In an article updated last at 10:20 PM, on November 8th, 2016, the New York Times posted an Election Forecast which stated that Hillary Clinton had an 85% chance of winning the election. The article goes on to explain, “Today, it’s Election Day, what we’ve all been waiting for, and there will be no more updates” (Katz). As the current president of the United States is Donald Trump, these statistics are baffling. The American public, specifically those who supported the Clinton campaign, have been left wondering, “What happened?”. On September 12, 2017, 10 months later, Clinton gave us her opinion on the situation.
In terms of the political, Hillary tries to address what she could and should have done to assure her win, but additionally explains reasons why she didn’t win. She owns up to her shortcomings with the statement “It was my campaign. Those were my decisions” (391), yet, goes on to add “I wish it were that easy. But it’s not. So I’m going to try to explain… both the unexpected interventions that swung the race at the end, and the structural challenges that made it close to begin with” (393).
These “structural challenges”, in Clinton’s opinion, include Comey, Putin, Bernie, the media, Fox News, sexism, Clinton fatigue, Electoral College, partisan loyalty, voter suppression, and many other factors, and last but not least, Trump’s unbelievable campaign (Borosage). She even includes an entire chapter within the memoir titled “Those Damn Emails”, in which she includes sample emails of which she sent from the government emails, many being silly IT instructions about fax lines and advise for telling her colleague to wear warm socks (294). She again, nonetheless, regrets this mistake, but attributes it for a large part of her loss.
Within “What Happened,” Hillary’s casual and comedic side is brought out. Not like laugh-out-loud-spit-your-drink-out-funny, but more like a chuckling-under-your-breath kind of funny. For example, she recounts her post-election party in Brooklyn, as her supporters and staff came together one last time. She remembers, “To help matters, there was an open bar” (22). She, again, jokes about herself, as she went out hiking with her husband, and was photographed with a woman, when “The ‘HRC in the Wild Meme’ was born” (27). On frequent occasions she talks about yoga pants, HGTV, and drinking wine as an additional coping mechanism. To be frank, Hillary Clinton’s memoir paints her to be potentially the coolest grandma ever.
If you were a Clinton supporter, this book hurts, but she does offer glimmers of hope. Directly after recollection the pain after inauguration day, followed by the “genuine outpouring of grassroots energy” at the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st, 2017.
I would like to end this article on a quote from Hillary from her chapter titled “On Being a Woman in Politics”, as she recounts her concession speech.