What Happened—and What Didn’t
When I read Elizabeth Drew’s uncritical endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s claim, in her new book What Happened, that Bernie Sanders’s support was “grudging all the way” throughout the general election [“If Only…,” Nov. 13], I remembered the afternoon of October 4, 2016, when I sat in the upper reaches of the University of Minnesota’s biggest auditorium and heard Sanders give an impassioned speech. He urged his youthful audience not just to vote but “to do everything you can to make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president.” Later that day, Sanders did the same at the university’s Duluth campus. For her part, Clinton never campaigned in the state after getting the nomination and just barely won here. Minnesota might have been another Wisconsin if Sanders hadn’t invigorated younger voters who were notoriously cool to Clinton. She should have thanked him rather than trashed him.
I take issue with the scathing review of What Happened by Elizabeth Drew. I am an avid follower of Hillary Clinton and have admired her work as a public servant for 30-plus years. She had to contend with misogyny as well as a barrage of abuse and accusations when Republicans realized she would be the toughest candidate to beat. I accept most of the analysis in her book. I’m 80 years old, and I probably won’t ever see a woman president—and that upsets me! Stop the autopsy of what she did wrong: Clinton won 3 million more votes than Donald Trump.
There was something in this review that I found troubling, but I could not put my finger on it. I’m reading Clinton’s book now, and although I’m reacting to it more positively than Drew, it wasn’t the difference of opinion. Then it came to me: When Al Gore lost in 2000, we didn’t require him to produce a confessional, even though many people found him stiff and artificial. When Jimmy Carter lost in 1980, no one sat in continuing judgment of the fact that he misread the public mood and brought a harsh tone to his governance. But Clinton is somehow different, and if her words don’t send the right message of insight, guilt, and acceptance, we judge her as we always have.
Elizabeth Drew is calm and reasoned (she has always been nothing but). I just continue to be amazed that we feel the need to sit in judgment of Hillary Clinton.