2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton released her latest book this week, a memoir that is already causing quite the stir in the media and across the political landscape.
Nearly a year after her defeat to now-President Donald Trump, Clinton retells her story of the campaign: what went wrong, whose fault, and why. What Happened is Clinton’s third memoir to date.
Throughout Clinton’s book, the former first lady admits to faults she personally made during the campaign, taking responsibility for multiple events that ultimately lead to her loss.
A large percentage of the book also places blame on others, however, as Clinton targets such players as Bernie Sanders and his supporters, Joe Biden, James Comey, Vladimir Putin, Matt Lauer and even female voters.
Some of Clinton critiques are aimed at obvious individuals, Donald Trump for example, but some are more surprising. In one instance, Clinton blames female voters for not having the same anger expressed since Trump took office during the campaign season.
One of Clinton’s largest themes throughout What Happened is the presence of sexism in the election and how it affected her campaign, as she claims a significant amount of Americans don’t like her because she is a woman.
Throughout the memoir Clinton’s voice transitions from vengeful to vulnerable, from scholarly to retrospective. At times she addresses those she blames for the loss, herself included. Then she turns and talks about her marriage to Bill Clinton, why she stayed through the scandals, the love they share, and his support throughout the campaign.
In general, Clinton analyzes the political environment of the 2016 election and her mistakes in judging both the voters and her opponents.
Despite polls that show her approval rating still sits below 50 percent, What Happened is currently on Amazon’s top 10 sellers list and is flying off of shelves across the nation.
“My team kept reminding me that we didn’t want to alienate Bernie’s supporters. President Obama urged me to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket,” Clinton wrote.
“(Sanders’) attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
Fellow Democrats, however, are not as excited about some of the book’s contents, as many aren’t comfortable about the retelling of the campaign especially with another election coming in 2018.
While journalists have described 2016 as the campaign that will never end, Democratic Party leaders feel that while they have moved past the election and are reshaping the party’s message, Clinton’s book will set them back and overshadow the current agenda.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, has pointed out that after losing his election he didn’t write a book and has urged Clinton to forget the past.
“I respect and admire and am a friend of Hillary’s,” McCain said. “But with these kind of things that happen in life, you’ve got to move on. You’ve got to quickly move on.”
While the media is expecting controversies to arise in light of the book’s release, time will only tell how the public reacts to it.
On Wednesday night, Trump took one last crack at his former rival, presumably after hearing some of her criticisms and a CNN interview where she called for the elimination of the Electoral College system, to which Clinton responded the next morning.
If you didn’t like that book, try this one — some good lessons in here about working together to solve problems. Happy to send a copy. pic.twitter.com/7dmVJ44mZu
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 14, 2017
[Fox News] [CNN] [The Hill] [Politico] [Photo courtesy Ethan Miller/Getty Images via Slate]