Unlike what happened in 2008 when the world gleefully claimed Barack Obama’s triumph as theirs, the mood around the world after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election is steeped in shock. Even the markets responded by falling on their bottoms while traders watched with their heads in their hands. As for Clinton and millions of her supporters, the question is what the heck just happened?
But some people have an answer to that. Their answer is in the form of another question: Why did Hillary Clinton run for president?
She ran because she could, that’s why.
Hillary had no platform to run on. Apart from claiming the title of the first woman nominated for president by a major political party, there’s nothing else. Anyone who campaigned for her only hailed her as the One to continue what Barack Obama started. But wait, that’s it?
What if Obama wasn’t the current president? What if Obama didn’t have this respectable approval rating right now? What would Hillary Clinton stand for?
Donald Trump had a platform. You could shorten it to one word: Xenophobia.
But Hillary? Nah. Nothing. Just a good old lady who’d been prepping all her life to be president. Every school she went, every job she took, even the man she married, everything was part of the algorithm meant to lead her to the White House. She checked all the right boxes: raise a boatload of cash, rehearse your brains out, win the debates or let the media declare you a winner on technicalities, build a solid address book with direct lines to the most influential politicians in the world. Be a First Lady, a Senator, a Secretary of State. Say all the predictable, politically-correct but largely empty things. Wait to be sworn in.
And this is why some people hated her. Or merely tolerated her.
This woman stood for nothing strong enough to defeat the whirlwind that was Donald Trump. It’s just unfortunate that now, she won’t be the one to suffer what’s coming next. She can afford to relocate is she wants, or better, spend nine months every year in warm climates. But the African Americans, the Latinos, the Muslims, the Gays, the Physically Challenged, the Media, those are the people to bear the consequences of Hillary’s self-centredness.
But she’s not alone. There’s enough blame to go round.
The Media did this.
The Pollsters did this.
The Greedy Establishment Politicians did this.
The Lobbyists did this.
This is not to say that Hillary is not an amazing, fascinating, intelligent, hard working, America-loving woman. She absolutely is. She’s worked with minorities for years and has become one of the most influential role models for American girls.
She was the most qualified person, speaking of years of studying the US democracy and power structure, to run for office. Also, she won the popular vote.
But this wasn’t enough. If she was really popular and on message, as Obama was in ’08 and 2012, she would have won both the popular vote and electoral college. Now, maybe Hillary Clinton will become the most effective critic of the president-elect. Maybe she’ll discover a useful consumer insight and run again with a stronger marketing idea.
In the meantime, here’s her concession speech:
Above all, it’s likely that Donald Trump won’t do all he threatened to do. He probably won’t have the power to swing those things — not without repeatedly amending the constitution. But we should learn this from the guy: He knows his audience.
America still has a white majority. For years, Trump researched what those people wanted. He playfully tested the waters to gauge how much disruption they would be willing to stomach. Then he unleashed himself.
Yes, only a billionaire with no one jerking his chains could have pulled off what Trump just did but still. It’s a beauty to behold.
America deserves the president it has elected. It’s just that this upheaval might not have happened if someone other than Hillary Clinton were on the other side.