THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED in the 2016 Election. Hillary Clinton, who as the media loves to point out was a “flawed candidate,” as if Donald Trump somehow were not, had the following working against her:
Her own reputation as a liar and a crook, which was nothing short of character assassination by the media, as she was the most truthful candidate on either side during the campaign.
Her opponent’s public persona as a likable, decisive, “alpha male” leader, cultivated entirely from his performance on a scripted TV show, and divorced from reality.
Her husband’s well-advertised taste for lechery, which seemed to negate every heinous sexual assault charge against Donald Trump (“Sure, Trump did X, but Bill did Y, and Hillary stayed with him!”).
A rogue primary opponent whose followers comprised an extremely vocal minority of left-leaning voters; who blamed the extant primary system of the Democratic Party for his loss rather than his own enormous shortcomings; who would not campaign on her behalf with the necessary vigor; and who still attacks her, almost a year after Election Day.
A mainstream print media, most notably the supposedly liberal New York Times, whose negative coverage of her, especially over the email server bit (n.b.: Pence did same thing as Indiana governor, Colin Powell had private server, and Hillary’s server is the only one the Russians didn’t hack!), was, to put it charitably, disproportionate.
A TV news media, if we can call what CNN and Fox’s programming during the campaign “news,” which gave Trump’s Mussolini-esque rallies billions of dollars’ worth of free airtime for the sake of ratings (CBS CEO Len Moonves: Trump “may not be for America, but he’s damned good for CBS.”).
Facebook and Twitter and other social media outfits, which allowed illicit “ads” and “bots,” respectively, to contaminate the feeds to an extent that is not yet fully realized.
Institutionalized sexism, with its insidious double standard, that did its dread work in a race between the most qualified person to ever seek the presidency who happened to be a woman and the very epitome of rich white male mediocrity.
Institutionalized racism, to the extent that Hillary was running under the aegis of Barack Obama—as Ta-Nehisi Coates explains in the Atlantic, “an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white.”
Active voter suppression (speaking of racism!) by Republican legislatures in places like Texas, North Carolina, and oh yes, Wisconsin.
Then-Director of the FBI James Comey releasing his infamous letter re-opening the email case a few days before the election.
An active and ultimately successful operation by Russian intelligence, working in concert with the Trump campaign, to tamper with the election—an op that included manipulation of social media, coordination with Trump’s people on how best to target the attacks, and, probably, actual hacking of machines and tampering with the results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Despite all of these forces working against her, Hillary Clinton received 65,853,516 votes—more than any white male candidate in American history, including Donald Trump, who lost by 2,868,691 votes, which is more than the the total population of New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Vermont and Wyoming.
Despite all of these forces working against her, she lost in the archaic Electoral College by fewer people than can fit in a college football stadium (this assumes that the election returns were legitimate, and not the result of tampering by the Russians).
And still, almost a year after the election, everyone under the sun tries to pin the loss on Hillary. Parasite hacks like Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes blame the campaign. Others suggest Clinton should have visited Wisconsin. Tucker Carlson is still talking about the email “scandal” on Fox, blithely ignoring the fact that the actual president is guilty of far worse. Bernie Sanders won’t cop to his own culpability in the defeat. Susan Sarandon and the Jill Stein crew have moved on. Mark Zuckerberg downplays Facebook’s role while preparing his own presidential run. And Trump uses her still to deflect his coordination with Moscow.
It’s all still, somehow, Hillary’s fault, and hers alone, because…she didn’t go to Wisconsin?
No one blames the manager of the 1919 White Sox for losing the World Series to the Reds, because we know the games were rigged. And yet still we pillory Hillary.
In the not-too-distant future, when the full extent of Russian voter contamination becomes undeniable, Hillary Clinton will not be given a White House that was rightly hers. I hope that she at least gets an apology. But I’m not holding my breath.