May 3, 2017

Book Review: Shattered Shows Delusion in Clinton

SHATTERED: Inside Hillary Clinton's
Doomed Campaign
, (Crown 2017),
by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

Enough with the Neolibs, Voted Many


Madison, Wisconsin — It's midnight on Election Day 2016. Should I wake up a sleeping partner and inform her Donald Trump is elected president?

A voice in the night: "Ohh. You have to be effing kidding me? ... Did Russ win?"

Some variation of this scene played out across America last November as disbelief stayed disbelief right up to today.

The presidential campaign of 2016 is beyond the descriptive power of Chayefsky or Mencken. In fiction and journalism, a President Trump seems impossible.

Campaign 2016 happened and now comes a major treatment explaining how.

If you are a Bernie Sanders supporter, are fascinated by how campaigns and movements persuade, if you love human rights and effective communications, here's the political book of the year:

SHATTERED: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign, (Crown: 2017), by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.

Shattered could have been entitled DOOMED. Hillary Clinton is a tragic presidential candidate, congenitally wedded to neo-liberal policies generating the disenchantment that Trump sufficiently claimed as his own.

Clinton had no idea her policies provoked such derision, nor apparent knowledge of her personal unpopularity, an amazing oversight considering how stable were her low favorability ratings.

Two journalists given intimate campaign access to what appeared a coming Democratic victory, saw Trump veer into naked appeals to white supremacy. Many working-class whites went along. Many young and progressive voters said effectively, to hell with it.

America has a fascist president today.

Resistance includes the heartless treatment writers Allen and Parnes give Clinton in their portrait of the candidate as deceitful, and so maladroit it appears only Clinton could have brought Trump. Sanders would have destroyed Trump in a general election and in all likelihood turned the Senate blue.

Every impression of Trump is an infliction onto the bulk of the voting electorate.

Someone should be held accountable. But it 's not like your local Democratic Party stays in touch.

If the reader wants blood for Trump, the authors offer up candidate Hillary Clinton.

Consider Wisconsin, the political land of progressives, whites, segregation and white racists.

What eluded Clinton are 10,000s of Wisconsin progressives who in the 2015-16 Democratic Party primary warned a Clinton nomination spelled trouble in the general election.

These voices in Wisconsin—who live in the central, northern and western regions of the state, 100s of miles from Madison and Milwaukee—can be found in citizen movement groups: Rome and Saratoga Friendly, (Facebook), Citizens Preserving the Penokee Hills Heritage Park, (Facebook), for example.

You want to win Wisconsin in a presidential election, pick up the phone and call Paul DeMain, Richard L. Ketring and Rob Ganson and make your pitch.

But voices such as Wisconsin's DeMain, Ketring and Ganson were ignored by Clinton.

Said Ketring in late April:

I support labor. I support single-payer insurance. I support clean water over industry of any stripe! I support public education. I support the separation of church and state. I do not support the war on drugs. I do not support private prisons. I support increased funding for mental health programs. I support gun law reform! These are my platform choices these are progressive values. How hard is that?

Ketring's sentiments are echoed across Wisconsin, as many voters decided Green Party over the prospects of another Clinton. Green candidate Jill Stein gathered some 106,000 votes, easily eclipsing Trump's victory margin of some 22,000 votes.

From Bayfield County in northern Wisconsin, offered Rob Ganson.

The corrupt neolib, third-way 'democratic representatives' and party officials who fixed the primary for the Clintons made the Trump presidency possible.

Nowhere is that more obvious than in the pivotal state of Wisconsin, where, despite our overwhelming vote for Sanders, our 'representatives' worked against us and for the Clintons. This while it was obvious that while Sanders would beat Trump, the Clintons would lose.

How about foreign policy, an afterthought in campaign 2016?

Clinton talked foreign policy by extolling Henry Kissinger and the neocons, as called out in Milwaukee at a debate with Bernie Sanders in February 2016 in a state where an anti-interventionist ethos stands strong.

Write the authors:

With his victory in New Hampshire, Sanders actually held a lead in pledged delegates. He was bringing in money faster than he could count it, and the question was whether he could build a wave strong enough to sweep over Clinton. This (February debate) meeting with Sanders, who was getting much more adroit in debates and who now had the wind at his back, held tremendous risk for Hillary. And she was getting hammered. ...

[W]hen Hillary noted she talked foreign policy with Henry Kissinger—whom many liberals consider a war criminal—Sanders was ready with a sharp rejoinder: 'I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger," (p. 140).
Jesus, Hillary, Kissinger?

As Shattered chronicles, few saw the white working class voting in such numbers for Trump. Few predicted Comey, Russia, Wikileaks, and the health insurance industry jacking up rates to kill a Democratic Party nominee.

The hard fact is Bernie Sanders voters did explicitly warn about a Wall Street, special interest quisling taking control of the presidency. And the white working class and progressives were ignored.

A campaign postmortem shows, "Turnout in Milwaukee, the key vote center for Democrats in Wisconsin, was off by sixty thousand or so votes from 2012, and nearly three dozen counties in the state [out of 72 counties] saw the partisan margin from that year flip by 20 percentage points or more in 2016. ... Hillary, who had been blown out by Bernie Sanders in the Wisconsin primary, never set foot in the state," [pp 386, 397].

Clinton apologized to President Obama on election night.

In early May 2017, Clinton took full responsibility for the loss and vowed to become part of the Resistance.

Well, Hillary, welcome to the fight.

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