The air cannon never fired their confetti. The glass ceiling never cracked, figuratively or literally. On election night at the Javits Center in New York, where Hillary Clinton fully expected to become the first female president of the United States, the mood went from wedding to wake.
Less than a month earlier, Clinton had warned in an interview: “I’m the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse.” Her new book, What Happened, is a cathartic attempt to explain to a bewildered world how the “apocalypse” of President Trump came to be.
The memoir has already reopened old wounds among Democrats who insist it is time to look forward, not back, and unite in opposition to Trump. While some welcome Clinton’s attempt to offer an honest postmortem of one of the biggest upsets in American political history, others accuse the 69-year-old of putting her legacy at risk by reigniting a civil war within the party.
Congressman Jared Huffman, a Democrat from California, told Politico that Clinton was publishing her book “maybe at the worst possible time, as we are fighting some of the most high-stakes policy and institutional battles we may ever see, at a time when we’re trying to bring the party together so we can all move the party forward – stronger, stronger together.
“She’s got every right to tell her story. Who am I to say she shouldn’t, or how she should tell it? But it is difficult for some of us, even like myself who’ve supported her, to play out all these media cycles about the blame game and the excuses.”
The 494-page memoir will be published by Simon & Schuster on Tuesday 12 September, the same day Clinton starts a book tour with a signing at Barnes & Noble in Union Square, New York. The four-month roadshow will include, with grim irony, states she neglected and lost during the campaign. It is also said to include London and Cheltenham. Before any of that, excerpts have reached the public domain.
Clinton writes: “I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want but I was the candidate. It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.”