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Rebecca Solnit on what it took to beat Clinton


Author Rebecca Solnit has some clear insight about what it took to beat Clinton. In short, voter suppression, the decade-long positive framing of a xenophobe by reality TV, persisting misogyny, Comey’s letter, and more. Solnit also comments a bit on Trump’s remarkable transmogrification from a billionaire so rich and “elite” as out of touch with reality to an anti-establishment, white working class hero. Personally, I’ve never made sense of the idea that the first woman nominated as presidential candidate by a major political party is somehow pro-establishment while her millionaire-born rival is somehow anti-establishment. Read Solnit in partial below, in full via the Guardian.

Sometimes I think I have never seen anything as strong as Hillary Clinton. That doesn’t mean that I like and admire everything about her. I’m not here to argue about who she is, just to note what she did. I watched her plow through opposition and attacks the like of which no other candidate has ever faced and still win the popular vote. To defeat her it took an unholy cabal far beyond what Barack Obama faced when he was the campaign of change, swimming with the tide of disgust about the Bush administration. As the New York Times reported, “By the time all the ballots are counted, she seems likely to be ahead by more than 2m votes and more than 1.5 percentage points. She will have won by a wider percentage margin than not only Al Gore in 2000 but also Richard Nixon in 1968 and John F Kennedy in 1960.”

You can flip that and see that Trump was such a weak candidate it took decades of scheming and an extraordinary international roster of powerful players to lay the groundwork that made his election possible. Defeating Clinton in the electoral college took the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act by Republican appointees to the supreme court. It took vast Republican voter suppression laws and tactics set in place over many years. It took voter intimidation at many polling places. It took the long Republican campaign to blow up the boring bureaucratic irregularity of Clinton’s use of a private email server into a scandal that the media obediently picked up and reheated.

It’s impossible to disconnect the seething, irrational emotionality from misogyny, and the misogyny continues. Since election night, I’ve been hearing too many men of the left go on and on about how Clinton was a weak candidate. I’ve wondered about that word weak, not only because it is so often associated with women, but because what they’re calling her weakness was their refusal to support her.