Leaked excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s upcoming tell-all book feature the 2016 Democratic nominee bashing Bernie Sanders for what she characterizes as his unrealistic campaign promises.
She also argues that Sanders’s attacks against her during the primary campaign helped Donald Trump win the general election, according to the leaked excerpts.
In one passage of the book, titled What Happened, Clinton writes that Sanders’s pledges amounted to infomercials promising “Magic abs!” Citing her policy adviser Jake Sullivan, Clinton goes onto compare Sanders’s pledges to wanting to give every American a pony, and then says she was unfairly ridiculed for asking reasonable questions about the feasibility of these promises.
Clinton also attacks the Vermont senator for resorting to “innuendo and impugning my character,” according to leaked excerpts from the book. Clinton writes Sanders had to level character attacks “because we agreed on so much” and, as a result, he “couldn’t make an argument against me” based on policy.
This argument may be in tension with the other one against Sanders — Clinton is criticizing him both for advancing an unrealistic policy vision and for leveling personal attacks because there were no meaningful policy differences between them. Sanders supporters have also argued that the recriminations in the 2008 primary — including Clinton’s infamous 3 am phone call ad — were much more hostile than the ones in 2016.
Of course, Clinton’s account isn’t the only one of her election loss. In Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed 2016 Campaign, journalists Jon Allen and Amie Parnes say that Clinton’s top staffers privately recognized that she was never able to articulate a coherent case for her presidency, and that this failure doomed her campaign from the start. Progressives ranging from hardcore Sanders’s supporters to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to Barack Obama have similarly blamed Clinton and her team for failing to offer a compelling economic vision.
“Our problem is missing the forest for the trees,” Dan Schwerin, a top speechwriter, wrote in an email about the struggles of her first campaign speech, at Roosevelt Island, as reported by Allen and Parnes. “We’ve never found a good way (or at least a way she embraces) that sums up her vision for how America would be different.”
What Happened is scheduled for a September 12 release.