“Shattered” is the inside story of how Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump.
During the campaign for the presidency, authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, who were sympathetic to Hillary Clinton, were allowed to go behind the scenes to interview the people running her campaign in order to produce a documentary. They promised to not write anything about what they heard until after the election and that most of the comments would be unattributed. It seems likely (though not mentioned anywhere) that the working title of this book was “The Glass Ceiling Shattered” and was shortened after the Clinton defeat.
Having said that, the book is surprisingly objective. They covered the ongoing battle between the new wave of professional political gurus, who relied on analytics, and the old school folks, who still used more customary polling. The new wave won and decisions were made their way, according to the authors, to the detriment of the campaign. In another battle over strategy, Bill Clinton wanted the campaign to go after people who were skeptical of Hillary and win them over to her side. The new wave instead wanted to focus on getting those who supported Hillary to translate that support into votes. The new wave won and Hillary did not leave the cities where her core support was and so did not campaign in the countryside. As it turned out, this was a strategic blunder. Many other battles took place in the campaign and are well illustrated in this book.
According to the authors, Hillary and her campaign never established a powerful statement of why she should be President. The authors suggest that she herself really did not know why she was running for President other than her being a women and some vague notion that it was her turn. In contrast, like it or not, Trump presented a clear message of who he was and why he wanted to be President. When the campaign experienced failures, her reaction was to severely blame the leaders of her campaign instead herself. Furthermore, her staffers were afraid to honestly criticize Hillary for fear of being demoted or terminated.
Readers who followed the campaign closely will find this book to be of great interest as it gives a lively account of what was happening on the inside. But the authors fail to describe the campaign leaders’ reactions to such crucial moments in the campaign, such as when Hillary went to meet with the FBI over her emails or when it was discovered that Donna Brazil had given Hillary some questions for her debate with Bernie Sanders or when Bill Clinton visited Loretta Lynch.
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