It was the media. It was the FBI. It was misogyny, the Democratic National Committee – heck, throw in the “vast right wing conspiracy” if you wish. Hillary Clinton is speaking up a lot lately about losing to Donald Trump last fall, and while she is slamming others as fast as she can name them, you want to guess how much she blames herself? Spoiler alert: not much. Ok, not at all. Zippo.
In California this week she summed it up. “I take responsibility for every decision I make, but that’s not why I lost.” Read that again, because it says volumes.
She takes responsibility for setting up a private email server in her home and, for months, making disingenuous claims about it; for making highly paid speeches to bankers and refusing to let us see the contents; for taking her Rust Belt support for granted; for underestimating Bernie Sanders then failing to successfully court his followers; and – just for good measure – for referring to millions of Americans as a “basket of deplorables.” All of that in any election might lead to defeat for anyone.
Yet time and again, Clinton has insisted it was everything else that cost her the race. And if you Google “Why Hillary Lost,” you’ll find endless pundits who agree she was hurt by factors beyond her control: She was held to a different standard as a woman. She was unfairly tarred as untrustworthy. She was disproportionately smeared for every mistake, and unfairly ignored for every triumph. And yeah, the Russians.
But she came into the race with a hurricane of Democratic support: every big name from President Obama to Katy Perry. She had decades to convince the American public not merely that she was qualified but also a trustworthy leader. She had endless opportunities to set out a compelling vision for the country. And despite taking the popular vote, she still lost the electoral contest – the only one that really counts – to a rank political outsider.
Even many respected Democratic analysts have concluded – despite their howling dismay over President Trump – that Clinton blew it. The race was hers to win, she was the captain, and she lost. She can’t change that by blaming everyone else, but if she keeps it up, she could make even some Democrats glad to see her gone.