Hillary Clinton’s memoir, What Happened, will not be released until September 12, but a page of it has leaked on Twitter. The page was leaked one day after Clinton formally endorsed a new media outlet, Verrit, which was founded by her supporter and former staffer, Peter Daou, and attributes Clinton’s loss to Sanders and the media.
“Jake Sullivan, my top policy advisor, told me it reminded him of a scene from the 1998 movie There’s Something About Mary. A deranged hitchhiker says he’s come up with a brilliant plan. Instead of the famous ‘eight-minute abs’ exercise routine, he’s going to market ‘seven minute abs.’ It’s the same just quicker. Then the driver, played by Ben Stiller, says, ‘Well, why not six minute abs?’ That’s what it was like in policy debates with Bernie. We would propose a bold infrastructure investment plan or an ambitious new apprenticeship program for young people, and then Bernie would announce basically the same thing, but bigger. On issue after issue, it was like he kept proposing four-minute abs, or no minute abs. Magic abs! Someone sent me a Facebook post that summed up the dynamic in which were caught:
Bernie : I think America should get a pony.
Hillary: How will you pay for the pony? Where will the pony come from? How will you get Congress to agree to the pony?
Bernie: Hillary thinks America doesn’t deserve a pony.
Hillary: Actually, I love ponies.
Bernie Supporters: She changed her position on ponies! #WhichHillary #WitchHillary”
In another page leaked from her new book, Clinton writes, “I am proud to be a Democrat and I wish Bernie were, too” and blamed Sanders for paving the way for Donald Trump’s “Crooked Hillary Campaign.” She also called Bernie Sanders’ policy proposals “little more than a pipe dream.”
Clinton attempts to reduce the legitimacy of Bernie Sanders and his supporters by portraying them as unrealistic idealists, a strategy she honed in the primaries. For example, she claimed single-payer will “never, ever come to pass” even though its popularity has soared in the last year. The differences between Sanders’ and Clinton’s campaigns were not nuances established by Sanders to undercut Clinton, nor did Sanders fail to address how he would accomplish his policy proposals.
Though it has yet to be released, it’s clear that in What Happened Clinton will try to rewrite the history of the election and pin her loss to Donald Trump on Bernie Sanders. By continuing to reduce his candidacy, Clinton avoids admitting that Bernie Sanders was a viable candidate who developed a progressive platform that exposed the flaws, shortcomings, and concessions to special interests in her own policies. Sanders excited and encouraged the activist and progressive wings of the Democratic Party while Clinton condescendingly reduced their criticisms, similar to how she did in the leaked passage from her book. Mocking voters by calling them “pony” obsessed children, basement dwelling millennials, or deplorables was political suicide and revealed Clinton’s sense of entitlement. Clinton believed her election was a sealed deal; that’s why she didn’t campaign in swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin that ultimately decided the election.