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Shattered: The Book That Explains The Real Reasons Why Hillary Lost

Forget the lie that Donald Trump won the White House because “the Russians hacked the election.”

ShatteredShattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign the just-out book by respected political reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes* tells the truth about how and why sure winner Hillary Clinton went down to a defeat that still has Washington reeling.

I think the premise of the book is summed-up well in this short excerpt from the introduction:

When she conceded to Obama in 2008, she’d thanked voters for putting “18 million cracks” in the glass ceiling of the presidency. By the time she finished the 2016 campaign, she believed, that glass ceiling would lay shattered beneath her feet. And yet what Hillary couldn’t quite see is that no matter how she recast the supporting roles in this production, or emphasized different parts of the script, the main character hadn’t changed.


There’s another insight early in the book in the chapter titled “The Prize and the Pain” that also sums-up why you can forget the Russians as an explanation for why Hillary Clinton lost:

He [Bill Clinton] liked to go to small towns in northern New Hampshire, Appalachia, and rural Florida because he believed, from experience, that going to them and acknowledging he knew how they lived their lives, and the way they made decisions, put points on the board. [Hillary’s campaign manager Robbie] Mook wanted Bill in the places where the most Hillary-inclined voters would see him. That meant talking to white liberals and minorities in cities and there close-in suburbs.

As the results on Election Night would prove, Bill Clinton was right.

What mattered most was not the urban white liberals and minorities that Hillary pandered to so assiduously; it was the votes of the voters in the small towns and rural areas of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina and Florida, who rejected the values of the urban elite, that would prove decisive in the election.

Naturally, what everyone seems to be looking for in the book is the end; a blow-by-blow of Hillary Clinton’s alleged Election Night blow-up and breakdown.

Spoiler alert! Hillary-haters will be somewhat satisfied, but won’t get their full dose of schadenfreude, with the Election Night blow-by-blow because what Shattered reveals is not a detailed timeline of a Hillary Clinton breakdown, but an insightful analysis of how completely out-of-touch Clinton’s campaign brain trust was with the facts on the ground in real America outside the major urban centers where the campaign’s leaders lived and whose values they channeled into the campaign.

This short passage from the Election Night returns from Florida explains it all:

“What the f*** are you taking about?” Anzalone asked. Hillary was on her way to turning out more Sunshine State voters than any previous candidate of either party. Yeah, Trump was winning exurban and rural areas, but surely Democratic hot spots like Miami-Dade and Broward would erase the deficit.

No Schale explained, Trump’s numbers weren’t just big, they were unreal. In rural Polk County, smack-dab in the center of the state, Hillary would collect 3,000 more votes than Obama did in 2012 – but Trump would add more than 25,000 votes to Mitt Romney’s total. In Pasco County, a swath of suburbs north of Tampa – St. Petersburg, Trump outran Romney by 30,000 votes. Pasco was one of the counties Schale was paying special attention to because the Tampa area tended to attract retirees from the Rust Belt – folks whose political leanings reflected those of hometowns in the industrial Midwest. In particular, Schale could tell, heavily white areas were coming in hard for Trump.

For this reviewer, the final, key point of Shattered comes on page 395:

Hillary declined to take responsibility for her own loss. “She’s not particularly self-reflective,” said one longtime ally who was on calls with her shortly after the election. Instead Hillary kept pointing her finger at Comey and Russia. “She wants to make sure all these narratives get spun the right way,” this person said.

And Allen and Parnes then explain exactly how the “Russian hacked the election” narrative was spun-out by the Clinton – Obama network.

Shattered is a great read for political junkies and for those simply interested in learning the truth about the 2016 presidential and how Hillary Clinton lost it. Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes have done a great job weaving the facts and numbers beloved by political junkies into the kind of compelling prose that will hold a reader merely seeking entertainment – pick it up today and help put it on the bestseller list.

*I first met Amie Parnes when she covered Florida politics for Scripp-Howard, she’s a straight shooter, an insightful political analyst and a great writer.

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Hillary lost because she sucks on every level. That pretty well sums her up.