None of us is surprised that Hillary Clinton lost in New Hampshire. The polls and pundits have been predicting this for weeks. So it’s done. What’s next? As a very strong supporter of Hillary Clinton, this is what I think she ought to do next.
Double down: Contrary to those who say Hillary needs to soften her image and be more inspirational, I believe she should double down on what’s gotten her this far: brains, stamina, experience and fearlessness. If she believes these are the traits that a President should have, she shouldn’t shave the sharp edges off any of them. Be Hillary squared. Anything less smells like self-doubt. That’s a killer.
Go solo: Ditch the Scold Brigade. Madeleine Albright, amazing woman. Gloria Steinem, feminist icon. Extraordinary people both of them but note to Hillary: you don’t need a couple of big sisters coming to the playground to get your ball back. You can do that your own damn self. Listening to Madeleine Albright say that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other” made me feel like my third grade teacher just sent me to the board to write “I promise to vote for Hillary Clinton” 100 times. Not a good, happy, pro-Hillary feeling.
Run for President: Quit running to be the first woman President. Enough already. It’s important, it’s historic but it’s not central. By focusing so much on gender, Hillary is pushing people to a position of saying that they won’t vote for her just because she’s a woman. In other words, they’re reducing the essence of her campaign and her qualifications to her gender. It seems strange to say but she needs to take gender off the table and just plain run for President.
Keep the Team: All the rumors about shake-ups and being unhappy with the campaign staff reek of failure and lack of direction. They spell mistake. And that gives people a straight line to the next dot on the page: If she can’t run a campaign, how is she going to run the country? Hillary ought to be doing photo shoots with her team, walking arm in arm with them everywhere she goes. Don’t adjust. Don’t fidget. Just keep driving the truck down the road, potholes and all.
Bust Out: Reclaim the thunder. The past few months have been a study in giving up center stage. All the new shiny things seem to be coming out of the pockets of opponents – both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Where are Hillary’s new shiny things? Where is her surprise move? Where is she going that isn’t 100% safe and controlled, where there isn’t a fence and a receiving line? Is she standing with people poisoned by Flint’s water, sitting with runaway teens in a shelter, listening to the stories of people leaving prison with no prayer of finding work? Another note to Hillary: go to the places where people are dying for leadership and hope and give them those things. It would be electric.
Not to put too many happy faces on it, but I do think that defeat is an opportunity that many people ignore. One can mentally go out and come back in again with a lot of new knowledge and much more steel. If one so chooses. That’s the trick.