Clinton’s book "What Happened" officially
hit shelves Tuesday. The book was originally slated to
be an essay collection built around her favorite
inspirational quotes, but Clinton pivoted while writing
it and turned it into her assessment of the 2016
presidential election instead.
what’s got people talking:
seven paragraphs into the book’s introduction, Clinton
drops her first mention of Russia’s alleged
involvement in the election. "In this book, I write
about moments from the campaign that I wish I could go
back and do over," she writes. "If the
Russians could hack my subconscious, they’d find a
she revisits the seriousness of the possible Russian
involvement in the election. "The press treated our
warnings about Russia like it was spin we’d cooked up
to distract from embarrassing revelations — a view
actively encouraged by the Trump campaign," she
writes. "As Matt Yglesias of the news site Vox
described it later, most journalists thought the
argument that Moscow was trying to help Trump was ‘outlandish
and borderline absurd,’ and our attempt to raise the
alarm ‘was just too aggressive, self-serving, and a
of course, spends a lot of time writing about the man
she lost the presidential election to, Trump.
"Listening to Trump, it almost felt like there was
no such thing as truth anymore," she writes of his
campaigning, adding that his tactic was to "appeal
to the ugliest impulses of our national character."
had previously been reported, she writes about the
second presidential debate: "Donald Trump was
looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him
brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage,
and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely,
staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly
uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck.
My skin crawled."
his presidency, she asks, "I sometimes wonder: If
you add together his time spent on golf, Twitter, and
cable news, what’s left?"
Wall Street: a mistake
of the 2016 election, Clinton delivered several
six-figure speeches before Wall Street crowds. She was
assailed relentlessly for those speeches by Bernie
Sanders during the primary and Trump during the general
election. "I didn’t think many Americans would
believe that I’d sell a lifetime of principle and
advocacy for any price. When you know why you’re doing
something and you know there’s nothing more to it and
certainly nothing sinister, it’s easy to assume that
others will see it the same way. That was a
mistake," she writes. "I should have realized
it would be bad ‘optics’ and stayed away from
anything having to do with Wall Street. I didn’t. That’s
night of the election, Clinton called Barack Obama.
"My throat tightened. The president said everything
right. He told me I’d run a strong campaign, that I
had done a great deal for our country, that he was proud
of me. He told me there was life after losing and that
he and Michelle would be there for me. I hung up and sat
quietly for a few moments. I was numb. It was all so
shocking. At 2:29 A.M., the AP called Wisconsin and the
election for Donald Trump. He went on TV not long
afterward to declare victory."
Those ‘dumb’ emails
a chapter titled "Those Damn Emails," Clinton
writes that her "dumb" decision to use a
personal email server while secretary of State "got
more coverage than any other issue in the whole race. In
fact, if you had turned on a network newscast in 2016,
you were three times more likely to hear about those
emails than about all the real issues combined,"
she writes, adding, "It was a dumb mistake. But an
even dumber ‘scandal.’ It was like quicksand: the
more you struggle, the deeper you sink."
emails were the subject of an FBI investigation. After
the election, she writes, "it wasn’t healthy or
productive to dwell on the ways I felt I’d been
shivved by then-FBI Director James Comey — three times
over the final five months of the campaign." She
adds, "Comey made a choice to excoriate me in
public in July and then dramatically reopen the
investigation on October 28, all while refusing to say a
word about Trump and Russia. If not for those decisions,
everything would have been different. Comey himself
later said he was ‘mildly nauseous’ at the idea that
he influenced the outcome of the election. Hearing that
made me sick."
has to be said," she writes. "Sexism and
misogyny played a role in the 2016 presidential
election. Exhibit A is that the flagrantly sexist
candidate won. A whole lot of people listened to the
tape of him bragging about sexually assaulting women,
shrugged, and said, ‘He still gets my vote.’"
admits that her record with female voters was mixed: she
got 94 percent of the votes of black women, 68 percent
of the votes of Latino women and 54 percent of women
overall — but she failed to win a majority of white
female voters. "Women’s advancement has set into
motion vast changes that inspire intense feelings of all
kinds," she writes. "Some of us are
exhilarated. Others feel a whole lot of rage."