What Did Happen?

DYLAN HAYES

A Look at Hillary Clinton’s Newest Book About Her Loss in the 2016 Presidential Election

Hillary Clinton wasn’t expecting to lose the 2016 presidential election; she hadn’t even written a concession speech. In fact, every poll up until the day before the election had her ahead of Donald Trump, even if it was just by a slight margin. The 2016 election was one of the most vicious, unprecedented elections in recent history, and will go down as one of the biggest upsets in American history. In her newest book “What Happened”, Hillary Clinton sheds light on what happened during her campaign, and how her loss has not only affected her, but the American people as well.

On June 7, 2016, Hillary Clinton officially became the first female presidential nominee of a major political party, forever cementing
her legacy into American history.

On July 28, 2016, Clinton accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States, officially becoming the first woman ever to be formally nominated for the presidency.

Her competition, businessman Donald J. Trump, was seen as un t to be president. This election seemed like it was going to be an easy win for Clinton; polls had her way ahead of Trump, and no one was expecting what would happen on election day that November.

Clinton went on to lose the election that November to a man that had been called a at-out liar, racist, sexist, and someone who did not have the temperament to sit in the Oval Office. The election was a shock to many, especially Clinton, who seemed to have this one in the bag.

In “What Happened”, Clinton blames herself for losing the election, apologizes for what she calls the “dumb” handling of her emails, giving paid speeches to banks, and, as she puts it, “handing Trump a political gift with my ‘deplorable’ comment.”

Clinton holds herself accountable for her loss; she writes in the beginning of the book that during her campaign for President, she knew that millions of people were counting on her, and she didn’t want to fathom letting them down. “But I did,” writes Clinton, who goes on to say: “I couldn’t get the job done, and I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life.” Clinton found solace and inspiration from people she met on the campaign trail.

She talks about a minister from South Carolina who talked to her about love and kindness, about residents who banded together in Flint, Mich., a town poisoned by lead, and about volunteers who worked tirelessly to get her elected. Clinton wants to set the record straight in the aftermath of her election loss, and she wants
the American people to help. “The lessons we draw from 2016 could help determine whether we can heal our democracy and protect it in the future, and whether we as citizens can begin to bridge our divides,” writes Clinton. “We have a responsibility to history- and to a concerned world-to set the record straight.”

“What Happened” is a raw book, one that is a not only a guide to how the political arena works here in the United States, but is also, probably, one of the most personal accounts ever to be recorded in political history. Clinton’s devastating defeat to Trump is something that still stings; Americans are still trying to grapple with what happened, and how they can prevent something like this from happening again.

Although I have hardly even scratched the surface of Clinton’s memoir in this article, we must examine this work by recognizing
the impact that the 2016 election had not only on Clinton, but to the American people as well. What Clinton so eloquently accomplishes in this book is that she tries to help heal and make peace with these painful, searing memories, and also get a better understanding of what actually happened on that unthinkable November night, almost one year ago.