Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Hillary Was Who They Said She Was

Like 50,000,000+ other Americans, I am shocked and dismayed, and greatly fear the future. That's never happened after an election in my lifetime. When Bush defeated Kerry in 2004, I thought plenty of people were nuts. But I didn't fear for my country that way I do now. Maybe Trump will prove us all wrong. Maybe he won't run the country the way he ran his businesses, bankrupting them while enriching himself, maybe all the racist and sexist talk and behavior was only hot air aimed at making a billionaire more relatable to the common man, maybe...

But we all know who Trump is. We've been saying it all along. The surprise is finding out who Hillary really was.

Last night, Hillary supporters gathered in the Javits center were crying and stunned by the bad, unthinkable news that kept rolling in. They'd come expecting victory, instead, they faced their worst nightmare. Whether you believe the dire apocalyptic scenarios put forward by many political writers or not, there's no denying that at a certain point in the evening, for Hillary supporters, it felt like the end of the world.

And at that moment, she sent John Podesta to speak to the crowd, and tell them to go home.

Which would have been fine... I guess... If she and her campaign really were going to wait until every last vote was counted. Kerry, in 2004, waited until the next day too. Of course, we know what happened in 2000 as well.

But a heartbeat later, before the Javits center could even fully clear out, Hillary conceded to Trump in a private phone call. She didn't speak to her supporters. She didn't speak to a worried, fractured nation or a frightened world. She went to bed.

Bernie supporters tried to warn us from the beginning. They claimed she'd lost touch with the people, that she didn't feel our pain. The Bernie Bros that I dismissed as deluded about their candidate's electoral chances were right. This election came down to who was more passionate about the country, who cared about fixing its problems. Hillary, to be charitable, played it safe, choosing a message that to stay the course, with slight corrections, was the more prudent way forward. I still believe she was right... But that doesn't matter. The message was all wrong--it failed to connect with the people she needed to win. As it turned out, her temperament, calm, above-the-fray, unmoved... was the problem.

It had nothing to do with the emails.

And at our darkest hour, Hillary proved her critics right. She took thousands from the likes of Goldman Sachs to give inspirational speeches, but the speech she needed to give, one she'd been paid millions for by the American people, she refused.

John Podesta... John friggin Podesta... told us to go to bed instead.

Hillary abandoned us, abandoned the party, abandoned the country at a time when we needed her to say everything would be okay, that progressive ideals aren't dead, that the fight will go on, renewed and reinvigorated. She needed to tell us this is day one of building New Democratic engines in our communities, so that a million young, engaged, and idealistic Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warrens, and Hillary Clintons emerge to save this country from its worst impulses.

Maybe we should have paid her more.

Losing last night was a tragedy--the extent of it is yet to be seen. It could have been redeemed somewhat by a triumphant call to return to the principles that made our country the shining city on a hill, the beacon of light and freedom to the world.

Hillary was silent. I hope and pray we don't follow her example.

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