I haven’t read Hillary Clinton’s What Happened yet. The truth is, if you are reading this article, you probably haven’t either. The political culture wars have practically demanded that you wouldn’t. Instead, it’s much easier to have an opinion of the book. If you’re a Trump supporter, you probably hate the book on principle. If you’re a Bernie supporter, you probably hate the book on principle as well. And if you’re a Hillary supporter — well, you might even think the book is unnecessary. We all know why Hillary lost, and she has no one else to blame but herself. Right?
Well that’s both true and untrue. Hillary Clinton’s What Happened can be taken however you would like. With a side of conservatism, with a side of progressive, of side of moderation, you can have it your way (but better than Burger King). If you’ve read any of Hillary Clinton’s post-election arguments, they are all fundamentally sound. Bernie really did paint paint Hillary as corrupt. He even went as far to say that she “wasn’t qualified to be president.”And depending on your point of view, he may or may not be right.
But the issue is that people are pretending that Bernie never said this. They are pretending that he never made the argument that she would not be a good president. And that’s just not true. The media has, of course, capitalized on this. Only recently, Hillary Clinton made the argument in an NPR article that “there was this connection” between the election in Kenya and what happened in our own election. She is not saying that the election itself is illegitimate. But that’s how CNN interpreted it.
CNN knows exactly how this works. They’ve been in the news business for a long time. And they know how to generate a story out of an out-of-context interview quote. They know it will get them clicks and generate them advertising revenue. This is why I’ve argued that the business model around journalism needs to die in order for journalism to live.
Fundamentally, this is the same thing that happened with Hillary Clinton’s What Happened. She’s made some nuanced arguments within the book that have been taken out of context within the media. Then hellfire is rained down upon her from all sides. Nobody wants to hear what she has to say, but she’s saying it anyway. To many, she is the spawn of Satan himself after all.
And that’s what the real problem is. Hillary Clinton is a veteran politician. She feels she has the right to write about and talk about the election as a post-mortem. But we live in polarizing times. Hillary Clinton likely does not realize the damage that she is doing by releasing her book at this time. But maybe she just doesn’t care. Maybe this is her giant middle finger to the polarized electorate.
She blames herself plenty, but for most people, it will never be enough. And anything they hear from her is toxic. After all, she’s the most hated modern politician aside for Ted Cruz (yes, even more than Donald Trump). But if you cast that hatred aside, and think outside that perspective, you’ll realize that a lot of what Hillary Clinton’s What Happened has to say is not wrong. It may be timed poorly, and it may not focus on the things that people want it to, but it does have valuable things to say. While the timing could have been better, her points stand strong, whether your ideology chooses to acknowledge them as factual or not.
But this is why Hillary Clinton is so hated. She makes fact-based assertions that don’t appeal to the emotional core of anyone. And she knows it too. And whether you choose to hate it or not, you should realize that she does have valuable things to say. This is especially true now that she isn’t President. There’s nothing to lose from hearing the arguments of Hillary Clinton’s What Happened out. At the least, you’ll know how the other half thinks.