Posted by: maboulette | April 17, 2017

She’s Back, And There Is No Sour Grapes in Her Garden


Young women who weren’t excited about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy are energized by her loss in ways they probably never could have imagined. They’re showing up at town halls, signing up for candidate training, and joining activist groups. And it’s not only millennial women waking up and fueling the resistance. Women across the spectrum—schoolteachers, nurses, IT workers—are turning up the political heat, and Clinton is taking notice.


“There’s a realization that when she speaks, she speaks for the majority of the country,” a former aide told The Daily Beast. “It’s a platform we’ve never had,” the aide enthused, until reminded about Al Gore’s popular vote margin in the 2000 election.


Gore garnered 540,000 more votes than George W. Bush in an election that turned on faulty ballots in Florida and was settled by the Supreme Court in Bush’s favor. Gore didn’t hang around to see if anyone wanted to hear from him. He grew a beard and gave up on national politics.


Clinton spent some time walking in the woods, but she’s not a dreamer and she’s not a wounded loner. She’s a practical woman determined to figure out how she can use the platform that she gained by winning almost 3 million votes more than Donald Trump in the November election.


“For activists and voters around the country, she’s a reminder the country wanted something different, something better. It’s a powerful juxtaposition,” says the former aide, who did not want to be identified getting too far out front of where the ever-cautious Clinton is in her thinking.


Clinton is charting this next chapter in her life like any other campaign. There will be a book in the fall that draws on her favorite quotes over a lifetime for a series of essays that she said in a statement are “the words I live by.” One chapter will be about why she lost and could be titled, “From Russia with Misogyny.”


Her calendar is filling up with speeches before audiences sure to greet her like a conquering hero. Next week, she’ll be at an LGBT Community Center in New York City. Next month, she’ll keynote a Planned Parenthood gala and the Children’s Health Fund annual benefit in New York City. On May 26, she’ll give the commencement speech at her alma mater, Wellesley College.


“For whatever other questions voters may have had about her, Americans generally viewed her as smart and right on the issues. And she has an important ability to focus people’s attention and shine a spotlight on the deficiencies in Donald Trump’s approach to things,” said Democratic pollster Geoff Garin.


Clinton’s popular vote margin lends her credibility that she wouldn’t otherwise have, but losing candidates have to be careful when they weigh in that they don’t sound like sour grapes, Garin continued. He gave her high marks for speaking out earlier this month at a Women in the World event in New York City, when she assured the audience, “as a person, I’m OK” after her searing loss, but, “as an American, I’m pretty worried” about the occupant in the White House.

“She helps both raise alarm bells and put things in perspective for people,” he said.


A lot of the country loves her, but there are parts that hate her with such visceral emotion that there’s a danger she could over-interpret the positive reaction she gets from friendly audiences. “Her numbers haven’t really recovered yet,” said Garin. “It’s too soon, way too soon. It was a very polarized election.”


The growing protest movement that has gotten Clinton’s attention isn’t about her, and finding ways to be helpful is her challenge. Leaders will emerge organically, and Clinton’s role is more cheerleader than leader. Trump is the catalyst.


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