Kathryn Cross| Wellesley College
Clinton stated that Oct. 28 was the true turning point for her election. On that fateful day, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey released a letter, informing Congress that he would be reopening an investigation into Clinton’s private e-mail server. Despite a clear analysis of the entire election and evidence for Clinton’s main points, the 2016 Presidential Democratic candidate is facing criticism from both liberals and conservatives.
USA TODAY’s William Cummings wrote that Clinton is eliminating herself from her own narrative, resisting culpability completely. Likewise, the New Republic’s Sarah Jones wrote that Clinton presents a complete lack of awareness seeing as she does not claim responsibility at all.
Nonetheless, Clinton cannot be blamed for citing political circumstances, racism, and sexism as some reasons behind why she lost. After all, The New York Times illustrated that her particular “no non-incumbent Democrat has succeeded a two-term Democratic president since 1836, and 2016 was a year when voters were planning for a change. Bigly.”
So, political circumstances were clearly not in Clinton’s favor. In addition, citing racism as one of the reasons behind Trump’s victory is an unequivocally valid claim as well.
As evidenced by the Charlottesville racism-induced violence, racism is still extremely prevalent throughout the United States. Trump, being a white male, undoubtedly gained the support of racist, sexist Americans who were ready to be the face of a reactionary movement after a Black president.
Furthermore, Clinton does not solely blame external factors for her loss. For instance, she takes responsibility for the potential damage that could have ensued after March 13, when she said that she was going to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” She says that her own statement--which was made at a CNN town hall--was the opposite of what she actually wanted to do: create jobs within the coal mining industry.
Clinton even takes responsibility for something as minute as the infamous photo that was taken of her on Aug. 15, 2015, where she was eating a pork chop at the Iowa State fair. Although she did not necessarily do anything wrong, Clinton sees how her actions affected her image. Even Amazon recognized that some of What Happened’s criticism was unjustified. Within the first 24 hours of the book’s release, Amazon reviewers began to notice that of approximately 1500 reviews, only 338 came from verified purchasers. According to the book’s publisher, Jonathan Karp of Simon & Schuster, it is very unlikely that 1500 people in total had completed the book and formed opinions on it so quickly. Amazon additionally made a statement saying that whenever there are excessive reviews posted in such a small period, non-Amazon verified purchasers’ reviews will be restricted. Consequently, Amazon removed some of the non-verified reviews, leaving 581--95% of which rated the book with five stars.
Clinton may have made some mistakes throughout her campaign and the entire 2016 presidential election as a whole, but her new autobiography should not be seen as another one. The points that she makes throughout her book are justified, and it is a book that is meant to give the readers a window into Clinton’s thoughts. It is not an objective piece, so it should not be evaluated and analyzed as such.