In a typical year, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign would go down as one of the most startlingly deficient endeavors in political history.
But a postliminary campaign by Clinton allies to shape why the heavily favored and first major party female nominee lost to an eccentric billionaire reality television star is already bending the storyline in their favor through a concerted media offensive meant to undermine the president-elect, his tactics and the ultimate outcome.
The Clinton campaign’s stunning and largely unforeseen loss has only hardened its own resolve to win the post-mortem of how it happened. In the six weeks since the election, her aides have cited white supremacy, FBI Director James Comey, the apparent Russian hacking of campaign emails and a delinquent press corps as primary reasons for Clinton’s loss.
While the messaging has evolved, the motive has becoming strikingly apparent: It’s an unrepentant effort to delegitimize President-elect Donald Trump and absolve Clinton of the lion’s share of electoral liability.
“Their intent to try to rewrite the history books is super obvious,” says Chip Englander, a Chicago-based Republican consultant who ran Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign. “The history books are not written by losers. She lost the election because she broke the law and didn’t bother to campaign in swing states. She’s got nobody to blame but herself.”
Yet even as Monday’s Electoral College vote assured the presidency for Trump, former President Bill Clinton, an elector himself in New York, was still claiming a sort of victory for his wife.
“She fought through everything and she prevailed against it all but, you know, then in the end we had the Russians and the FBI deal. She couldn’t prevail against that. She did everything else and still won by 2.8 million votes,” he told reporters in Albany.