Sorry that I missed a post yesterday. I’m still in school and I had a bit much on my plate. But I’m back!
The last few chapters, I’ve been a bit more critical of Clinton’s account of the 2016 election. Admittedly, this might be because of Donna Brazile’s new information, which I am very very soon going to begin working with (I am nearly done reading Dragon Teeth and I just need to write out posts and put them in the queue so I’d say the ETA for my posts on Donna Brazile’s book is two weeks or so.). I’m not going to hide the fact that I was never 100% for Hillary Clinton. The only thing I was 100% on was against Trump. I try to be objective in my reviews of these sorts of books, but I feel that it’s only fair to be transparent about what sort of mindset I was in during that time.
Which leaned me to the criticism of What Happened that I agree with the most. For a book dedicated to talking about her mistakes during the election, there seems to be a lot of blaming her circumstances. Now, there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate. I supported Bernie Sanders in the primary, but I didn’t think he was perfect. I thought he’s a competent politician with views that align the closest with mine. Hillary Clinton was basically in the same carahory, but with views that weren’t quite as close. And one of the circumstances that was truly out of Clinton’s control was how intensely people attached to their respective candidates. Watching the “Bernie or Bust” crowd was like sitting in the backseat of a car slowly driving towards the edge of a cliff. I knew what would happen, I wasn’t the only one who did. But we couldn’t do much to stop it.
Now, do the circumstances that Clinton describes have some fault in the result of the 2016 election? Sure. There are a myriad of factors that led to what we got. I’m sure that we’ll be talking about all of those factors for years even after Trump eventually leaves office. But there are mistakes that I felt Clinton made during her campaign that weren’t really discussed in the book. First of all, I’m not sure if the timing of her campaign was exactly helping her. I don’t want to discount the good that Clinton had done over the course of her career. Her heart is clearly in the right place to be able to do some real good and make some real change. But…I’ve said this but I’m not sure if being president was the best way to do that. Judging from the earlier chapters, I don’t know if Clinton herself really wanted to be president that badly. It seems like she enjoys local grassroots efforts more than anything. It’s probably a good thing for her to continue in her future. She really grasps the effect that small local efforts can have. In fact, I would argue that pulling such a passionate politician away from local efforts wouldnt be the best use of Clinton’s talents.
Something that I noticed more in this book than in the campaign itself was her criticism of Bernie Sanders idealism in his campaign. It’s a difficult balancing act to have idealistic goals without completely leaving the realm of reality. I think that Clinton didn’t quite get the balance of rights and that led to her image of the status quo candidate. It’s true that the United States isn’t Sweden the United States I ant Denmark but as idealistic as Sanders platform was, the fact that he modeled a lot of his ideas after policies already in place in other parts of the world probes that while radical. His ideas were grounded in reality. A lot of sanders supporters were frustrated and invalidated by hating how impossible or ambitious the plans they were voting for was. In her boom I feel like Clinton does fall into the straw man fallacy more often than I would like. And being on the wrong end of that fallacy doesn’t feel good. So I can understand the emotions behind a lot of Sanders supporters that didn’t feel comfortable voting for Clinton. I think that Clinton didn’t exactly practice what she preached when it came to dreaming big, and that hurt her campaign in the end.
I could go on an on, and I really covered the whole last part of the book in this post, so I should probably give my final thoughts on What Happened. Despite some frustrating parts, I don’t regret picking this one up. It provides some grounding for what was a turmulous and terrifying election. Will it change the past? No. Will it soften the blow when something new and scary comes out of the White House? I don’t think so. Does it keep the image of Hillary Clinton the same on my mind in the face of the new information that we have in regard to the DNC? Absolutely not. Is it a piece of the giant puzzle that is the American government, and ulitimately a valuable read? I would say so.