Last night Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, was on Jonathan Capehart’s WNYC show “America on the Line,” promoting her new book, Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World. Toward the end of the interview, Palmieri lamented, correctly, that elections are difficult for women. She then riffed, “If women had been in charge from the start, we probably wouldn’t have elections. We’d, like, have a council meeting and decide which woman was best to lead.”
It seems bizarre that Palmieri would openly fantasize about a council of unelected deciders on a show about an election in favor of, you know, democracy, but this was of course the Clinton 2016 campaign in a nutshell: an expectation that a small collection of elites would determine Hillary was the most qualified candidate in the history of our nation and everyone would fall in line.
That’s why Clinton spent her 2015 listening tour secretly lobbying superdelegates to commit to her a year before the convention, commitments that the corporate media was happy to tally throughout the primary.
That’s why she didn’t hold a press conference from December 5, 2015 until September 8, 2016
That’s why she spent the month of August before the general election attending fundraisers in Beverly Hills and The Hamptons instead of hosting public events.
After all, she was the matriarch of the savviest power brokering dynasty in modern political history. Why should voters matter? The council had spoken, the algorithm was calibrated and America would obey.
And that’s why she lost.
I hate how 2016 shook out and I resent Trump, his enablers and his voters. But I’m furious at the worldview of Palmieri, Clinton, her campaign and entire inner-circle. These people truly believe that people are better off being ruled by an elite managerial class, that they should be protected from their own self determination and democratic rights. They are clinging to a system that provided them wealth and success that eclipses any failures along the way, a neoliberal system that delivered us to this chaotic existence.
Given an opportunity to imagine an ideal system, they will always opt for concentrating power among elites. Clinton got to create the Clinton Foundation. Palmieri can only daydream on the radio.