“Mr. President, I’m sorry.”
That is just one of the fraught election night phone calls that mark the climax of the new book Shattered, described as an autopsy of Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign.
President Donald Trump’s victory came as a shock to much of the world. But it would seem just as shocking that the Clinton campaign, with all its pollsters and data and to-the-minute reporting, was caught off guard as well.
According to Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, that is exactly what happened.
The Clintons were confident. There was no concession speech, no plan B. The Democratic Party was so stunned by the defeat that it took not one but three phone calls from the White House to coax out a concession.
Journalists Allen and Parnes followed Hillary Clinton’s campaign for a year and a half, reporting on the ins and outs of what was once thought to be the unstoppable push to the presidency. Now, in the aftermath of the loss and the tumultuous months since President Trump’s ascendancy, Allen and Parnes have published an insider look at the years and months leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
They say that hindsight is 20/20, and that seems to be the through line of the Shattered narrative. The book sheds light on signs of trouble that arose months before the big day. Interviews from campaign staff and Clinton camp insiders reveal a dysfunctional state of affairs that pursued flawed tactics and ignored key members of the Democratic party base.
To be sure, President Trump was a new kind of opponent. He was, and still is, a game-changer in American politics. But Shattered indicates that many of Clinton’s challenges came from within — a campaign that refused to adapt to the shifting tides.
Shattered is the first major 2016 tell-all to hit bookstore shelves, and it is sure to benefit from its punctuality. It will not be the last. It remains to be seen if it will be among the best. Regardless, it’s a welcome entry for insider-info-starved fans of Game Change and Double Down.