My last Hillary Clinton column ever — I promise!

By Kent R. Kroeger (Source:, May 2, 2017)

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.”

He must have had Hillary Clinton in mind because after watching Clinton’s CNN interview today with Christiane Amanpour, it is clear — Hillary Clinton has learned nothing from her defeat last November.

While some have suggested she accepted her culpability in November’s defeat, the opposite was on display in the CNN interview.

I understand her need to blame others. We all do this, consciously or unconsciously. And, frankly, she is correct in saying Putin had it in for her and Comey didn’t do her any favors.

But this is exactly why the Democrats need to hold her accountable for last November’s election debacle. She was damaged goods going into the election and she lost to the most unprepared candidate in U.S. presidential history.

Why did she lose? For the very reasons she cites for her own exoneration. She made Comey and Putin powerful enough to influence a U.S. presidential election. Hillary Clinton lost because of her own inherent flaws.

She had been in the public spotlight too long, made too many powerful enemies, was overly paranoid (with cause) and was so protective of her privacy that she demanded her State Department work emails be stored on servers she could control with absolute certainty.

The personal email server was Clinton’s creation. Whether the press pursued this story too long is debatable. We know from the State Department’s Inspector General report that this server setup was not to be questioned by the State Department’s IT staff – who did not sanction the setup.

Given that unmarked classified documents were found on Clinton’s home server suggests — at a minimum — a reckless disregard for the security requirements of classified intelligence.  At worst, it suggests criminal behavior was involved, such as removing classified markings from intelligence documents. It would have been a dereliction of duty had the press not pursued the Clinton email story to the extent they did.

Saying the press wouldn’t have pursued the email story if the candidate was a man is overwhelmed by contrary evidence. The Clinton email story had too many angles for the press to ignore:  the potential exposure of state secrets to foreign adversaries, destruction of emails subpoenaed by Congress, and evidence from investigation-obtained emails showing Clinton conducting Clinton Foundation business while serving as Secretary of State. The latter point she had promised in writing to President Obama she would not do. She did anyway.

That’s not Comey’s or Putin’s fault. It’s Hillary’s fault.

As for Putin, it is no surprise the Russian’s were mucking around in our election. I would be surprised if they hadn’t. What does bother me is the extent and sophistication of the Russian information operation to influence the election. It is not an act of war, as some have suggested, but it is a provocation that will negatively impact U.S.-Russian relations for a long, long time.

Yet, to claim the Russians, through Wikileaks, changed the outcome of the election is an academic question on which we will never get a definitive answer. In fact, a persuasive argument could be made suggesting the Russian hacking was so well-known by mid-October that many voters could have turned to Clinton over Trump out of sympathy or a sense of patriotic duty. By Election Day, I had been lectured multiple times about why voting for Trump would be a vote for Putin.

That many voters didn’t care and still voted for Trump is, to my mind, more evidence that Clinton was the problem, not Putin.

We are seven months removed from the election and Hillary Clinton remains unwilling to help her own party come to grips with their defeat. Her supporters even suggest looking for blame distracts the party from the more critical task of opposing President Trump.

But Journalist Glenn Greenwald disagrees: “Trying to understand why the Democrats have so spectacularly failed isn’t a distraction from battling Trump — its the key prerequisite for doing so.” Unfortunately, Greenwald will be disappointed by any attempt to explain the 2016 elections.

Hillary Clinton isn’t the distal cause of anything, including her own defeat.  She was done in by forces outside her own volition.

Political leaders like Clinton are more passengers than drivers of history. They navigate waters they didn’t create and which drive them to their unique moment in history. Only Nixon could go to China. Only Reagan could bring down the Iron Curtain. And only Hillary could lose to Donald Trump.


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About the author:  Kent Kroeger is a writer and statistical consultant with over 30 -years experience measuring and analyzing public opinion for public and private sector clients. He holds a B.S. degree in Journalism/Political Science from The University of Iowa, and an M.A. in Quantitative Methods from Columbia University (New York, NY).  He lives in Ewing, New Jersey with his wife and son.