Hillary Clinton Was More Qualified. Donald Trump Was the Better Candidate.
"To all the women and especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion."
From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: She gave a great concession speech, powerful and graceful and leavened with enough obvious pain to belie (once again) the cartoon that too many people in this business have made of her. Per CNN:
"Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead…This is not the outcome that we wanted and we worked so hard for, and I am sorry that we did not win this election… I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. To all the women and especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion," Clinton said, her voice breaking with emotion. "And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and to achieve your own dreams."
He, Trump is running a very different, and a very shrewd, campaign. He allows his audience to assume he's the smartest guy in the room while telling them how smart they are for realizing that. He is making a kind of intellectual appeal to their emotions. It is going to take a kind of political genius to counter that, day after day, for the next six months. It is going to take the ability to match He, Trump head-fake for head-fake so as to make him pay for the approximately 9,768 policy reversals he's going to undertake between now and election day.
I wish I could take back a syllable of that, but I don't. In politics, I don't have many hard and fast rules, but one of them in which I believe deeply is the concept of horses for courses. Some politicians are built to beat certain politicians and they are helpless against others. For every successful politician, there is, out there, somewhere, the perfect foil. You spend your entire political career hoping you never run into that person. As it turns out, HRC's perfect foil was Donald Trump.
She was smart and careful, full of nine-point plans and ideas, and she was a woman. He was ignorant and reckless, full of vague promises and wild threats, and he was a man, a faux alpha-male appealing to various alpha-male wannabes. She never found a language in which she could plausibly engage him on that level, on the battleground he spent the primary process creating. Her speech on Wednesday was heartfelt and warm, and it still was not in the language within which this election ultimately was conducted. The closest she came was in what sounded at first like a warning, and then like the emptiest of threats. She found the language of the campaign at last, about 18 hours after anyone stopped listening.
"Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don't just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things: the rule of law, the principle that we are equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values too and we must defend them."
And thus ends a long and honorable career in public service. But it does not end HRC's public life. She is going to be investigated by Congress because the Republicans there are going to feel empowered to do so and they are going to need a diversion to prove to the new crowd in the White House that they are with the program. Trying to put HRC in jail is going to be the ultimate loyalty oath.
Failing that, and with the cooperation of an elite political media that just can't resist the prospect, the campaign to demolish her reputation will run on a parallel track to the campaign to erase the legacy of the president who was defeated on Tuesday night as surely as she was. Ugliness is going to be the ultimate loyalty oath.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.