Yes, The Clinton Campaign Was Every Bit As Bad As You Thought It Was. Actually, Even WORSE

Filed in Featured, National by on April 18, 2017

What a recipe for political success.  Decide from the very beginning of your campaign that you will make no appeal to white voters. Then stick to your plan.  That was just one of the disastrous mistakes made by the Clinton campaign. 2016 was just like 2008 all over again, except with a candidate 8 years further out of touch.  Although her tin ear remained intact.

A new book, “Shattered, Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign”, has just been released.  The books authors, Jonathan Allen and Amie Parmes, were given total access to the inner workings of the campaign, but with one proviso, that nothing they see be published until after the campaign.  Which is too bad.  Maybe if some of this stuff had gotten out earlier, there might have been a course correction.

In the NYTimes review that I linked above, we learn the following:

In fact, the portrait of the Clinton campaign that emerges from these pages is that of a Titanic-like disaster: an epic fail made up of a series of perverse and often avoidable missteps by an out-of-touch candidate and her strife-ridden staff that turned “a winnable race” into “another iceberg-seeking campaign ship.”

“Our failure to reach out to white voters, like literally from the New Hampshire primary on, it never changed,” one campaign official is quoted as saying.

Hey, readers of DL know what kind of response you’d get from the Hillary cheerleaders if you even suggested that the campaign was committing political malpractice.  I know I did.  The responses to this linked article look even more condescending, wrong-headed and laughable than they did in real time.


Despite years of post-mortems, the authors observe, Clinton’s management style hadn’t really changed since her 2008 loss of the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama: Her team’s convoluted power structure “encouraged the denizens of Hillaryland to care more about their standing with her, or their future job opportunities, than getting her elected.”

Especially disastrous was some Mook named Robbie, who ran the campaign the way that I might run a fantasy baseball team:

“Mook had made the near-fatal mistakes of underestimating Sanders and investing almost nothing early in the back end of the primary calendar,” Parnes and Allen write, and the campaign seemed to learn little from Clinton’s early struggles. For instance, her loss in the Michigan primary in March highlighted the problems that would pursue her in the general election — populism was on the rise in the Rust Belt, and she was not connecting with working-class white voters — and yet it resulted in few palpable adjustments.

These problems were not corrected in the race against Trump. Allen and Parnes report that Donna Brazile, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, was worried in early October about the lack of ground forces in major swing states, and that Mook had “declined to use pollsters to track voter preferences in the final three weeks of the campaign,” despite pleas from advisers in crucial states.

Now, before you think that this is some hit piece, bear in mind that these authors were granted this access b/c they had written a generally positive book about Clinton’s years as Secretary of State.

None of that, however, changes the two word verdict on the Clinton campaign:

“Shockingly inept.”

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  1. Andy says:

    And many still have the blame others attitude

  2. Alby says:

    A lot of women, professional and otherwise — including a couple who used to write here but couldn’t take the heat — were so heavily invested in the cult of personality that they took any and all criticism of Hillary personally.

    Nobody in Washington wants to admit it, but both parties are in ruins. The election destroyed Democrats by denying them power and destroyed Republicans by forcing them to take it.

  3. Ben says:

    Holy crap-snacks was I dumb. Som, Id like to apologize for that thread you linked… my part in it anyway. It seems so obvious now. I think i just refused to believe that PrezPigfucker could win.
    What’s worse is, since the election, Democrats have continued their strategy of sucking. I think it is fair to say the only decent Democratic politician of the last 16 years has been Barack Obama.

  4. I’d add Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

    But the Powers That Be didn’t want them messing up their sweet deals.

    Too bad for the power-brokers that they screwed themselves instead.

    Which provides us with an opportunity.

  5. Went back and read the entire thread. I think Jenr had the best take:

    “Should Hillary somehow lose (which I don’t believe she will) who will be at fault? Her campaign, Dem primary voters, Dem Party? You can blame the FBI for it being close. You could also blame the way she and her campaign have handled the issue from the start. Why don’t HRC’s supporters ever seem to find fault with her or her campaign? You can blame groups of voters too (white working class men, etc). However, this race should not be close. Why don’t we recognize that one of the reasons the race is close may be related to the candidate we chose and her campaign? It doesn’t mean people were wrong when they voted for her. I support Hillary but not blindly.”

  6. Ben says:

    Bernie has the good sense to distinguish himself as an Independent. As long as the nation is a smoldering pile of shit, Progressives like Warren might as well leave the party to die. We might never have a better chance at breaking the 2 party system.

  7. Steve Newton says:

    While we’re doing this, let’s remember that almost nobody on this site thought–pre-November 8–that any of this would cost Secretary Clinton the election. Not a damn one of you. Yeah, some of you criticized her campaign, but this hindsight is 20/20 bullshit is exactly that. I came in for much ridicule last March for suggesting Trump did have a path for winning, and was also lambasted by a couple of you for insisting before the election that he had at least a 30% chance of winning. And even I didn’t get what was about to happen.

    As for this gem by Alby: A lot of women, professional and otherwise — including a couple who used to write here but couldn’t take the heat — were so heavily invested in the cult of personality that they took any and all criticism of Hillary personally.

    That’s a load of self-congratulatory horseshit from a guy who has now forgotten that when I put him through his paces he admitted he’d been ladling out load after load of miscogynist bullshit.

    Nobody here–especially including Alby–is on record anywhere before November 8 suggesting that Clinton would lose. In fact, most of what was going on here was whining that she’d screwed over Bernie by beating him, and how Bernie would have been just as good a candidate for the General Election as Hillary.

    Spare me.

  8. chris says:

    Hillary downloaded all her campaigns emails from her 2008 loss to Obama. She was so paranoid about her own people and did not trust them. Then she set up her own private server which really cost her at State. Total paranoia.

  9. Alby says:

    @Steve: “True” and “misogynistic” are not mutually exclusive. But you’re so invested in protecting a couple of crybabies that you’re growing a mangina.

    You seem to forget that those of us who spoke up against Clinton before Nov. 8 were demonized as traitors.

    You ought to train your critical eye on yourself sometime, Mr. “Liberaltarian.” Or would you prefer I do it for you? I allowed you to have at me because I knew you were performing what you considered an intellectual exercise. If you want me to savage you, just let me know.

    I’ll fight bullshit wherever I find it, and since the campaign, I’ve found an awful lot of it around you.

  10. C’mon, Steve. We were worried about the election. We hedged our bets with ‘we think she’s still gonna win, but it shouldn’t be this close’. If we had known what we only found out after the election…that there were NO boots on the ground in those midwestern states, that the so-called firewall in Florida was merely PR BS, we would have been terrified.

    This book tells us that there was no there there.

  11. Alby says:

    Let’s analyze the content of the argument, then, the part not about me:

    Steve is suggesting that if you didn’t know ahead of time that her campaign was going to lose, it’s somehow “wrong” to point out now that you were criticizing that campaign pretty much non-stop.

    The argument is bullshit not just on its face, but through and through. Most people — not just here, but throughout the country and around the world — based their expectations of the outcome on polling that showed Clinton well ahead. Predicting a Trump victory therefore required the person doing the predicting to throw out all the polls — and remember, it was all of them, not just the Democratic-leaning ones. That required someone to either know the situation on the ground in the right places (Michael Moore, for example) or to go on a hunch (I know people who bet on Trump simply because of Brexit, for example).

    This all is so obvious that one has to wonder why Steve was moved to post his comment at all. Those who disagreed with him are being attacked for being right about the poor campaign but wrong about whether its failures were fatal.

  12. Ben says:

    I think people confuse that “this is too close, something is wrong” feeling with “we should have KNOWN” feeling.
    My personal prediction was a squeaker of an election with GOP holding house and senate. 4 years of absolute gridlock (and multiple impeachment attempts) with a 2018 mid-term massacre for Dems, then a some sort of re-branded young looking Neocon winning in 2020. Clinton would have been a failed president.
    Who knows. if we We all survive the pigfucker, we could see a second shot at what Obama had………. before Clintonian politics and ass holes like Carper fucked it all up.

  13. ralph says:

    I think you’re both dumb so there’s that

  14. mouse says:

    She was difficult to like which I think was the bottom line

  15. RE Vanella says:

    Steve, with all due respect, you miss the point. There was a big contingent here supporting Sanders. I sucked it up and voted for Clinton in November because that was the obvious and moral thing to do. And yeah very few predicted the outcome, but some were more open re: the how horrible Clinton was as a candidate. We didn’t want her from the beginning.

    Now, after being proved correct, we’re subjected to the disgusting interview HRC gave Nick Kristof at the women’s forum event.

    So maybe spare us… The ladies went off to their safe space. I take no issue with that. But don’t fucking pretend that the argument for Clinton wasn’t horribly wrong and left us in a very dangerous predictament. The fact that very few people predicted it is irrelevant.

  16. RE Vanella says:

    We cannot allow this to happen again. I truly believe we’re fighting for everything now. Fucking crying about sexism doesn’t help us now. Strap up for the fight.

    And spare us whatever it is you think you’re doing.

  17. speaktruth says:

    Steve: can you name one country that is libertarian? Sanders was the best candidate and could have beat Trumpolini. Hilary was unable to get her head around the issues that working families wanted to hear, while Trump bamboozled, hoodwinked and out right lied to get himself elected. Podesta and Robby Mook were at odds and infighting within the campaign has now been addressed in a new book…”Shattered”. Sanders is known as the most respected, honest man in the Congress. He is still working for the people with a 50 state strategy, something Clinton refused to do.

  18. RE Vanella says:

    Since you mentioned… here’s the Times review.

    This book is on sale now at The Ninth Street Book Shop…

  19. RE Vanella says:

    Also, although I generally stand mute on matters of libertarianism, since I have such a visceral distain for the entire vile concept, I’ll offer this:

    “(T)o the point where now libertarianism in my country is actually being taken seriously as an intelligent mode of political thought. It’s astonishing to me. But it is. People are saying I don’t need anything but my own ability to earn a profit. I’m not connected to society. I don’t care how the road got built, I don’t care where the firefighter comes from, I don’t care who educates the kids other than my kids. I am me. It’s the triumph of the self. I am me, hear me roar.” —David Simon

  20. mouse says:

    I am an island

  21. RE Vanella says:

    …every man is a piece of the continent. At least according to John Donne, David Simon and me. Even beach people near the edge.

  22. nathan arizona says:

    paul simon is a rock as well as an island. brian wilson is a rock in a landslide. also a cork in the ocean.

  23. nathan arizona says:

    “on” the ocean. at least, ’til, you know.

  24. One of the most beautiful songs Brian Wilson ever wrote:

  25. Steve Newton says:

    Wow, you go away on vacation for a few days and Alby throws one of his self-righteous, amnesiac, geriatric fits in which he rewrites history to suit him, and “mangina” is the best he can come up with?

    For El Som, RE, and anybody else who still gives a fuck–here’s the fuck: a number of you supported Sanders; a lot more of you didn’t support Clinton but damn near nobody ever ever thought she could lose, no matter how bad her campaign was. The only people here who ever gave Trump a chance of winning were jason and me.

    I don’t object to people criticizing one of the most horribly run campaigns of all time–I object to the implied message that all of you (or most of you) had this inkling that she was going to be defeated (and–like Alby–were johnny on the spot right after November 8 with cleverly producing reasons why she lost an election there is absolutely no evidence he thought she was going to lose in the first place). The most said here was, “Bernie could beat Trump by a bigger margin than Hillary,” and that was pure BS, too.

    As for defending pandora and cassandra (and, go back and look, you can find the apology Alby issued then that he’s apparently forgotten now)–it’s the rankest hypocrisy for someone who engaged in abusive behavior to blame the victims for refusing to put up with it.

    Only on Delaware Liberal would nobody note that Alby telling me I have a “magina” because I defended them against attacks based almost entirely on their gender is the rhetorical equivalent of calling somebody a nigger-lover–except that one would violate the rules, and the other apparently doesn’t.

  26. RE Vanella says:

    Personally, I’m not arguing that I predicted it. I’m assessing the outcome. A lot of people have a lot of fucking excuses. These excuses are nakedly political, based in obstinate vanity of some kind, and an insult.

    Clinton the candidate, Clinton the idea, Clinton the icon, was a failure. There are not “clever” reasons; they’re the reasons. She is not a victim of anything. And I’m tired of this sad victim-story and I’m not considering it anymore. If some interlocutor gives me a sniff of anything that absolves Mrs Clinton and the machine of responsibility, we’re done.

    As far as the creepy epithet, I think in tort law it’s referred to as res ipsa loquitur. What would you have us do? I officially object. Respectfully, I don’t need to be told how vile and immature it is.

  27. mouse says:

    Hear hear dammit lol. I love living at the beach. Biked to a deserted white sand beach on Rehoboth Bay last night from my driveway. Going to hang out with the retirees in Dewey tonight

  28. Ben says:

    Alby gonna Alby. It’s sometimes best to let the tantrum get thrown…. particularly in a semi-anonymous setting where no one can actually be harmed.

    As to ” Sanders would have won”… I wont go to the mat on that argument, but I do think he could have. Thought experiment…… What state that Clinton won, would he have lost? I think Michigan, Wisconsin and PA would have gone for him…. maybe MO…. and with the kind of 50 state strategy he was using in the mid-terms, he may have out performed the 50%+1 ass holes. Fall in line Dems would have voted for him if the establishment told them to, and I think there were far more “never Clintons” than “never Sanders(es)”.
    Would he have had the coat tails to bring with him a congress that would do anything other than thwart his presidency? Probably not. Would this have resulted in the same kind of brutal 2018 end to the Dems in congress and a major GOP win in 2020 that a Clinton presidency would have resulted in? Yep. I guess in that sense, I’m glad I’ll never have to be disappointed by President Sanders.
    It’s more and more apparent that America died when dump won the domination. You cant have a contingent of scum that large and recover with one election. Even if the failed campaign of Clinton had managed to live up to our predictions (remember, based on THEIR lies), these people would have been back. We have the illness now, it’s taken over. We can treat it and ride it out, but more likely this will be the type of illness that does permanent damage if it doesn’t outright kill us.

  29. RE Vanella says:

    I can make my argument well without speculating on Sanders v Trump. I only mentioned Sanders to say that although I didn’t think much of Trump’s chances I could understand why Clinton was a poor choice. The reasons people on the left supported Sanders are the same reasons some Democratic leaning folks abstained in November and some Republican leaning abstainers actually voted for a game show clown. I can’t make it any clearer than that.

    Now we have to pretend that she was “not-perfect-but-good-enough” and also the pitiful victim of many nefarious dark deeds. Incorrect. She wasn’t good enough. That is all.

  30. Blackflyer says:

    Regardless of how I felt about Mrs. Clinton, I am not ready for a repeat of any kind. Fair or not, IMHO, it is time to move on. We are better off turning the page. News events and the antics of the current administration seem to underline the points Bernie was making during the last election and continues to make today. Whether he heads a 2020 ticket or not, I expect Bernie’s positions on issues, especially graft and corruption, to be the core of the Democratic Party’s platform and message. The Democratic party always does better when we successfully project our values.

  31. Ben says:

    you expect wrong. Every move by the DNC indicates they think they didn’t Clinton hard enough. They have learned nothing, and when Dump is re-elected on a “don’t change horses mid stream” platform (we WILL be at war with NK), they will AGAIN double down on “wining the center”.

  32. Aurochs says:

    Well, I’m going to start a DIFFERENT flame war.

    There is no doubt that Clinton was a shitty candidate (twice in a row!). We knew that all last year and we know it even better now. But to pretend that Sanders was somehow a better candidate is blinkered folly.

    If he was a better candidate than Clinton, he would have won the primary.

    You can blame the Clinton campaign for ignoring white people– most certainly it did. But you can also blame the Sanders campaign for ignoring everybody BUT white people. It’s either that, or he simply doesn’t have the ability to connect with anyone who doesn’t look like a Vermonter. There’s no other way to explain his stunning Super Tuesday losses. In fact, the only two primaries Sanders won in states that aren’t lily-white are MI and IL.

    Sanders knew the rules of the game when he signed up. His strategy failed to secure his nomination. You can’t gloss over that with “nobody knew who he was” type arguments– it was HIS responsibility to convince people to vote for him. Just like it was Clinton’s responsibility to convince people to vote for her. They both failed.

  33. Blackflyer says:

    Well, Ben, your comment suggests we won’t change the minds of the DNC anytime soon. You may be right, but what do you have to actually put on the table of ideas?

  34. Blackflyer says:

    Aurocks, I’m not sure Sanders will be the next candidate for president on the Democratic side. What I said is that the actions of the current administration underline to the voters how corrupt the DT administration is. People do respond to the situation in which they find themselves. I can see messaging that highlights clean air and water, for example.
    And, Bernie people are the only ones talking about starting another party. If you think both Clinton and Sanders were irreversably flawed, who are you looking at? Or is that your point, there is no one to work with?

  35. Ben says:

    Primary the every-loving hell out of establishment Dems. Guys like Carney and Perez are just Drump collaborators. We will never convince the Dem leadership to stray from their love of failure. the only option is to get rid of them.

  36. RE Vanella says:

    Ben’s comment above is it. I am totally prepared to move on. In fact I have. The people playing games haven’t. People satisfied with Tom Perez haven’t. People who want to talk about pragmatism and deal-making haven’t.

    For example, specifically, make single-payer Medicare for all the top priority. No fucking Feinstein routine. No playing with Big Pharma like Booker and Coons. No triangulation. Next, how about a shadow cabinet? Fuck Trump and the dolt bargain. Have a shadow Secretary of the Interior explain a new national infrastructure program and how it’ll hire x million people by 2022. Have the shadow HHS Secretary explain a new national program to treat mental health and addiction. How about that? Secretary of Labor heads to push for a $15 minimum wage. Not $11, not $14, not $1 a year for 10 years. Just fucking do it. Explain how you’ll govern for citizens. Not complicated, except there no money in it.

  37. Rusty Dils says:

    El Samnambulo, “nothing they see to be published until after the election” “maybe if some of this stuff had gotten out earlier there might have been a course correction”. Are you kidding, there as been enough horrifying information made public on the Clintons over the last 30 years to put most people away for a thousand years. Ie, rape, murder, fraud, treason, just to name a few. All liberals continue to lie to themselves about their policies and candidates being good. Until liberals stand up and admit they are wrong publically, that socialism is bad for people, and that candidates who support it are wrong, you will never ever again be in control of our National governing policies, NEVER!

  38. Blackflyer says:

    Vanella, that is a superb idea. A shadow cabinet. I saw this in a series from Australia titled “Rake”. The story line included political elements in the Australian government which included a “shadow cabinet”. I remember this can be a powerful vehicle for getting out alternatives to Conservative proposals. Not to mention the heaping of criticisms. The left is so capable of sly wit.

  39. Blackflyer says:

    Rusty’s shrill voice is filling the hall with tired old accusations that meant nothing then and less now.

  40. Blackflyer says:

    Ben, I looked up who makes up the DNC. It is the chairs and vice-chairs of the 50 states. That may help/not help explain the establishment tendencies.

  41. Aurochs says:

    Shadow cabinets aren’t uncommon features in parliamentary systems, where the cabinet is made up of MPs and requires no approval from the parliament at large. Britain has a similar system. Near as I can tell, the shadow cabinet becomes the real cabinet if its party gains power.

    re: Sanders, I’m not sure who there is in the Democratic party right now who can actually campaign and win on progressive positions. This is what happens when the party officials neglect local elections and bench-building. Looking at you, Perez and your anemic “support” of James Thompson.

  42. mouse says:

    Ever notice how outdated the rhetoric is from these right wingers? Must be old white men. Predictable..