Shattered: Inside Clinton’s Doomed Campaign

I read it so you won’t have to …


Well, that’s not totally true.

I was swayed by a WSJ reviewer’s conclusion that:

“Shattered” is not a pleasure to read.

The book is also too long.

It’s 400 pages of Clintonian self-aggrandizement, campaign malpractice and passive-aggressive blame-shifting.

More than any ordinary reader can bear.

Since I modestly fashion myself to be just an “ordinary reader”, I just digested a range of book reviews from the New York Times, NPR and the Wall Street Journal.



Here is my collage of takeaways …


Famous last words

Barack Obama reportedly said:

This is too easy, there’s so much material” after delivering a speech praising Clinton’s candidacy and deriding Trump as a malignant nincompoop. WSJ


I am woman. I’m not Trump. Any questions?

Mrs. Clinton had difficulty articulating a rationale for her campaign (other than that she was not Donald Trump).  NYT

Mrs. Clinton didn’t seem to know why she wanted to be president or, at least, wasn’t able to say why.

No one (on the campaign) seemed to have a clear understanding of why Americans should cast their votes for Mrs. Clinton and not someone else.WSJ

She never managed to define herself.

Did she have something she really wanted to say?

Everyone agrees she has plans for every policy problem in the world, but voters want to know what’s inside you.

And they also want to know what’s in it for them. NPR


Governing would be great if it weren’t for the elections
and politics would be great if it weren’t for the people.

“Why aren’t they with me?”

Her extraordinary career prepared her to be president, but not to understand ordinary Americans.NPR


The campaign relied too much on analyzing data and too little on getting the candidate in touch with actual people.

Mrs. Clinton was never interested in what voters want to hear and how they might be persuaded.

You got the feeling she didn’t like people all that much.   WSJ


Fins to the left, fins to the right.

For both sides, Hillary was the perfect symbol of everything that was wrong with America … a corrupt insider who has helped rig the political and economic systems in favor of the powerful.” NPR

Even some of her close friends and advisers think that Clinton’s actions before the campaign (setting up a private email server, becoming entangled in the Clinton Foundation, giving speeches to Wall Street banks) “hamstrung her own chances so badly that she couldn’t recover”.

She could not “cast herself as anything but a lifelong insider when so much of the country had lost faith in its institutions.” NYT

Her struggle to escape her caricature only contributed to it. NPR


Geez, if you can’t run a campaign

“Hillary distributed power so broadly that none of her aides or advisors had control of the whole apparatus.” NPR

Mrs. Clinton herself was inaccessible to almost everyone but Ms. Abedin. WSJ

It was a passive-aggressive campaign that neglected to act on warning flares sent up by operatives on the ground in crucial swing states.

The campaign embraced a flawed strategy (based on flawed data) and failed, repeatedly, to correct course.

The campaign frequently spun its wheels in response to crises and urgent appeals from operatives on both the state and national levels. NYT


The plural of anecdotes is not data.

Mr. Mook’s scientific “model” of how the campaign should run emphasized demographics, constituents’ voting histories, regional electoral patterns, and so on.

When staffers objected to his directives, the response was always the same: “The data run counter to your anecdotes.”

Mook “declined to use pollsters to track voter preferences in the final three weeks of the campaign” and neglected to act on warning flares sent up by Democratic operatives on the ground in crucial swing states. WSJ


Who said I’m paranoid? Get me names.

Mrs. Clinton possesses an almost Nixonian paranoia about treachery.

After losing to Obama in 2008, Clinton was convinced that she had lost because some staffers had been disloyal.

So she “instructed a trusted aide to access the campaign’s server and download all of the [email] messages sent and received by top staffers.” WSJ


Why the infamous server?

She didn’t want anyone reading her emails the way she was reading those of her 2008 staffers. WSJ

Email became the cyber-incubus that the campaign could not shed. NPR


P.S. The Clinton campaign had a billion dollar war chest and outspent Trump by more than 2 to 1.

But, there’s an old marketing adage: Advertising can prolong a bad product, but can’t save it.




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