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What Happened

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What Happened

Simon & Schuster,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

How – and why – did America choose Donald J. Trump over Hillary Clinton?

Editorial Rating



  • Controversial
  • Analytical
  • Insider's Take


On November 8, 2016, about 65 million Americans marked their ballots for Hillary Rodham Clinton. She won the popular vote by three million votes, but Donald J. Trump prevailed in the Electoral College. Clinton’s failure wasn’t the only tidal shift: Did America suddenly lurch across the boundary that divides democracy from authoritarianism? In this autobiographical account, Clinton strives to answer this question as well as to explain her electoral defeat. The former first lady, US senator and secretary of state vacillates between shouldering the blame and allocating it to a gallery of scoundrels, “deplorables” and dupes, along with a series of dismaying cultural trends. In her effort to be candid, Clinton sometimes betrays her own self-involvement and entitlement. Some passages verge on embarrassing as she seems to involve readers in her process of grief and sense-making. But given the epochal significance of the election, Americans and posterity should understand “what happened.” Hillary Clinton’s narrative offers her own perspective, which proves indispensable.


Why Clinton Ran

Democratic Party candidate, former first lady, US senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton sought the presidency because she believed that she would “be good at the job” and that it would give her a “chance to do the most good I would ever be able to do.” Her upbringing in the Methodist Church inspired her to pursue a life of service.

President Barack Obama encouraged her to run and felt she was the Democrat most likely to win. Although often cast as a status quo politician, Clinton has been a “change maker” throughout her political career.

During her years as a student activist at Wellesley, she became interested in politics “as the most viable route in a democracy for achieving significant and lasting progress.” Her love for children and her concern that every child should gain the opportunities to fulfill his or her potential were primary drivers in her campaign.

Clinton’s Place in the Women’s Movement

Clinton’s career placed her at the center of the women’s movement, where she has taken a leadership role since her college years. She was, among other firsts, the first elected public official to have served as first lady, ...

About the Author

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. She served as the 67th secretary of state from January 2009 until February 2013 following nearly four decades in public service as an attorney, first lady and US senator. 

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    P. A. 4 years ago
    Clinton did not address the real issues of the time. She made less accurate predictions and her team let her down.
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    A. D. 4 years ago
    A very well written summary of what appears to be a very well rounded book on Hillary's perspective about the factors impacting the outcome. The question is if everything else remained the same ie all the factors and all the actors, and Hillary had another chance, what would or could she have done differently? Or no matter what Hillary did the outcome would be the same everytime if the circumstances remained the same?


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