Shattered | Jonathan Allen

Summary of: Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign
By: Jonathan Allen


Embark on a riveting journey through the tumultuous events of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign with ‘Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign’ by Jonathan Allen. Delve into the intricate details surrounding her high-profile run, exploring key struggles such as the lack of a strong narrative, a campaign mired in infighting, and the numerous scandals that haunted her throughout. Discover Clinton’s unexpected challenges from Bernie Sanders, the damaging effects of the FBI investigation, and her own missteps that contributed to her ultimate loss. Find out how Clinton’s meticulously planned strategies failed to resonate with voters and the critical turning points that changed the course of a seemingly certain Democratic victory.

Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Pitfalls

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign lacked a strong narrative and memorable message. Despite her experience and support, her campaign failed to shake off the perception that she felt entitled to the presidency. Clinton’s first campaign speech, written by at least five different people, felt contrived and confused. The Democrats’ Blue Wall and broad network of supporters were not enough to secure the necessary electoral votes to take the White House. Successful candidates must put forward a clear and compelling message that tells voters why they are running for office.

Clinton’s Email Scandal

Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server during her tenure as Secretary of State caused a criminal investigation that haunted her presidential campaign. In 2015, a congressional committee released a report revealing that she had not been using her government email account for official business. The FBI stepped in and found classified information on her personal account, but no charges were pressed. The email drama persisted when the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman had their accounts hacked and leaked, connecting the events to the FBI investigation and Clinton’s potential guilt.

Clinton vs. Sanders

In the 2016 US presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton faced a greater challenge from Bernie Sanders, a 72-year-old senator from Vermont, than negative press regarding her email security. Sanders represented a strong anti-establishment sentiment rising in the US, with concrete policies that moved voters. Clinton underestimated the momentum of this movement and viewed Sanders’ proposals as unrealistic and “socialist.” However, he put her campaign in a difficult position with his ardent stance against corruption and injustice of all forms, making it impossible to criticize him without losing votes. Clinton couldn’t attack Sanders due to his likability, but couldn’t criticize his policies without alienating Obama voters. Sanders’ campaign was a reflection of an increasing shift in American politics towards non-establishment figures, in the same way that Donald Trump appealed to many.

The Infighting that Led to Clinton’s Defeat

As Hillary Clinton aimed for the presidency in 2016, she was determined to use analytics to secure delegates. However, her team’s infighting and thirst for personal gain was reminiscent of her 2008 campaign and ended up contributing to her defeat. This toxic environment was exemplified in the power struggles between campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chairman John Podesta, who had differing beliefs on traditional politics versus data-driven analysis. This infighting was also perpetuated by two other groups within the campaign, further adding to the confusion of who was in charge. Clinton attempted to bypass these issues by creating the “Super Six” team, but their leaders continued to guard their intelligence, leading to problems such as not disclosing Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis. As a result, Trump seized on this opportunity and accused Clinton of being unfit for the job. Clinton’s failure to address the toxic culture within her campaign ultimately played a role in her defeat.

Clinton Campaign: Data vs. Message

The book explains how the Clinton campaign’s focus on data analysis and efficient budgeting, led by campaign manager Robby Mook, ultimately hindered their success by detracting from the crucial task of crafting a compelling message. Mook’s approach ignored the importance of connecting with voters who were not already inclined to support Clinton, resulting in weak slogans and reinforcing a negative narrative. Despite calls for more personal engagement, Mook relied heavily on data, resulting in a lack of volunteers going door-to-door to clarify Clinton’s message. While delegate counts initially showed success, the campaign ultimately failed to connect with voters on a personal level, ultimately contributing to Clinton’s loss.

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