National Press Club

Authors tell Rap Clinton campaign was ‘Shattered’ regardless of outcome

May 22, 2017 | By Joseph Luchok |

Co-authors Jonathan Allen (left) and Amie Parnes (middle) discuss their book, "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign." NPC president Jeff Ballou (right) moderated.

Co-authors Jonathan Allen (left) and Amie Parnes (middle) discuss their book, "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign." NPC president Jeff Ballou (right) moderated.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

The title of the book detailing the history of the campaign for president by a former First Lady, senator and Secretary of State was going be "Shattered" whether Hillary Rodham Clinton won or lost, Amie Parnes told a sold-out National Press Club Book Rap May 18.

Parnes and her co-author, Jonathan Allen, said their title worked either way -- If Clinton won it would be that she shattered the glass ceiling and if (when) she lost it was a shattered campaign. The complete title of the book is "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign."

The authors interviewed more than 100 people who worked on Clinton’s run throughout it and after the election. They said they would not report anything until after the vote. After the election people they had not previously interviewed “came out of woodwork,” they said.

Though their book may seem hard on the campaign, the goal was to create a history of it, they said. They believe the book attempts to show Clinton’s humanity.

A major problem with the Clinton drive was there was “no big idea,” they said. She made no case for herself, instead she focused on trying to disqualify her opponents –- Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, in the primaries, and businessman Donald Trump, the Republican nominee during the general election.

The lack of a big idea meant voters had no reason to support her. Sanders and Trump had enthusiastic supporters while Clinton did not. Clinton understood she was not reaching voters but she never figured out how to solve the problem, they said.

Clinton believes you make changes within the system so she was frustrated by what she saw during the campaign since it clashed with her view of an electorate that seemed to be yearning for an overhaul of the system.

The authors were asked if misogyny played a role in Clinton’s loss. They responded that it probably played a role as Pennsylvania has never elected a woman senator or governor, and Wisconsin has only elected one woman senator. Wins in both states were critical to Trump’s eventual Electoral College victory.

The millennial women –- generally those under 30 -- that supported Clinton did not do so because she is a woman and would have been the first female president, Parnes said. This surprised Parnes, she said, adding, millennial women felt there would be a woman president in their lifetime so they saw no reason to support Clinton just because she was a woman.

Throughout the campaign there were constant discussions of “what to do with Bill,” the authors said referring to the former president and Clinton’s husband.

Bill Clinton can “get away with a lot but a lot sticks to Hillary,” they said. In other words, whatever negatives occurred would stick to Hillary, dragging her down. They also said that Bill wanted the campaign to move toward the middle and go after voters outside the party base, something the campaign never did.

The Book Rap was moderated by NPC President Jeff Ballou.