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It was a challenge to read Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, and fight back the feeling of Monday Morning Quarterback. Even though I knew the outcome (life in a Trump Administration) Authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes tell the story in a fresh and compelling way.
- I was never hashtag With Her. I felt like Hillary Clinton was the pinnacle of arrogance, campaigning with no clear reason of WHY she was running other than it was “her turn”. I will allow that on paper, Clinton remains the better candidate. She has international experience from her time as Secretary of State. She has governing experience from her two terms in the Senate of New York. She even has executive experience as the wife of a former president. With that vast amount of intelligence to lead the country, Clinton made many dumb moves.
- Find Your Message. There were multiple hints that Clinton’s campaign tried to emulate the model of Barack Obama’s 2007 successful run. Barack Obama had a clear slogan: Hope and Change. Even though many argue he was part of the Washington establishment Barack Obama ran a campaign that capitalized on his freshness. Obama also had charisma, broad appeal, and a relatively clean background. An African-American man with a chance of actually winning was inspiring to a country that was losing faith. He was able to capture the vision of voters and earn the vote.
- Speak up and Speak Out. Clinton is described as a private person. Unfortunately, a need for privacy has become a thing of the past in our 24 hour news cycle lifestyle. Also, what expectation of privacy did Clinton really have? She was running for President. Clinton dragged in baggage that she was never able to shake, and denied the public a clear answer early in her campaign to make it less of an issue later on. Shattered revealed that Clinton was never able to find a steady stride. Clinton’s baggage included use of a private email server (which many of her staffers felt was a huge issue that should have been addressed), past quotes that were dismissive to many voters, and for the really low, her husband’s indiscretion. I don’t think anyone has a right to demand insight on what happens between spouses, I do think she did a disservice to herself by not acknowledging problems early with sincerity.
- Surround Yourself With Truthful People. Clinton;s staffers were afraid to bring bad news. No one really wants to hear anything that is not flattering. However, hard truths are necessary. Clinton had cultivated an atmosphere that made breaking bad news a sentence worthy of termination.
New Isn’t Always Better. Campaign Manager Robert Mook was a whiz with numbers, and while computerized data is helpful, nothing matters more to a voter than one on one time with the person they were giving their support. Clinton relied on both Mook’s analysis and polls from outside agencies, eschewing the wisdom of the experience from seasoned staffers. Bill Clinton suggested that Clinton visit the people who felt ignored during the Obama Administration, but Clinton was too busy dabbing and professing a love of hot sauce to see that smoke and mirrors eventually clear away.
After completing Shattered, I cannot say if my views of candidate Clinton has been swayed. I still cannot believe that a candidate with her experience, beginning when Bill Clinton was wooing voters in Arkansas to her own time winning over delegates in 2007, would fail to follow her instincts on what was best for her campaign. Even with the best minds and strategist providing advice, at the end of the race, Clinton is the person who lost.
I admired Clinton’s grace and poise at Trump’s inauguration. I only saw one side eye and that was aimed at Bill’s possibly wandering eye. After reading Shattered, I have a better understanding of the person who has paved the way for more cracks in the future.