On Thursday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, held a conference call with devastated staffers that put the rosiest possible frame on a calamitous picture.
The message to the dozens of mostly young, sleep-deprived and shell-shocked aides: We did everything we could have. We wouldn’t have changed a thing. You should still be proud.
Inside the Democratic National Committee headquarters, which sits half a mile south of the U.S. Capitol, eyes rolled and heads shook in frustration and disbelief.
Clinton’s loss at the hands of Donald Trump amounted to the most surprising outcome in the history of modern electoral politics. Of course things could’ve been done differently. And ignoring that fact wasn’t going to make the searing defeat any easier.
“We are pissed at them and state parties are pissed at them because they lost due to arrogance,” a top DNC staffer tells U.S. News, sharing the candid sentiment suffusing the high levels of the committee in exchange for anonymity.
It’s no surprise that the hierarchy of the Clinton campaign leadership was insular and self-assured. But DNC staffers say the team’s presumptuous, know-it-all attitude caused it to ignore early warning signs of electoral trouble inside the states, and demoralized DNC staff who felt largely marginalized or altogether neglected for most of the campaign.