It’s been a very, very, VERY difficult time for more than half the country since Lord Business secured himself a seat in the Oval Office on November 8. Since then, we have mourned, kept our chins up, found a renewed sense of purpose, laughed, cried, and accepted. We’ve also had some help from some of our leaders, who have managed to speak big picture while encouraging us to keep fighting for the country we want.

Hell, even Jill Stein has found a way to shoehorn herself into all this, albeit with suspect motives.

But where’s Hillary Clinton?

I like Clinton and I like Sanders, but my support for Clinton was tactical. I did feel like she was the best way to move forward a progressive agenda because she, unlike her would-be predecessor, is a shrewd legislative tactician who would have surely developed a stronger working relationship with Congress. And while she was certainly not of the New Progressive ilk, she would be a fitting bridge over that tide, finally breaking the gender barrier obstructing our nation’s highest elective office.

Now, nearly a month later, I feel pretty bewildered that Clinton has essentially gone away. That’s not to say I have primary or general election remorse, because I don’t. Clinton lost the general election and, for a moment, let’s assume it’s her campaign’s fault. Even if it were, she still won the popular vote by 2.5 million and counting, so that’s gotta count for something.

I mean, if I developed an enthusiastic voter base who campaigned for and raised money for me, I wouldn’t disappear, particularly in the face of one of the most challenging political times in our nation’s history. Look at Bernie Sanders, who didn’t miss a beat on Conan O’Brien the other night:

“I worry about the future of this country. I worry about someone who the cornerstone of his election was bigotry, attacking Mexican Americans, Muslims, trying to divide us up. I worry very much about a man who thinks climate change is a hoax when the scientific community tells us that it is the most serious environmental crisis facing this planet.”

Or what about President Obama, who was interviewed by Rolling Stone THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION and still had the composure and wherewithal to say this:

“If you want to persuade me that everything is going to be terrible, then we can talk ourselves into that. Or we can act. It is what it is. There’s been an election. There’s going to be a Trump presidency, and Republicans are going to control Congress. And the question is gonna be, for those like you and I, who care about these issues, do we figure out how to continue to make progress in this environment until we have a chance for the next election. And will we have mobilized ourselves and persuaded enough people that we can get back on a path that we think is going to be helpful for families, helpful for the environment, helpful for our safety and security and rule of law and civil rights and social rights?”

Clinton didn’t speak to the nation until the next day, which was a day too late. You see, this election was never about November 8. I’ve been saying that forever, as have a lot of people. It was about this one election and the thousands of local, county, state, and national elections in front of us. I understand that losing a presidential campaign must be a profound defeat. Anyone who has lost a bid for office understands that and must magnify that by a million for a presidential also-ran.

And yes, I understand she’s not in office, unlike Sanders, Warren, Obama, or anyone else. But how to you go from campaigning for president for so long at this critical time, building up so much support, raising so much money, inspiring so many millions, to just radio silence? Maybe it’s for the best. Maybe it’s time to pass the torch. But maybe not. Maybe we need as many influential voices as possible. We need all hands on deck.

If fighting for progress is indeed your life’s work, the work doesn’t stop at the end of an election cycle. It goes on forever, and ever, and ever. Remember that.

Comments (6)

  1. 12mileseastofTrenton

    It’s not unusual for the defeated candidate to go into hibernation for a while.

    1. Matthew Brian Hersh (Post author)

      True, but this is an unusual time. And people are hurting.

  2. deciminyan

    Given that her goal over the last 12 years was to win the White House, she deserves a break. And I wouldn’t blame her nor be disappointed if she’s done with politics. The Democratic Party needs a Come to Jesus moment where they realize that the old guard is not going to be the ones who help them regain power.With Pelosi and Schumer at the head of the party, we are in for more of the same. The future lies in people like Sherrod Brown, Kristen Gillibrand, Nina Turner, Jeff Merkley, and others who can differentiate themselves from business as usual.

    1. Matthew Brian Hersh (Post author)

      Agree completely. I don’t think she should be, nor do I want her to be, the party’s standard-bearer.

  3. ken bank

    For the first time in 25 years the Clintonistas and their neo-liberal allies no longer have a stranglehold on the Democratic Party. Let’s keep it that way.

    1. Matthew Brian Hersh (Post author)

      I don’t disagree, but, again, if her campaign was about the greater good, then we need as many voices as possible. She won the popular vote by a whole lot, so that, to me, seems to put her in a good place to be an oppositional voice. But only if she wants to, and if she doesn’t want to, we have to wonder what it was all about.


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