It's been seven months since Hillary Clinton lost the race for the White House to Donald Trump. And as the former Democratic Party presidential nominee has slowly grown comfortable publicly rolling out a line like, "I take responsibility for every decision I make — but that's not why I lost" to Trump, even her most ardent supporters have grown just as publicly tired of her statements.
Based on a conversation at a conference sponsored by Recode this week, it is clear that Clinton has spent plenty of time analyzing the myriad issues that ultimately lost her a second bid for the White House. Casually mentioning “bots that are just out of control” and suggesting that Russian hackers were aided by U.S. citizens, Clinton got as honest about her campaign as she's ever been — drawing accusations of deflection from her fellow Democrats.
"I get the nomination. So I'm now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party," Clinton said Wednesday, describing the state of the DNC data operation as "mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong." in early 2016. "I mean, it was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it."
Clinton has said that if the election had been on October 27 — the day before FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to members of Congress about her use of an email server — she would have won.
Her stunning rebuke this week of the DNC surprised and unsettled some of her allies and former aides, some of whom have publicly complained that Clinton risks alienating Democrats focused on resisting the Trump administration and regaining control of at least one chamber of Congress in 2018.
“I love Hillary. I think she was very prepared to be president of the United States,” Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken told Yahoo’s Katie Couric on Thursday. “And I think she has a right to analyze what happened, but we do have to move on. And we have to move on by proving we are the party that cares about a lot of the people who voted for Donald Trump.”
Franken added that Democrats need to work on formulating a message and reach out to individual voters.
“We are the ones fighting for people — for average, working people,” he said. “There are a lot of Minnesotans who are Franken-Trump voters. You have to go and talk to them, and you have to listen. That’s what we need to do. We need to listen.”
The Washington Post noted that Clinton's response was a sore spot for ex-DNC officials. Former data operations chief Andrew Therriualt ripped Clinton in a series of now-deleted tweets.
One former Clinton adviser who remained unnamed but who CNN reported has been in touch with Clinton since Election Day said that her recent comments are evidence that the former secretary of state is still predominantly preoccupied with “her legacy.”
The ex-adviser said, "She doesn't want to be the person that lost Donald Trump. It's one thing to lose to Barack Obama. It's entirely a different thing to lose to Donald Trump."
Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager apparently had no qualms about airing her frustration with her former boss’ recent comments.
But fretting over Clinton's every public utterance, insisting she stop talking and step aside in order for Democrats to resist Trump or “move on” is its own self-serving diversion, an opportunity to target frustration and regret over the election. Like any losing candidate, Clinton doesn’t have to disappear from the public sphere for her supporters to fight the next fight. Focusing on her adaptation to private life is no more a strategy for winning future elections than her perhaps misguided analysis of the last one.