While Hillary Clinton has said she takes “absolute personal responsibility” for losing the presidential election, she often also tends to blame everyone but herself. Clinton has blamed Russia, donors, the FBI, sexism, her own party – she’s blamed so many people and things not named Hillary that it’s really hard to keep up.
Her latest target? Bernie Sanders.
In her new book “What Happened,” Clinton says Sanders’ campaign attacks on her did “lasting damage” to her campaign and contributed to her defeat. Clinton said it was a shame that during the Democratic primaries, Sanders “had to resort to innuendo and impugning my character” because the two candidates “agreed on so much.”
Perhaps. Or maybe it could just be the fact that Americans just really don’t like Hillary Clinton?
As Donald Trump continues to be unpopular with a majority of Americans (which was also true before the election – he and Clinton broke records with their unfavorable numbers), it’s not hard to make the case that a Democrat like Joe Biden, or perhaps even self-described socialist Sanders, might have been more formidable against Trump. They could have even won.
In August 2016, the Washington Post reported on Hillary Clinton’s poor favorability numbers, “Clinton’s numbers serve as a reminder that Trump’s unpopularity isn’t prohibitive, largely because Americans — and specifically registered voters — don’t much like Clinton either.”
Furthermore, “If it weren’t for Trump, in fact, Clinton would be the most unpopular major-party presidential nominee in modern American history.”
That’s some title.
Fast forward a year, to July 2017, where Emily Peck wrote at The Huffington Post:
Hillary Clinton is even less popular now than when she was running for president.
Just 39 percent of Americans view Clinton favorably, according to a Bloomberg national poll conducted last week and released on Monday. A year ago, when Clinton was the presumptive Democratic nominee, her favorability was at 43 percent. The former secretary of state is viewed slightly more negatively than President Donald Trump, who has historically low poll numbers for a president this early in his administration.
More than policy, or ideas, or any substantive issue, usually, most elections are won or lost because a majority of voters simply likes one candidate more than the other. It really is that basic. Could Sanders have put a dent in Clinton’s progressive base? Sure. But the Republican field was arguably even more chaotic and yet Trump still won. There are obviously many moving parts and factors in any election.
But likability has always been a big one. That’s the kind of basic fact Hillary Clinton would rather not face: That as bad as anyone thinks Donald Trump is, Americans on one important day in November still liked him more than her.
That would probably irritate the hell out of me too, but that’s “What Happened.”