) after they’ve been accused of sexism for simply pointing out that a candidate has flaws.

    I am not, by the way, accusing you, personally, of anything. But, I will point out: the argument you are making here is the same argument about race: they state that racism can’t be an explanation for X (name you social phenomenon linked to race) because, they aren’t racist–and then go on to rail that all liberals just bring up race about everything.

    Since the reasons why a given candidate wins or loses is multivariate, and since there is clearly a good bit of sexism in society, it seems logical and reasonable to assert that in the 2016 election was affected by sexism.

    I also think that since we know things like assessment of personality is shaped by gendered assumptions, that arguments about Clinton’s personality are wrapped up in gender as well.

    It is too simplistic to say she wasn’t likable, and therefore she lost–especially when she won ~3 million more votes than Trump.

    Our electoral system is far more “What Happened” than was Clinton’s personality.

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  122. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I also think that since we know things like assessment of personality is shaped by gendered assumptions, that arguments about Clinton’s personality are wrapped up in gender as well.

    One only need consider how the application of the adjective “aggressive” differs between men and women, especially in the context of one’s occupation.

    If a man is called “aggressive” in the workplace, it’s a positive–he’s a go-getter, he’s moving forward, he’s going after a positive outcome, he’s pro-active. It’s all positive.

    If a woman is called “aggressive” in the workplace, she’s shrill, a harpy, butch, and a bitch. Entirely negative.

    Apply this to a Presidential campaign and it’s magnified.

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  123. Todd says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m not saying that gender, or even sexism, played no role in the election. But the bottom line is, Clinton was a flawed, unpopular candidate, who ran a bad campaign, regardless of her gender. Perhaps I’m just naive, but I have a very hard time believing the story that a female candidate *can’t* win a presidential election in this country. The Democrats in 2016 had primarily a Clinton problem, not a female problem.

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  124. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Why that, and the general perception of HRC isn’t at least partially linked to sexism is beyond me.

    My point is this: it’s not “partially” linked to sexism; it’s continually and endlessly linked to sexism. She came this close to becoming president, closer than any woman ever and many of the men. She arguably received more votes than any male presidential candidate in history, but her loss can be attributed to sexism?

    Someone bump the record player. It’s stuck again.

    @Anonne:

    with the PUMAs

    Ah, who can forget the PUMAs? My god, I’m so glad we’re at the end of their “foisting Clinton on a reluctant America” project.

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Moreover, we haven’t seen any competent conservative women “throw their cloche into to the ring” as it were.

    But you will. For my money, the woman who has the best chances of winning the presidency at some future date is Nikki Haley: A non-white conservative woman who doesn’t blanch when she experiences sexism.

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  125. @Todd: You keep trying to make this binary: either sexism or Clinton.

    But, reality is that there were a lot of factors. Clinton’s problems were one. Sexism was another. A lackluster economy, especially in some sectors was yet another, and so forth.

    I object to the notion that because another female might win in spite of sexism doesn’t mean sexism wouldn’t be an issue in that election.

    Obama won in spite of racism (and racism was evident throughout his presidency). Whenever a female wins, it will be in spite of sexism,

    It seems incontrovertible that a woman has a harder time winning office in the US than does a man. As such, trying to focus solely on Clinton’s personality, strategy, etc., to the exclusion of sexism strikes me as incorrect.

    Plus, again: she won the popular vote.

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  126. @James Pearce:

    n. She arguably received more votes than any male presidential candidate in history, but her loss can be attributed to sexism?

    She lost a close election to a misogynistic, pussy-grabber.

    Indeed: sexism is irrelevant.

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  127. Seriously: if a black candidate had lost to an open racist, would we be talking about how the black candidate’s personality and strategy explains the outcome while saying that race wasn’t important?

    Would we be saying that another black candidate could have won, so stop saying that racism was an important variable?

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  128. Todd says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    She lost a close election to a misogynistic, pussy-grabber.

    The fact that someone like Donald Trump is in the White House right now only shows what a bad candidate Clinton really was.

    Were many of the people who voted for Donald Trump sexist? Yes, no doubt.

    Was gender a central issue throughout much of the campaign? Again, yes. (but in many/most cases, it was Clinton/her supporters who highlighted gender as an issue)

    Would Donald Trump be in the White House right now if the Democrats nominated virtually anybody else (especially Warren or Biden)? Alternate history is always hard to argue, but it seems rather unlikely that mister “grab em by the p___” would have beaten anybody other than Hillary Clinton.

    I say all of this as someone who voted for her, and very much wishes that she would have won that election instead of Trump.

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  129. george says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But, reality is that there were a lot of factors. Clinton’s problems were one. Sexism was another. A lackluster economy, especially in some sectors was yet another, and so forth.

    Very true. Yet you don’t mention arguably the single biggest one – the Democratic Party had the presidency for the previous two terms. The actual outcome is very close to what would be expected from just that fact alone, irregardless of the candidates themselves.

    Which is exactly what you’d expect if you assumed most (as in 90+%) vote (or don’t vote at all) based on their previous voting pattern, independent of the individual candidates.

    A very good argument can be made that what party people vote for initially(when they first start voting) is based upon things like sexism and racism, but that’s different than saying it had much to do with Clinton or Trump in particular, except for those who voted in 2016 for the first time.

    This isn’t just an American phenomena. All across the world, governing parties have a very hard time holding onto majorities in Parliament or presidencies across more than two terms. Not sure why that is (its been suggested that being in party makes you the establishment and so responsible for whatever bad has happened lately), but it seems to be true independent of who’s actually running.

    Predictions made about this election in 2015, before it was determined who the candidates would be (well, at least before anyone knew who the GOP candidate would be) predicted the result we got. That’s pretty suggestive, to say the least.

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  130. @Todd:

    Was gender a central issue throughout much of the campaign? Again, yes. (but in many/most cases, it was Clinton/her supporters who highlighted gender as an issue)

    This is just a weird claim to me, as it implies that if the campaign hadn’t mentioned it, it wouldn’t have been as big an issue.

    @george: Yes, long-term partisan ID is likely the largest explanation for the outcome.

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  131. Todd says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    This is just a weird claim to me, as it implies that if the campaign hadn’t mentioned it, it wouldn’t have been as big an issue.

    Again, I’m not saying that gender wasn’t an issue at all. My contention is that it’s highly debatable whether or not it played a significant role in the election’s outcome. I think there were many other factors that were much more influential than Hillary Clinton’s gender.

    Saying that gender played a significant role lets candidate Clinton (and the Democrats who nominated her) off the hook, and we learn nothing from it going forward.

    Interestingly, I agree with James Pearce that it’s very likely we will have a female President in the next 4-8 year (and it could be a Republican) … in fact, it wouldn’t be shocking at all if both parties nominate female candidates as soon as 2020. If that happens, will we finally be able to agree that sexism was not the primary reason that Hillary Clinton didn’t become president in 2016?

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  132. ltmcdies says:

    so….130 comments on a book that’s not out until September 12, huh?

    This is a quote from Chris Hayes….who had Mr. Sanders on his show a couple nights ago who had “thoughts” about this book.

    Well…apparently Mr. Hayes has got around to actually reading said book…as opposed to screenshot excerpts, opinions of and reports about this book

    “I’m reading the Clinton book and it’s…quite good! Compelling and candid and written with a pretty remarkable intimacy. It’s worth reading.”

    after all the freakin’ angst….”oh it’s actually pretty good”

    The one reason Mr. Trump won is the GOP couldn’t deal with his candidacy any better than
    Clinton and the Democrats could.

    And since American political history was on the GOP’s side in 2016, I find it interesting so little attention is paid to why the GOP was unable to stop Trump when they had the chance.

    Clinton is supposed immolate herself on a pyre in front the Lincoln Memorial but why the GOP primary didn’t stop Trump is just …”oh well” and a shrug

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  133. @Todd:

    it’s very likely we will have a female President in the next 4-8 year (and it could be a Republican) … in fact, it wouldn’t be shocking at all if both parties nominate female candidates as soon as 2020.

    This would surprise me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being I am not sure who in the GOP pipeline fits the bill–Nikki Haley, maybe?

    If that happens, will we finally be able to agree that sexism was not the primary reason that Hillary Clinton didn’t become president in 2016?

    Well, a) no, any more than Obama’s election means that racism wasn’t an issue in presidential election prior to 2008. But, more importantly, b) speaking for myself, I never said it was “the primary reason.”

    Quite frankly, I am not sure there was a “primary reason” (apart from the EC itself).

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  134. Tyrell says:

    So she is saying the carriage turned back into a pumpkin before midnight.

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  135. James Pearce says:

    @Todd:

    in fact, it wouldn’t be shocking at all if both parties nominate female candidates as soon as 2020.

    I’m getting the sense that the left won’t accept anyone but a female candidate in 2020.

    For the same reason that they would have rejected a version of Wonder Woman as directed by James Cameron. Because Republicans are sexist.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    not the least of which being I am not sure who in the GOP pipeline fits the bill–Nikki Haley, maybe?

    Nikki Haley would be formidable. A non-white former guv who removed the Confederate flag from the SC statehouse?

    It might just be a case of the left picking the territory and the right picking the weapons.

    I think, if we were smart, we would turn our backs on “identify politics” entirely, because I do think it’s going to be easier to make Republican voters comfortable with a non-white, non-male candidate than it is to get Democratic voters comfortable with a white male one. That is to say, while Dems are limiting their pool, Repubs are expanding theirs.

    All due respect to Ta-nehisi Coates, but if Donald Trump is indeed our “first White president,” then he is definitely not going to be the last.

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  136. Todd says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I have 5 daughters, I think (and have said for a long time) that we are well past the point where we should have had a female president in this country. I hope we do get one really soon.

    But I continue to think that the real test of whether (and how much) sexism played a role in 2016 is to imagine a different female Democratic candidate without all of the negatives (almost all having nothing to do with gender) that Clinton brought to the race. If we think this theoretical female candidate would have also been likely to lose, then I suppose we have to conclude that sexism was a factor.

    We could also imagine a male candidate with all of Clinton’s negatives. Are we saying that a male version of Hillary Clinton would have been more likely to win the race?

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  137. Todd says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’m getting the sense that the left won’t accept anyone but a female candidate in 2020.

    I don’t totally disagree, but I also really don’t see it as much of a problem. I’ll be perfectly honest, when I hear that people like Tim Ryan and Terry McAuliffe are thinking of running for President, my first response is “seriously? why?”

    I really wanted Joe Biden to run in 2016 (although I absolutely understand why he didn’t). That being said, I think it would be a mistake if he decides to enter the 2020 race … 4 years too late.

    We are still a long way off, but at this point I’d have to imagine that the “front runners” (to the extent there are any yet) on the Democratic side are likely Warren and Harris (although of course there’s a chance that neither runs).

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  138. teve tory says:

    Chris Hayes‏Verified account
    @chrislhayes

    I’m reading the Clinton book and it’s…quite good! Compelling and candid and written with a pretty remarkable intimacy. It’s worth reading.
    6:36 AM – 9 Sep 2017

    Balkans Bohemia‏
    @BalkansBohemia

    Balkans Bohemia Retweeted Chris Hayes
    Of course I haven’t read the book yet, but you’ve lost ALL credibility with me, @chrislhayes. ALL.

    7:23 AM – 9 Sep 2017

    Sounds like some people I’ve seen elsewhere.

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  139. teve tory says:

    I’m getting the sense that the left won’t accept anyone but a female candidate in 2020.

    There are 320 million people in the country. It’s not an accident that 45 men in a row Just Happened to be the most qualified, bestest person. It was deliberate. Even if they did insist on a woman once after 45 consecutive men, it shouldn’t get anybody’s drawers twisted.

    Shit, we could restrict the search to left-handed Jordanian-American dwarfs who only drink Natural Light Ice, and find 10 or 15 better people than Trump.

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  140. Mikey says:

    @Todd:

    We could also imagine a male candidate with all of Clinton’s negatives. Are we saying that a male version of Hillary Clinton would have been more likely to win the race?

    A male version of a whole lot worse than Hillary Clinton actually did, so why even ask?

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  141. James Pearce says:

    @Todd:

    We are still a long way off, but at this point I’d have to imagine that the “front runners” (to the extent there are any yet) on the Democratic side are likely Warren and Harris (although of course there’s a chance that neither runs).

    Yes, they do seem to be getting all the heat (in the wrestling sense) but Trump seems uniquely situated to obliterate either of them.

    We could be looking at a scenario where he’s the first presidential candidate who uses the term “Bitch, please” in a televised debate, and half of this country wouldn’t even care because if they hear one more lecture on Trump’s misogyny they’ll puke.

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  142. @Todd:

    But I continue to think that the real test of whether (and how much) sexism played a role in 2016 is to imagine a different female Democratic candidate without all of the negatives (almost all having nothing to do with gender) that Clinton brought to the race. If we think this theoretical female candidate would have also been likely to lose, then I suppose we have to conclude that sexism was a factor.

    I think that Warren would have lost worse, if we are talking about candidates who might have run.

    We could also imagine a male candidate with all of Clinton’s negatives. Are we saying that a male version of Hillary Clinton would have been more likely to win the race?

    Actually, the thing is, I think yes. Hence my position.

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  143. @James Pearce:

    Nikki Haley would be formidable. A non-white former guv who removed the Confederate flag from the SC statehouse?

    Yes, that sounds like the kind of candidate the GOP is likely to nominate…

    😉

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  144. george says:

    @Todd:

    We could also imagine a male candidate with all of Clinton’s negatives. Are we saying that a male version of Hillary Clinton would have been more likely to win the race?

    Unlikely if they were running for the Democratic Party – the party that had the president for the last eight years.

    Its also unlikely if the Democratic Party had run a male candidate without those negatives. To break the 2-term pattern you need an exceptionally charismatic candidate, because the problem is getting your own party out to vote, and after 2-terms of being in power the enthusiasm drops off dramatically.

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  145. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Yes, that sounds like the kind of candidate the GOP is likely to nominate…

    After Trump? You bet it’s the kind of candidate the GOP is likely to nominate.

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  146. @James Pearce: I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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  147. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @george: Allow me to reiterate: “we haven’t seen any competent conservative women.” Your mileage may vary, but I do not see Thatcher as a competent leader during her term, nor do I see her as able to face the economic issues that confront either the UK or the US at this moment in history. As to supporting Sarah Palin, well the fact that Trump supporters would support Palin is kind of my point, isn’t it? The possibility that conservatives won’t support liberal socialist ( !!!!99999!!!!!111111!!!!!!!1111111!!!!!!!) is what got us to the point that we’re at, so again, no surprise there.
    @James Pearce:

    For my money, the woman who has the best chances of winning the presidency at some future date is Nikki Haley

    Time will tell. Please note that I am only talking about time up to now. And we have yet to see what Nikki Haley really is. Michelle Bachmann looked reasonable until she started taking the national stage also. So far, Haley seems a relatively loyal Trump spear carrier at the UN. Not optimistic about how that will work in the long run. On the other hand, if “the threat of NK cannot be overstated” (which appears to be what passes for policy even among the adults in the White House), today is as good a day to end the world as any other. “Let slip the dogs of war.”

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  148. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Todd:

    Interestingly, I agree with James Pearce that it’s very likely we will have a female President in the next 4-8 year (and it could be a Republican) … in fact, it wouldn’t be shocking at all if both parties nominate female candidates as soon as 2020. If that happens, will we finally be able to agree that sexism was not the primary reason that Hillary Clinton didn’t become president in 2016?

    1) Wow. How were you able to get that far out on that limb? I can’t even see who the candidates would be at this time.
    2) Not only could it be a Republican when it happens, I’m inclined to believe it may be more likely to be a Republican because that’s how irony works.
    3) My reading skills could be bad, but I’m not reading anywhere in any of the few blogs that I read that anyone at all is claiming that sexism is the primary reason that Hillary lost other than people named James Pearce and Todd (and I’m not sure that I haven’t slurred James Pearce by saying that). Feel free to walk yourself back in your next follow up if you wish.

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  149. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Oh, I’m not holding my breath, just preparing for the possibility.

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    And we have yet to see what Nikki Haley really is.

    Well, we know what she’s not: a misogynistic white nationalist.

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  150. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Actually that’s pretty good! I’ve been picking on you a lot for the past few weeks; I feel I should credit you for a bon mot, too, to even things up a little.

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  151. wr says:

    @Todd: “I say all of this as someone who voted for her, and very much wishes that she would have won that election instead of Trump.”

    After spending six months repeating every Republican and Russian calumny against her, helping to spread the insane accusations about her — gasp!!!!!! – emails and all that other nonsense.

    And somehow you still don’t get how this works.

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  152. wr says:

    @Todd: “I say all of this as someone who voted for her, and very much wishes that she would have won that election instead of Trump.”

    After spending six months repeating every Republican and Russian calumny against her, helping to spread the insane accusations about her — gasp!!!!!! – emails and all that other nonsense.

    And somehow you still don’t get how this works.

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  153. MarkedMan says:

    @Todd:

    it seems rather unlikely that mister “grab em by the p___” would have beaten anybody other than Hillary Clinton.

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/hillary-clinton-blames-obama-biden-others-for-her-loss/#ixzz4sDo3fBnp

    I don’t agree with this at all. In the primary Trump beat every single one of 18 Republicans of all styles shapes and sizes. I think it’s quite possible he would have beaten Biden. I’m certain he would have beaten Bernie.

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  154. Kylopod says:

    Anyone who’s read Dreams from my Father knows that Obama has long been deeply interested in the subject of race, including his own biracial background. According to inside accounts of the 2008 campaign, when Obama delivered that speech in the wake of the Rev. Wright controversy, many of the points he made were things he’d wanted to make a speech about for a long time.

    At some point when Obama decided to run for president, he made a tactical decision not to talk much about his race. He was hoping to avoid being marginalized into irrelevance as “the black candidate,” the way previous black candidates had been.

    As I’ve said before, if you lived in a cave and had access to the transcripts of 99% of Obama’s speeches, you might have no idea the man is black. Of course in those rare times when Obama did broach the topic, the right erupted into hysteria. Which just goes to show that his decision to avoid the topic was a politically smart decision. And it also helps explain why he began to talk more openly about the topic after he won his second term.

    Hillary exercised no such caution when it came to her gender–and she paid a steep price for this decision. She probably figured she could use it to her advantage, especially when faced against such an open misogynist. Remember, one of the few times Trump appeared to stumble in the GOP debates was when Carly Fiorina confronted him over his sexist remarks on her appearance.

    Obviously it was a miscalculation. I’m sure there were some voters out there who eagerly flocked to the polls to elect the first woman president. But they were probably overrun by voters who couldn’t stand the sight of the shrill harpy.

    I began this thread tearing into Hillary (more or less repeating a comment I posted over a year ago), but that does not mean I’m dismissing the importance of sexism on her campaign. I think the mistake so many people make is to act like one’s personal opinion on a woman or minority candidate is inversely proportional to how much you think they were the victim of sexism or racism. I don’t see it that way. I think all women candidates, from Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin to Elizabeth Warren to Nikki Haley, are subject to sexism. To me, “sexism” isn’t an excuse for Hillary’s failures, it’s reflected in the way people attacked her compared to the way male candidates with similar shortcomings were attacked.

    Was sexism the decisive factor in her defeat? Let’s put it this way: in close elections there are always numerous factors where each factor, all by itself, could be said to be decisive. The public may be less sexist than they were in, say, 1936, when the concept of a woman chief executive would have been utterly inconceivable to most of the populace (including to most female voters). But even today there are still many people out there who oppose the idea–but, much more importantly, there are a lot of people who in principle might vote for a woman but who judge women candidates differently than they judge male ones, and who are more susceptible to absorbing negative stereotypes of a woman candidate. A candidate of either gender can be a jerk, but only one gender can be a bitch.

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  155. Kylopod says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    And we have yet to see what Nikki Haley really is. Michelle Bachmann looked reasonable until she started taking the national stage also.

    Um…

    Aug 2006: The Star Tribune also reported that Bachmann has publicly referred to homosexuality as “sexual dysfunction”, “sexual identity disorders”, and “personal enslavement” that leads to “sexual anarchy”.

    Oct 2006: “there is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact or not … There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.”

    Mar 2008: “The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.”

    Oct 2008: “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think people would love to see an exposé like that.”

    Apr 2009: Blames FDR’s “Hoot-Smalley” tariffs for Great Depression.

    Apr 2009: “Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural; it is not harmful … We’re being told we have to reduce this natural substance to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring in the earth.”

    June 2009: ACORN will be a paid partner with the Census Bureau and “they will be in charge of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public.”

    Note that she said all these things before her 2011 presidential run. The first two were from before she even entered Congress!

    Also, in her eight years in Congress she barely did any actual legislative work. Her role was basically professional bomb-thrower.

    Nikki Haley is a Paul Ryan type–draconian economic philosophy and extreme views on abortion, but she gets good press because she doesn’t go around spouting crazy shit. She earned sympathy from liberals in 2010 when she was the subject of an outrageously racist attack by a Republican lawmaker in South Carolina. Her SOTU response in 2016 was widely interpreted as an implicit rebuke of Trump.

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  156. Zachriel says:

    @teve tory: Shit, we could restrict the search to left-handed Jordanian-American dwarfs who only drink Natural Light Ice, and find 10 or 15 better people than Trump.

    Presumably, that would be any of them.

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  157. grumpy realist says:

    @Kylopod: If you get a chance to see the documentary on the creation of Star Wars that gets packed into some of DVD editions, you will be quite amazed at what George Lucas originally was showing to the money-bag holders and why they almost walked away from the whole thing. It plodded. Horribly. Tons and tons of extraneous shots that didn’t add to the story or advance it or anything. It was only when Lucas’s then-wife got her mitts on it as editor and cut the hell out of it that the film turned into the swashbuckling saga we all know and love.

    This is the exact same reason why you need editors with a mean streak and a ruthless hand on the scissors (or its modern equivalent–the delete key) for authors.

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  158. gVOR08 says:

    Hundreds of thousands of words of post-mortem on why Hillary lost. When will I see analysis of the failings of Republicans in nominating, then electing, a grossly unqualified clown?

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  159. gVOR08 says:

    @george:

    Very true. Yet you don’t mention arguably the single biggest one – the Democratic Party had the presidency for the previous two terms. The actual outcome is very close to what would be expected from just that fact alone, irregardless of the candidates themselves.

    Thank you for bringing that up. By beating Trump by 2% I believe she actually beat most of the “basics models” by 3 or 4%. Had the infamous 70,000 votes not swung we’d all be talking about the brilliance of President Clinton’s campaign.

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  160. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08:

    When will I see analysis of the failings of Republicans in nominating, then electing, a grossly unqualified clown?

    It’s out there, not hard to find. The “Never Trump” Republicans are a good source (and if you follow Rick Wilson, pretty funny at times).

    But at the same time, he won, so a lot of Republicans don’t care if he’s a grossly unqualified clown. Feature, not a bug, etc.

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  161. Kylopod says:

    @grumpy realist: I’m not sure I ever saw that documentary, but none of what you describe surprises me; it fits with everything I’ve read about the development of the series, as well as the (mostly ill-advised) changes he made to the original trilogy in the 1997 Special Editions and the later DVD and Blu-ray releases. Many years ago I read Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplay, which gave a fair idea of why the first two films were so good and then everything went downhill from there. Especially in the first film Lucas had to work within frustrating constraints, and he never realized how much they benefited him–like a student frustrated at the 1,000-word limit on an essay that actually leads to crisper, sharper writing.

    Perhaps more importantly, he wasn’t surrounded by yes-men at that point. It was striking to read about the numerous ideas that director Irvin Kershner contributed to Empire. This included many of the visual moments (Artoo standing on tiptoes to peer into Yoda’s hut; the illumination on Yoda’s face as Luke leaves the planet; the Hamlet allusion as Chewie cradles Threepio’s detached head in his hands), but it also included one of the most famous pieces of dialogue in the entire series: Han’s “I know” before being lowered into carbonite. Kershner essentially tossed out the original clunky line in the screenplay and had Ford ad-lib until he struck the right line. Lucas wasn’t happy when he first found out about the change, but after putting it before a test audience and getting a positive reception, he relented.

    Return of the Jedi also had a guest director (Richard Marquand), but unlike Kershner he ended up more or less subservient to Lucas, and the results show.

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