Behind the scenes of the Clinton campaign

Matt Taibbi reviews a new book Shattered by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, based on anonymous (of course) sources within the upper echelons of the Hillary Clinton campaign and say that despite her running for president for about a decade, they could not figure out exactly why she was running, at one time even toying with the slogan “Because it’s her turn”. It makes for depressing but revealing reading about the mindset of the Washington political establishment class.

Shattered is sourced almost entirely to figures inside the Clinton campaign who were and are deeply loyal to Clinton. Yet those sources tell of a campaign that spent nearly two years paralyzed by simple existential questions: Why are we running? What do we stand for?

What Allen and Parnes captured in Shattered was a far more revealing portrait of the Democratic Party intelligentsia than, say, the WikiLeaks dumps. And while the book is profoundly unflattering to Hillary Clinton, the problem it describes really has nothing to do with Secretary Clinton.

The real protagonist of this book is a Washington political establishment that has lost the ability to explain itself or its motives to people outside the Beltway.

The Clinton campaign in 2016, for instance, never saw the Bernie Sanders campaign as being driven by millions of people who over the course of decades had become dissatisfied with the party. They instead saw one cheap stunt pulled by an illegitimate back-bencher, foolishness that would be ended if Sanders himself could somehow be removed.

“Bill and Hillary had wanted to put [Sanders] down like a junkyard dog early on,” Allen and Parnes wrote. The only reason they didn’t, they explained, was an irritating chance problem: Sanders “was liked,” which meant going negative would backfire.

If the ending to this story were anything other than Donald Trump being elected president, Shattered would be an awesome comedy, like a Kafka novel – a lunatic bureaucracy devouring itself. But since the ending is the opposite of funny, it will likely be consumed as a cautionary tale.

Shattered is what happens when political parties become too disconnected from their voters. Even if you think the election was stolen, any Democrat who reads this book will come away believing he or she belongs to a party stuck in a profound identity crisis. Trump or no Trump, the Democrats need therapy – and soon.

I have heard rumors that Clinton is planning to try again in 2020. I am horrified at the prospect and surprised that she would consider it at all. But maybe she feels that it is her destiny to be president and that only winning will erase the bitterness of her two losses.


  1. says

    I have heard rumors that Clinton is planning to try again in 2020. I am horrified at the prospect and surprised that she would consider it at all. But maybe she feels that it is her destiny to be president and that only winning will erase the bitterness of her two losses.

    After all, it’s her turn!

  2. jrkrideau says

    # 2 Tabby Lavalamp
    No of course not. If the Republicans even think there is a chance she might run they will continue lying and attacking her, her husband, and anyone else they can think of.

    I thought Clinton would have been a terrible choice to be US president but she had the redeeming feature that she was miles better than the crazed creatures the on the Republican side.

  3. polishsalami says

    The sense of entitlement from these soulless ghouls is astonishing. They are even trying to push their achievement-challenged daughter on the American public.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    … rumors that Clinton is planning to try again …

    Take that source with a trainload of salt:

    Matt Latimer is a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Intransitive @ # 5: Hillary Jennings Bryan.

    Except that the original Bryan had a decades-long track record of advocacy for “the common people” against the plutocrats even the first time he ran, and only one minor scandal in his whole career.

    Maybe “Hillary Stassen” would make the point better…

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    It would be a public service if Clinton would pretend for the next three years that she plans to run again. That way, the Right could continue to demonize her, and hopefully not notice the more realistic Democratic candidates who might emerge during that span.

  7. says

    Reginald Selkirk@#8:
    It’d be better if the dems actually found a progressive candidate and spent 3 years building a winning message and a ground team. Instead I am afraid it’ll be the same old thing: ageing white oligarch versus oligarch “we managed to learn nothing!”

  8. lanir says

    I still think Clinton’s message and justification for being president amounted to something very, very simple and easy to summarize. Since Hope and Change got Barack Obama elected twice, she was trying to go for Hope for No Change. That just wasn’t a useful outcome for enough people. The winning message for the Republicans was also pretty simple: Hope It’s Not Her. One of the few things Trump spoke about that he didn’t flip-flop about were his outlandish criticisms of Hillary Clinton.

    The Republican part I didn’t understand until after the election but the Clinton message was clear well in advance of it.

  9. Chiroptera says

    Tabby Lavalamp, #2: Sadly the endless misogyny and decades of right-wing attacks on her won’t have gone away in 2020.

    Sadly, the problems aren’t just in the right wing.

    According to the New York Times this morning, Bernie Sandors has been choosing to champion “economic populist” candidates for public office even when they’ve been opposed to women’s reproductive freedom while refusing to endorse pro-reproductive freedom candidates if they aren’t sufficiently populist.

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