It was never supposed to be this close. And of course she was supposed to win. How Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump is the riveting story of a sure thing gone off the rails. For every Comey revelation or hindsight acknowledgment about the electorate, no explanation of defeat can begin with anything other than the core problem of Hillary's campaign—the candidate herself. Read more...
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Apr 2017
From the cover
"Or I Wouldn't Have Run"
Hillary clinton had a new rendezvous with destiny on her mind. Her motorcade sped toward Roosevelt Island on the morning of June 13, 2015. In a little more than an hour, she would officially kick off what she hoped would be a trailblazing, glass-ceiling-shattering campaign for the presidency. For most of the previous forty-eight hours, she had been trying to give a feel of historic importance to her first major address. It just wasn't there yet.
She picked up the phone and called her chief speechwriter, Dan Schwerin. After two days of trading drafts with Hillary, after waiting through the delay of a power outage at her Chappaqua, New York, home, the bearded thirty-two-year-old with a signature chestnut pompadour was just about to board the tram connecting Manhattan to the East River island. He had stayed up all night, pulling together tweaks to the 3:30 a.m. version of the speech, and he looked hungover. Now, battling exhaustion and the sweltering heat, Schwerin pulled out his laptop one more time and sat down on the platform so that Hillary could dictate her final edits.
The key passage of the speech was an explanation of why she was running for president: "to make our economy work for you and for every American." In the middle of that run—about how she would do it and who she would fight for—Hillary wanted to connect herself and her campaign to Franklin Roosevelt, the president who defined the aspirations of the Democratic Party and much of the nation for generations.
"Here on Roosevelt Island," she said to Schwerin, "I believe we have a continuing rendezvous with destiny."
He tapped the echo of FDR's 1936 Democratic convention speech into his computer at 11 a.m. and took the next cable car to the island. Few would notice the last-minute change. The cluttered speech had become a testament to the aimlessness and passive-aggressive infighting that plagued the early stages of Hillary's campaign. Hillary had tried to put together a team this time that would feature far less internal drama than her failed 2008 bid. Back then, big personalities had clashed openly, aired dirty laundry and strategy details in the press, and sometimes pursued their own goals at the expense of hers. In the intervening years, she'd assigned a lot of the blame for her loss to the warring inside her campaign. But that was hardly the only ailment from 2008 that she hoped to remedy. She hadn't sold a vision for the country. She'd run away from being a woman instead of leaning into the unique aspect of her political story. To manage her campaign, she'd tapped a friend rather than the top pro. She'd let her husband run wild on the trail. And she had failed to take advantage of the latest technology to build a movement of grassroots supporters and donors.
From a strategic standpoint, she'd dumped millions of dollars into Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus, even though that only elevated the importance of her devastating third-place finish there. She'd gone on the attack against a better-liked rival whose platform more closely mirrored the values of the party's base, creating a boomerang effect on her personal standing. Perhaps worst of all, she'd obsessed over winning the popular vote in big states rather than targeting the all-important delegates and superdelegates whose votes at the Democratic convention determined the party's nominee.
But the idea burned into her mind as much as anything else was that she had lost because she'd hired people who put their own interests above getting her elected. The absence of palace intrigue on her opponent's side—the "no drama Obama" campaign—was the kind...