New Book Gives Inside Glimpse Of The Failed Clinton Campaign

by Chris Tognotti
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It's been nearly three months since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and a mere five and a half since the 2016 presidential election, even though it may feel like it's been a lot longer. Now, Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen have released a new book called Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign, an inside look at the former secretary of State's presidential bid. So pulling back some of the secrecy of a tight-lipped presidential campaign, here are seven revelations about Clinton's campaign from the book, drawn from some of the early excerpts and reviews of Parnes and Allen's work.

By now, it should come as no surprise that the Clinton campaign had some issues, to put it mildly. For it to lose a general election to undeniably the most unqualified, inflammatory, and polarizing candidate in modern American political history? Yeah, that suggests some problems, and ones that could probably stand some closer examination.

Basically, a lot of things had to go wrong to land the United States in the situation it currently faces. Here are seven bits of information reportedly detailed in Shattered, giving a fresh perspective on what exactly happened, why it happened, and how it all looked from the inside.

1. The Campaign Was Rife With Infighting

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The book reportedly details a presidential campaign in a state of constant internal tension, with key advisers and strategists at odds with one another on how best to proceed. Specifically, it cites antipathy between Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and communications director Jennifer Palmieri, and major differences in strategy between Mook and the campaign's chairman, longtime Washington insider John Podesta.

2. Bill Clinton Wanted More Outreach To Undecided Voters

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Not unlike Podesta, who reportedly clashed with Mook over whether to employ more traditional campaign practices, former president Bill Clinton found himself at odds with Mook's data-driven approach, urging for more outreach to undecided voters, specifically the white working class. Ultimately, white voters breaking for Trump by big margins (62 percent of white men and 52 percent of white women) proved pivotal in him winning the Electoral College, despite losing the popular vote by millions.

3. Campaign Manager Robby Mook's Voter Modeling Was A Failure

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Mook was reportedly so confident in his data-driven approach to modeling voters that he balked at calls for more traditional campaign expenditures, like polling and yard signs. He clashed with other, more senior members of the campaign who wanted to do so. This was all in favor of his own analytic approach, which turned out to be crucially, massively wrong.

4. Hillary Knew She Was Hurting With White Working-Class Voters

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It seems as though Clinton was acutely aware that she wasn't connecting with the white working class, which was particularly confusing since she'd done so well with them during the 2008 Democratic primary. According to NPR, she's quoted in Shattered as being vexed by the situation:

Why aren't they with me? Why can't we bring them on board?

5. The Election Collapse Was Foreshadowed By The Michigan Primary

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In retrospect, even hours after Clinton conceded to Trump and ended her 2016 campaign, it was clear that her campaign's historic defeat at the hands of Bernie Sanders in the Michigan primary months before was a warning shot that should have been taken more seriously.

Despite trailing by double digits in the polls heading into voting, Sanders ultimately edged out Clinton to win by more than one percent, one of the biggest over-performances in the history of modern politics. In short, it was a sign that something was very wrong for Clinton in the Midwest. But according to Shattered, Mook and company failed to address what was an obvious, potentially devastating shortcoming.

6. The Election Night Crisis Was First Raised By Florida Vote Counter Steve Schale

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The campaign was reportedly in good spirits on election night until it received a grim phone call from Steve Schale, a virtuoso Florida vote counter for the Democrats who became a must-follow on Twitter in the days leading up to the election. According to the book, it was a call from Schale informing the campaign that they were going to lose the state, despite strong turnout in the districts they hoped for, that made the Clinton camp first realize that the presidency was slipping away.

7. Clinton Apologized To Obama Right After Losing The Election

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In what's probably the most somber story for anyone who supported Clinton and Barack Obama, the first thing she did after conceding the race to Trump ― with a "congratulations, Donald" ― was hop on the phone with the outgoing president. According to the book, she offered a soft-spoken apology:

Mr. President, I'm sorry.

All in all, although it might still sting if you're a Democrat, or a progressive, or simply someone who really would've preferred if Clinton had won, it sounds as though political junkies will have plenty to sift through in this inside-the-campaign retrospective. If this sounds like the sort of thing you're interested in, you don't have to wait ― the hardcover edition of the book is available to buy now.