It's been more than six months since Hillary Clinton lost her bid to become the United States' first female president. Clinton has taken time to reflect and recharge privately. She's re-emerged with speeches and appearances that prove she's not yet done with public life. And now, in a new profile by Rebecca Traister at New York Magazine, she's opening up what she really thinks of everything that went down last autumn.
We've heard some of this before. During an interview with Christiane Amanpour at the Women for Women International gala in New York City earlier this month, Clinton famously paraphrased FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver research into the impact the letter former FBI Director James Comey released on October 28, 2016, saying, "If the election had been on October 27, I'd be your president."
In the New York Magazine profile, Clinton opened up about the election and the role sexism played in its outcome with refreshing candor. Here are some of the highlights:
On how outside factors impacted the election outcome:
"What I was doing was working. I would have won had I not been subjected to the unprecedented attacks by Comey and the Russians, aided and abetted by the suppression of the vote, particularly in Wisconsin."
On looking at the geography of people who googled her WikiLeaks scandal leading up to the election:
"They were from a lot of places where people were trying to make up their minds. Like, 'Oh my God, I kinda like her, I don't like him, but she might go to jail. And then what about all this other stuff?' It was just such a dump of cognitive dissonance....I have a lot of sympathy for voters in a lot of places I didn't win, because I can see how hard it was."
On how she felt right after the election:
"This was a crushing, devastating blow. I just thought we had to get through this with a level of dignity and integrity, and there'd be plenty of time to try to figure out what went wrong and what we could have done differently, but for that moment we just had to stick to the ritualistic process: Okay, when I was sure, I have to call Trump. I want to call Obama. And then I have to figure out what I'm gonna do the next day … I had to get through that before I could go, 'What the hell just happened?' and be angry and upset. And be disappointed and feel I let people down and feel everything that I felt."
On what she was thinking during Trump's inauguration speech:
"It was a really painful cry to his hard-core supporters that he wasn't changing. The 'carnage' in our country? It was a very disturbing moment. I caught Michelle Obama's eye, like, What is going on here? I was sitting next to George and Laura Bush, and we have our political differences, but this was beyond any experience any of us had ever had."
On facing sexism when she decided to run for president:
"Once I moved from serving someone — a man, the president — to seeking that job on my own, I was once again vulnerable to the barrage of innuendo and negativity and attacks that come with the territory of a woman who is striving to go further."
On that uncomfortable second debate with Donald Trump:
"What he was doing was so … uh …so personally invasive: following me, eyeing me."
On the struggle to maintain composure:
"Think of all the times where you are either mentally or physically gripping yourself, [willing yourself] not to respond, not to lash out, not to display the anger that you feel, because you know it will redound to your detriment. So you swallow it. You try to be honest with yourself, to know you're feeling it but then say, 'Okay, I've got a goal here and I'm not going to get knocked off-balance.'"
On feeling angry—even if she doesn't act angry:
"Oh, I am [pissed]....[but] you can't be angry for yourself. You just can't. You can be indignant, you can be annoyed, you can be frustrated, but you can't be angry … I don't think anger's a strategy."
On, for lack of a better term, the haters:
"There's always, what's that word … Schadenfreude — 'cut her down to size,' 'too big for her own britches' — I get all that. But I don't see this being done to other people who run, particularly men. So I'm not going to engage in it. I take responsibility, I admit that I'm not a perfect candidate — and don't know anybody who was — but at the end of the day we did a lot of things right and we weathered enormous headwinds and we were on our way to winning. So that is never going to satisfy my detractors. And you know, that's their problem."