What Happened: A review of Hillary Clinton's account of the presidential election

21 Dec 2017


Hillary Rodham Clinton made history by becoming the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party. She has had a long career in politics, including being Secretary of State under Obama, First Lady, and a representing New York in the Senate. 


‘I did not want to attend Trump’s inauguration.’


Clinton did not attend as the losing candidate, but rather as a former First Lady. On that day, Donald Trump gave a speech that worried the many. 


When Donald Trump declared his candidacy in 2015, Clinton thought it was a joke. In What Happened, she retells the story of how she warned people about Trump's intentions, but was repeatedly ignored. Her worst fears have been recognised in more ways than one. The Trump family are currently caught up a Russian election-meddling scandal. Trump has sacked several of his senior staff, and he does not conduct himself like a president should. 


Many Americans do not respect the Clintons, for many reasons. One being Bill Clinton's scandalous affair with Monica Lewinsky, others being the mistakes that Hillary made while she was Secretary of State.


Nevertheless, Hillary still draws attention to the role that sexism and misogyny played in the 2016 election. 


During his campaign, Trump bragged about groping women, but has told his staff in the White house to deny any accusations of harassment brought against him. Like many other influential figures such as Michelle Obama, this has made Hillary Clinton sick to the core. How can someone with such power get away with such grave offences?


One of the most interesting parts of the book is where Clinton discusses Russian propaganda. She states that she is alarmed at the amount of propaganda she has seen since Putin’s re election back in 2011. Even more alarming was the use of such propaganda to aid far-right parties such as Le Pen’s National Front in France, Alternative for Germany (AfD), and the Freedom Party in Austria.


Though, this practice is not new. Russian propaganda has been observed in Ukraine and other former Soviet states since the USSR broke up. Clinton recognises that these tactics are being used in Western democracies. It has been claimed that the Russians interfered with the 2017 UK general election, the EU referendum, and even the Catalan referendum. She also acknowledges that some of Trump’s staff have ties to Russia. Paul Manafort, who was in a top position under Donald Trump, used to work in Finance under the former pro-Russian Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort, along with many of Trump’s own family, is under investigation for Russian meddling in elections. Though no criminal proceedings have started.


What Happened is a powerful, detailed explanation of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s two-year presidential election journey. It is an eloquently-written book, and not a direct attack on her opponent. Reading her account gives one hope, knowing that there are women as powerful as Hillary in global politics. 







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