Hillary Rodham Clinton’s shocking loss to Donald J. Trump in the 2016 presidential election can be laid at the feet of many culprits.
Clinton has chosen to single out, though, the director of the FBI. James Comey’s letter to Congress just 11 days before Election Day informing lawmakers that he had more information to examine regarding those “damn e-mails” stole the Clinton campaign’s “momentum,” she said. By the time Comey said nine days later that the information wouldn’t result in any further action, the damage had been done, Clinton told campaign donors.
Let’s hold on a second.
I don’t doubt that Comey’s 11th-hour intervention had some effect on the campaign outcome. However, I believe a bit more introspection is required of the defeated candidate before we start writing the final history of what no doubt will be logged in as the strangest presidential campaign in U.S. history.
Hillary Clinton should have iced this campaign long before the Comey letter became known.
Think about a few factors here … and bear with me.
Clinton is eminently qualified to become president of the United States: former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state. Boom! Right there, she has a dossier that commends her for the top job. Trump is not qualified: reality TV celebrity, commercial real estate developer, thrice-married rich guy with zero public service commitment on his lengthy record in private business. The endless litany of insults and hideous proclamations that poured out of Trump’s mouth throughout the campaign are too numerous to mention. You know what he said. It didn’t matter to the Trumpkins who backed him to the hilt.
It is true that Clinton’s enemies made a huge story out of something that had been declared dead and buried — the e-mail controversy — which gave life to the corpse near the end of an insult-driven campaign.
Clinton’s qualifications, her knowledge of world affairs and her contacts around the globe made her an excellent — if not perfect — choice to lead the greatest nation on Earth. Many observers — me included — considered it possible that Clinton would roll up a historic election victory that could have eclipsed, say, the Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan landslides of 1964, 1972 and 1984, respectively.
If only, though, she could have demonstrated some innate quality of authenticity that could have fired up her base. She didn’t. Clinton was unable to light the fire that burned brightly when Barack Obama ran twice successfully for the presidency.
She was a flawed candidate who brought much more to the table than she was able — or perhaps willing — to reveal.
Comey did his part, for sure, to run the Clinton campaign over the cliff. The FBI boss wasn’t the sole reason. The candidate herself deserves much –indeed most — of the blame for what transpired on Election Day.