Hillary Clinton was aware that she was having trouble connecting with voters. One of the biggest concerns was that Clinton just wasn’t a likable candidate. But according to a new book, around July 2016, right as President Donald Trump became the Republican nominee, Clinton stopped caring that people didn’t like her.
“A week earlier, she’d cut off [pollster] Joel [Benenson] and the pollster John Anzalone, as they walked her through the almost daily reminder that half the country disliked her,” Amy Chozick wrote in her new book on the Clinton campaign, Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling, according to the Daily Beast, noting that the conversation had happened around the time of the Republican National Convention. “’You know, I am getting pretty tired of hearing about how nobody likes me,’ she said.”
According to Chozick, at that point Clinton decided: “‘Oh, what’s the point? They’re never going to like me.’”
Clinton apparently acknowledged that there was nothing she could do to win voters who didn’t like her, and her campaign decided that if she was going to win, it would have to be with a low likability rating.
Chozick noted that donors routinely asked how Clinton’s campaign “planned ... to pull Hillary’s trust numbers out of the toilet,” writing that “the answer was always the same: nothing. [Clinton campaign Chairman John] Podesta would explain ‘I remember no one trusted Bill Clinton and he won twice.’”
According to Yahoo! News, this was just one misguided calculation that Chozick suggest contributed to Clinton’s loss. Polls leading up to the election showed that Clinton had relatively low favor with Americans but that Donald Trump’s numbers were much worse.
The one comment that seemed to really damage Clinton’s image was when she claimed that Trump supporters were a “basket of deplorables.”
“Chozick said the blunder hadn’t been purely accidental, but was rather a reflection of how Clinton already thought about Trump supporters, lumping them into three categories, or baskets, ” Yahoo! reports. “One basket held ‘Republicans who hated her’ and would vote for whatever nominee the GOP put on the ballot. A second basket contained voters who felt disenchanted by the government and felt left behind. And the last was reserved for Trump’s ‘deplorables,’ which Chozick said included those with bigoted views.”
Clinton knew that saying out loud what many of us believed privately was a mistake. Doing it with just months before November proved catastrophic. Clinton reportedly told her aides after the comment was made at a New York fundraiser, “I really messed up.”