In a new afterword for the paperback version of her book What Happened, Hillary Clinton writes that she tried to give President Donald Trump a chance after 77,744 votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania won him the electoral college and presidency. But her "fears for our future" were not overblown, she goes on to say. As previewed by The Atlantic, Clinton's new What Happened afterword accuses Trump of using hate to divide the country and undermine American democracy.
Clinton writes that the country is in crisis and that there are five pillars to Trump's "assault on democracy." She writes about the rule of law, the legitimacy of elections, Trump's "false or misleading statements," and "breathtaking corruption." But the part that is the most fiery — and has the most examples — is his work to undermine "the national unity that makes democracy possible," Clinton writes.
For democracy to work, Clinton, argues, Americans need to be connected "by the shared belief that out of our fractious melting pot comes a unified whole that’s stronger than the sum of our parts." But Trump's words and actions don't support that national unity, Clinton says. She gives example after example, from him calling the former homes of Haitian and African immigrants "sh*thole countries," or when he questioned whether a judge of Mexican heritage could be trusted. She points out how he disregarded the Puerto Rican death toll from Hurricane Maria and "lashes out at NFL players." Not to mention the "very fine people" among white supremacists in Charlottesville comment.
Clinton calls out what these statements say altogether: "The message he sends by his lack of concern and respect for some Americans is unmistakable. He is saying that some of us don’t belong, that all people are not created equal, and that some are not endowed by their Creator with the same inalienable rights as others."
Bustle reached out to the White House for comment.
Clinton goes on to write that the president's words are not the worst of it, but that Trump's "administration has undermined civil rights that previous generations fought to secure and defend."
"Other actions have been quieter but just as insidious," Clinton writes. "The Department of Justice has largely abandoned oversight of police departments that have a history of civil-rights abuses and has switched sides in voting-rights cases. Nearly every federal agency has scaled back enforcement of civil-rights protections."
That's not to mention Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Clinton adds. She argues the agency is "running wild across the country" and confronting American citizens who speak Spanish and "dragging parents away from children."
But there's hope to come back from this, Clinton writes. "First, we’ve got to mobilize massive turnout in the 2018 midterms," she says. "There are fantastic candidates running all over the country, making their compelling cases every day about how they’ll raise wages, bring down health-care costs, and fight for justice."
If they win, Clinton argues, it could mean not just a change in policies but could also lead to "some congressional oversight of the White House."
But that's just the beginning in Clinton's view. "Healing our country will come down to each of us, as citizens and individuals, doing the work—trying to reach across divides of race, class, and politics and see through the eyes of people very different from ourselves," Clinton says.
"When we think about politics and judge our leaders, we can’t just ask, 'Am I better off than I was four years ago?'" Clinton argues. "We have to ask, 'Are we better off? Are we as a country better, stronger, and fairer?' Democracy works only when we accept that we’re all in this together."
After Trump's work to divide, Clinton says, the midterms are just the jumping off point.