In the months since the election, Hillary Clinton has not been quiet about her loss to President Trump. But she has tried to treat her defeat with a measure of good humor, as she did in last week's Wellesley commencement address, when she said that long walks and Chardonnay helped her cope.
Never has Clinton publicly revealed the intensity of the blame and resentment she appears to feel about the 2016 election. Until now. In a long interview at the CodeCon conference in California Wednesday, Clinton discussed her loss in more detail than she ever has publicly, and blamed more people than ever before. Some of her accusations had at least some basis in fact. Some didn't. But all were part of Clinton's complex explanation for losing an election that seemed hers to win. A brief list:
1) She blamed what she said was a massive Russian disinformation campaign spearheaded by 1,000 Russian agents working to defeat her. "They did it through paid advertising, we think, they did it through false news sites, they did it through these thousand agents, they did it through machine learning, which you know, kept spewing out this stuff over and over again. The algorithms that they developed…"
2) She blamed Americans who she said colluded with the Russian campaign. "The Russians -- in my opinion and based on the intel and the counterintel people I've talked to -- could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided. Guided by Americans and guided by people who had polling and data information."
3) She blamed GOP donor Rebekah Mercer. "The Mercers did not invest all that money just for their own amusement," Clinton said. "We know they played in Brexit, and we know that they came to Jared Kushner and basically said, 'We will marry our operation,' which was more as it's been described, psychographic, sentiment, a lot of harvesting of Facebook information, 'We will marry that with the RNC on two conditions: You pick Steve Bannon, and you pick Kellyanne Conway. And then we're in.' Trump says, 'Fine, who cares,' right? So Bannon, who'd been running the Breitbart operation, supplying a lot of the untrue, false stories…they married content with delivery and data."
4) She blamed the press. "The use of my email account was turned into the biggest scandal since lord knows when. And you know, in [her upcoming] book I'm just using everything that anybody else said about it besides me to basically say this was the biggest nothing-burger ever."
5) She blamed then-FBI Director James Comey, who re-opened the email investigation shortly before the election. "He dumps that on me on October 28th, and I immediately start falling," Clinton said. As a result, she noted in one specific example, she lost the lead she needed in the Philadelphia suburbs to be able to counteract Trump's lead in western Pennsylvania and win that key state. "I needed about a 15 to 17 point lead to come out of the Philadelphia suburbs. Before the Comey letter, based on our polling, I had about a 22 point lead in the Philadelphia suburbs. After that letter, my momentum, particularly among women in the suburbs, stopped and dropped. So I won the suburbs, but I only won them by 10."
6) She blamed the Democratic Party for giving her a weak organization and a poor data operation. "I inherit[ed] nothing from the Democratic Party. I mean, it was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into the DNC to keep it going."
7) She blamed sexism. "I never said I was a perfect candidate, and I certainly have never said I ran perfect campaigns, but I don't know who is or did. And at some point it sort of bleeds into misogyny."
8) She blamed what she called Republican "voter suppression." After the Citizens United decision, "Republican governors and legislatures began doing everything they could to suppress the vote," Clinton said. In particular, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker "has been one of the leaders in voter suppression" across the nation. "The best estimate is that 200,000 people in Wisconsin were either denied or chilled in their efforts to vote." (The study Clinton cited was commissioned by a Democratic advocacy group, and the 200,000 figure has been rated "mostly false" by PolitiFact Wisconsin.)
Clinton made clear there were still others to blame -- a list compiled by Fox News Thursday morning included Facebook, bad polling, low-information voters, and, of all places, Hollywood. No doubt she will elaborate on those in her book. But Wednesday's performance was the most complete statement yet on Clinton's view of the 2016 race. There are dozens, or hundreds, or thousands of reasons why she lost -- and none is named Hillary Clinton.