Press: Hillary's doomed bid

Press: Hillary's doomed bid
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On Oct. 12, 1979, a few days before he was scheduled to announce his plans to challenge Jimmy Carter in the 1980 Democratic primary, Sen. Ted Kennedy (Mass.) sat down with CBS correspondent Roger Mudd. To break the ice, Mudd opened with a softball question: “Why do you want to be president?”

And Kennedy, who’d been prepping to run for president for over a decade, ever since the assassinations of his brothers John and Robert Kennedy, miffed it. He rambled on and on for three minutes, unable to give a concise answer of why he was running.

Nobody ever asked Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down Signs grow that Mueller is zeroing in on Roger Stone Omarosa claims president called Trump Jr. a 'f--- up' for releasing Trump Tower emails MORE that question so directly, but if they had— as brutally laid out in “Shattered,” the excellent campaign account just published by Sidewire’s Jonathan Allen and The Hill’s Amie Parnes — they would have received the same non-answer.

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After interviewing scores of Clinton campaign insiders, Parnes and Allen conclude: “Hillary didn’t have a vision to articulate. And no one else could give one to her.” Even as she prepared to announce her run for president on June 13, 2015, Clinton still struggled with the question of whether she was running for Obama’s third term, Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMcAuliffe: We should look at impeaching Trump over Putin summit What ISIS is up to during your summer vacation Kavanaugh once said president would likely have to testify before grand jury if subpoenaed: report MORE’s third term, or her own first term.

As portrayed by the two veteran political journalists, the Clinton campaign was doomed from the start — with no clear mission, no set strategy and a top-heavy campaign structure unable or unwilling to adjust to new developments. Clinton succeeded in winning back African-American and Latino voters who deserted her for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFalwell Jr.: Sessions and Rosenstein ‘deceived’ Trump into appointing them and should ‘rot’ in jail The Trump economy is destroying the Obama coalition Charlottesville and the failure of moral leadership MORE in 2008, for example, while alienating the white working-class Americans who were the base of her support in 2008. And even when Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Health Care: States fight Trump on non-ObamaCare plans | Analysis looks into surprise medical bills | Left hits industry group working against single payer Overnight Energy: Trump Cabinet officials head west | Zinke says California fires are not 'a debate about climate change' | Perry tours North Dakota coal mine | EPA chief meets industry leaders in Iowa to discuss ethanol mandate Sen. Sanders blasts Zinke: Wildfires 'have everything to do with climate change' MORE (I-Vt.) started stealing that white vote, her campaign made no change in strategy to win them back.

In many ways, the campaign was also jinxed. Every time it looked like things were breaking their way, another disaster happened. Most famously, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, 17 intelligence agencies announced their conclusion that Russia was trying to influence the outcome of the election to help Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAl Gore: Trump has had 'less of an impact on environment so far than I feared' Trump claims tapes of him saying the 'n-word' don't exist Trump wanted to require staffers to get permission before writing books: report MORE. That news alone might have won the election for her. But, within an hour, the Russian bombshell was overshadowed both by discovery of the crude “Access Hollywood” tape and release of the first emails stolen by hackers from the account of her campaign chairman, John Podesta. Reversals of fortune happened so often that the campaign adopted the refrain: “We’re not allowed to have nice things.”

There were, in fact, several external factors that contributed significantly to Clinton’s stunning defeat, most notably: Russian interference; James Comey’s public scolding of Hillary and re-opening of the email investigation; Bernie Sanders’s surprising success; and the failure of the media to take Donald Trump seriously and subject him to scrutiny.

But, in the end, there’s no one to blame for her loss other than her inept campaign and the candidate herself. It was Hillary Clinton who decided to set up a private email server and give paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. And it was she who so lost touch of political reality that she lamented to aide Minyon Moore in the middle of the primary: “I don’t understand what’s happening with the country.”

“Shattered” is a Shakespearean tragedy about how the dream unraveled for a woman who should be president of the United States today, and why she’s not. Read it and weep.

 

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.” The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.