“What Happened” the final memoirs of Hillary Clinton



Wyatt Beito

Most of the book felt as if running for president was a chore or a service Hillary was performing for the American people. Unfortunately for her most of America did not see it that way. Even the ones that did, the ones that came to her after the election and thanked her for her inspiration, Hillary was still spiteful of. Specifically in reference to the Women’s march in Washington D.C. She writes that she wonders “where that passion and outrage was during the election”, that somehow it was their fault as well, even those who voted and supported her.

Nearly everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong it seems. The press, the FBI, the Opposition, the American public, current events, and even her own campaign staff worked against her at some point (or all points) along the election season. The mainstream media would not report on her rallies, they would not report on her successes, but what they did report on was only to appease ratings and public appetite. Their focus on the emails and infighting, Trump’s looming and intimidation tactics during the debate, FBI director Comey’s untimely intervention and of course Russia. Everything worked against her except for one thing. Herself.

The only mistake she ever admitted to was “thinking that Americans would believe that I’d sell a lifetime of principle and advocacy for any price” when referring to her private speech in which she advocated for globalized markets.

In the chapter “A Day in the Life” she compares herself to a panda that people watch on those zoo cameras for entertainment. Naturally, to satisfy those people that might want to know what Hillary Rodham Clinton does when she is not in the spotlight she spent five pages talking about her home life before launching back into her campaign activities.

An autobiography of the election could not have gone without mention of sexism, of course, so she dedicated an entire chapter to it. In “On Being a Woman in Politics” Hillary describes how men do not understand the emotional labor and terror women experience in the United States goes underappreciated by men.

One of the few “weakness” she admitted she did have was that she struggled to stay on message. Only because she wanted something new to say and not repeat the “same stump speech over and over.” Apparently, the message Stronger Together was too difficult to maintain. Of course, the public had to share some blame, because it is our insatiable appetite for entertainment and scandal that yanked on the steering wheel.

What Happened” is less of an explanation of what happened and more of an explanation of how none of it was Hillary’s fault. It is a dossier of pointed fingers and excuses. No mention of remorse or disdain for actions she had taken herself that might have caused her campaign to fail. The entire book felt like a toddler saying “I’m sorry that you had to be mean” as some form of ankle biting last-ditch effort to smear everyone she thought ruined her chances at becoming president. Hopefully, someone will find solace from this book, some realization that the candidate they voted for was a good-natured warm-hearted person only meaning to do well.

In a certain light, there could be sympathy from those on the right that might read “What Happened” for Hillary, sympathy that someone who truly meant well failed in the most catastrophic way. For a final summarization, however, “What Happened” felt mainly like a sap story meant only to stir hard feelings and less about closure. The only closure most Americans needed was that maybe finally the Clintons would be gone from politics forever, and hopefully, this book will be the last we ever see of them.