Last week, Hillary Clinton infuriated leaders from her own party when she blamed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for her loss to President Trump. Now, they are telling her she needs to step out of the spotlight.
Before Trump was even inaugurated, Clinton began her blame game, which has now lasted over half a year and counting. According to a Fox News list of “everyone and everything Hillary Clinton has blamed her election loss on,” the accused have ranged from misogynists, to Vladimir Putin, to suburban women, to content farms in Macedonia, to Netflix:
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) June 1, 2017
Of the two dozen items on the list, five of them involve Clinton’s own party:
- Everyone who assumed she’d win
- Bad polling numbers
- Obama for winning two terms
- Democrats not making the right documentaries
- The Democratic Party
Most recently, Clinton took a direct shot at the Democratic Party’s poor data:
I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party. I mean, it was bankrupt. It was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.
As can be expected, such criticism was not taken well.
Andrew Therriault, former DNC director of data science, told DNC data staffers, “I hope you understand the good you did despite that nonsense.”
Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic data firm TargetSmart, also defended the party’s data against Clinton’s accusations:
I can tell you, having worked with the DNC from the outside over that time period, the DNC not only maintained what was built as part of the Obama 2008 and 2012 campaigns, but they built upon it…And that meant more staff and that meant better data. They built an in-house analytics team, which they had not had in the past. And they were constantly adding data to the file.
The Hill interviewed over a dozen Democrats, many whom were Clinton supporters and former aides, and found that they believe her remarks “are hurting the party and making the 2016 candidate look bitter.” They unanimously agreed that Clinton should rethink her “public blaming tour.”
“Complaining about an outcome and blaming everyone else is not a good political strategy,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. He also told Clinton “she needs to now take a break and let others come to the forefront.”
Another Democratic strategist, Jamal Simmons added that if Clinton is going to discuss the loss, “it would be nice to hear a little more about the things she did wrong.” He also not so subtly hinted at what he suggests Clinton do next:
When Al Gore lost the election, he went to Europe, gained weight and grew a beard. He walked away. And there’s something to that.
That is an unlikely move for Clinton to take, though. As Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan notes, throughout her career Clinton has not been one to often show humility and honest self-reflection:
What is true is that throughout her career Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be largely incapable of honest self-reflection, of pointing the finger, for even a moment, at herself. People can see this. It’s part of why she lost.
Jackie Kucinich of The Daily Beast wrote that by attacking the very people who passionately ran her campaign, Clinton is “burning bridges within her own party at this point.”
Like the rest of the country, key members of the Democratic Party are sick and tired of hearing Clinton blame her loss on just about everything imaginable, except for herself. They have finally realized that Clinton is not going to bring the unity that their broken party needs. They are ready to move on. But is Clinton ready to move out of the spotlight?
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore