Hillary Clinton’s new memoir compares Trump’s ‘war on truth’ to Orwell’s 1984

The former presidential candidates new book, What Happened, tries to come to terms with her election defeat and likens Trump to the dystopian classic

Hillary Clinton employs her new memoir to draw parallels between Donald Trump’s” war on truth” and the Soviet Union and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

” Attempting to define reality is a core feature of authoritarianism ,” the defeated presidential candidate writes in What Happened, published under Tuesday.” This is what the Soviets did when they erased political protesters from historical photos. This is what happens in George Orwell’s classic fiction Nineteen Eighty-Four, when a torturer holds up four thumbs and delivers electric shocks until his prisoner assures five thumbs as ordered .”

The goal is to construct you question logic and and reason and to sow mistrust, Clinton writes.” For Trump, as with so much he does, it’s about simple dominance .”

She argues that Trump has taken” the war against truth” to a whole new level.” If he stood up tomorrow and declared that the Globe is flat, his counselor Kellyanne Conway might just go on Fox News and defend it as an’ alternative fact ,’ and too many people would believe it .”

The cathartic 469 -page memoir is heartfelt, honest and at times funny as it tries to come to grips with Clinton’s personally and politically catastrophic defeat last November. She identifies many reasons, including racism, sexism, the late intervention of the FBI and her own mistakes.

She writes:” I was operating a traditional presidential campaign with carefully thought-out policies and painstakingly constructed alliances, while Trump was running a reality Tv show that expertly and relentlessly stoked Americans’ fury and rancor. I was devoting speeches laying out how to solve the country’s problems. He was ranting on Twitter .”

Trump put-downs

Clinton peppers the book with insults aimed at Trump. These include:” a clear and present danger to the country and the world “;” he’d remade himself from tabloid rascal into right-wing crank “;” for Trump, if everyone’s down in the dirt with him, then he’s no dirtier than anyone else “;” he had no ideological core apart from his towering self-regard, which blotted out all hope of learn or growing “.

Bernie Sanders

Clinton also presents little affection for her contender for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, identifying him as another causal factor in her defeat.” His attacks caused lasting damage, inducing it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s’ Crooked Hillary’ campaign. I don’t know if that bothered Bernie or not .”

Clinton was hammered by both Sanders and Trump over her paying speeches to Wall street. She acknowledges these were a “mistake”, explaining:” Just because many former government officials have been paid large fees to give speeches, I shouldn’t have assumed it was OK for me to do it. Especially after the financial crisis of 2008 -0 9, I should have realise it would be bad’ optics’ and bided away from anything having to do with Wall street. I didn’t. That’s on me .”

Trump’ prowls’ behind Clinton during presidential debate

The Russia factor

The Clinton campaign’s annoyance with a lack of media attention toward reported attempts by Moscow to interfere with the race were well-known. But Clinton dedicates a lengthy section not simply to how she and her aides is more and more well informed Russian efforts, but also to warn that Vladimir Putin has only just scratched the surface.

Clinton attests to sharing a relationship with Putin that has long been “sour”, saying of the Russian chairman:” Putin doesn’t respect women and despises anyone who stands up to him, so I’m a doubled problem .”

It was for that reason, and her desire to pursue a more hawkish posture toward Russia, that Putin had developed a” personal vendetta” against her, Clinton writes.

But, she writes, she would not have anticipated the assault that was subsequently waged against her campaign, and the minimizing of Russia’s role behind it.

” This wasn’t the normal rough-and-tumble of politics ,” Clinton writes.” This was- there’s no other term for it- war .”

The meanders are reopened with each revelation about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Clinton was recognized that she has followed” every twist and turn “.

As one of the young lawyers who worked for the House judiciary committee’s impeachment investigation into Richard Nixon, Clinton advises the Trump-Russia investigation is “much more serious” than Watergate.

Each time a new shoe drops, Clinton can’t help but hear Trump’s infamous terms to her in their final debate when she tackled him over his affinity for Putin:” No puppet. You’re the marionette .”

” This human is President of the United States ,” Clinton writes,” And no one is happier than Vladimir Putin .”

But her emails

Clinton is at her most scathing when she reflects on the coverage of her decision to use a private email server as secretary of state. In a chapter dedicated to what she calls the single most decisive factor in her loss, Clinton envisions a history class, 30 years from now, in which students learn about the election that” brought to power the least experienced, least knowledgeable, least competent President our country has ever had “.

” Something must have gone horribly wrong ,” Clinton writes,” then you hear that one issue dominated press coverage and public debate in that race more than any other .”

“‘ Climate change ?’ you ask.’ Healthcare ?” No ,’ your teacher answers.’ Emails .'”

The imaginary dialogue continues, with students asking if international crimes was perpetrated or damage caused to national security. “‘ No and no ,’ the teacher replies with a shrug … Sound ridiculous? I concur .”

She ultimately blames FBI director James Comey, who 11 days before the vote told Congress that relevant agencies had uncovered a new stash of Clinton-related emails, as being decisive in her loss.” My team combated serious headwinds to win the popular vote, and if not for the dramatic intervention of the FBI director in the final days, I believe that in spite of everything, we would have won the White House .”

‘ On being a woman in politics ‘

This is the title of a powerful chapter in the book. In it Clinton argues that sexism and misogyny played a role in the 2016 election.” Exhibit A is that a flagrantly sexist candidate won ,” she writes.” A whole lot of people listened to the videotape of him bragging about sexually assaulting girls, shrugged, and said,’ He still get my election .'”

But Trump did not invent such attitudes, she continues, describing sexism and misogyny as “endemic” in America, pointing as evidence to the YouTube comments or Twitter replies when a woman dares to voice a political opinion. To say it is not easy to be a woman in politics is an understatement, she goes on.

” It can be excruciating, humbling. The moment a woman steps forward and says,’ I’m running for office ‘, it begins: the analysis of her face, her body, her voice, her demeanor; the diminishment of her stature, her notions, her accomplishments, her integrity .”

Hillary Clinton accepting the nomination at the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia. Photo: Brian Snyder/ Reuters

The former secretary of state admits that she hesitates to go on, mindful that her terms might act as deterrent to women holding a career in politics.” I can’t think of a single woman in politics who doesn’t have narratives to tell. Not one.

” For the record, it hurts to be torn apart. It may seem like it doesn’t bother me to be called terrible names or have my looks mocked viciously, but it does. I’m used to it – I’ve grown what Eleanor Roosevelt said women in politics need: a skin as thick as a rhinoceros hide .”

Clinton acknowledges she was taken aback by the” deluge of hatred” that only seemed to grow as election day depicted nearer, with mob at rallies calling for her imprisonment and T-shirts depicting her severed head like Medusa.” Now people seemed to think I was evil. Not only’ not my cup of tea’ but evil. It was flabbergasting and frightening. Was this all because I’m a woman? No. But I believe it was motivation for some of those chanters and some of that bile .”

In an episode that emerged in previews of the book, Clinton remembers how Trump hovered behind her in the second presidential debate, two days after the released of the Access Hollywood tape in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitals.” Now we were on a small stage and no matter where I strolled, he followed me closely, staring at me, building faces. It was unbelievably uncomfortable. He was literally exhaling down my neck. My skin crawled .”

What to wear

Clinton’s suits became a trademark- a white suit to accept the Democratic nomination; red, white and blue suits to debate Trump three times. Clinton supporters formed an invitation-only Facebook group called Pantsuit Nation.

” As a woman operating for president, I liked the visual cue that I was different from the men but also familiar. A uniform was also an anti-distraction technique: since there wasn’t much to say or report on what I wore, perhaps people would focus on what I was saying instead .”


If there is one regret Clinton singles out in her volume, it is remarks she made that, while taken out of context, resounded across middle America with irreversible outcomes.” We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business ,” she said.

She had a plan to reinvest in opportunities for coal miners whose jobs had been lost. But Clinton recognise nominees were trained not to create such devastating soundbites.” If you were already primed to believe the worst about me, here was confirmation ,” she writes.” I felt perfectly sick about the whole thing. I clarified and apologized and pointed to my detailed plan to invest in coal communities. But the damage was done .”

Trump’s inauguration

Clinton agonised over whether to attend.” After the mean-spirited campaign Trump ran, there was a decent opportunity I’d get booed or be met with’ Lock her up !’ chants if I went .” But she was persuaded to be there after checking with George W Bush and Jimmy Carter, both of whom had decided to attend.

” At some phase in the day’s proceedings, Michelle and I shared a rueful seem. It said,’ Can you believe this ?'”

Clinton supporters watch outcomes come in on a big screen on election night in New York. Photograph: Justin Lane/ EPA

Clinton asks poignantly:” What would I have said if it were me up there ?” To be the first girl to take the oath would have been” an extraordinary honor “.

Trump’s inaugural address was ” darknes and dystopian”, she writes.” I heard it as a howling straight-out from the white patriot gut .”

“‘ That was some weird shit ,’ George W reportedly said with characteristic Texan bluntness. I couldn’t have agreed more .”

So what happened ?

Along with her blunders and Comey, Clinton refuses to bow down to the notion that the election was not about race. When the individuals who voted for Trump listed their top priorities as national security and immigration, Clinton writes,” that’s a polite route of saying many of these voters were worried about people of color- especially blacks, Mexicans and Muslims, threatening their way of life .”

Cautious not to indict all of Trump’s advocates as racist or xenophobic, Clinton nonetheless states:” You had to be deaf to miss the coded language and racially charged resentment powering Trump’s campaign .”

But she adds:” I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we stimulated. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want- but I was presidential candidates. It was my campaign. Those were my decisions .”

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