Democrats are on edge over Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming book that is likely to dredge up the controversies surrounding her 2016 defeat to President Trump, just as the out-of-power party is trying to "move on" and chart a course back to the majority.
The former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady who added Democratic presidential nominee to her resume last year apparently isn’t done with public life. She plans to release her book, “What Happened,” next month and reportedly will focus the memoir in part on the role that Moscow’s meddling and former FBI Director Comey’s public statements about her email investigation played in her defeat.
But Bloomberg reports that Democrats are privately concerned that Clinton’s book will help Trump, by fueling his case that Democrats are going after him because they’re bitter.
The feeling in the party was captured by Sen. Al Franken’s comment in June that she and the party have to “move on” from her shock loss.
Other prominent Democrats also have needled Clinton for her post-defeat comments.
In an interview last month, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., suggested it’s time to look forward.
“When you lose to somebody who has a 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things -- Comey, Russia -- you blame yourself,” Schumer told the Washington Post. “So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that.”
Democrats, including Schumer, have tried to rebrand the party under a new slogan, “A Better Deal,” looking ahead to the 2018 midterm elections.
Former Vice President Biden has also criticized Clinton’s candidacy in recent months, questioning whether Democrats are paying enough attention to blue-collar economic issues.
Clinton’s public standing may have something to do with the concern: A Bloomberg poll from July showed she remains deeply unpopular, even more so than Trump, who has historically low approval ratings. The poll showed 58 percent viewed her unfavorably – Russian President Vladimir Putin had only slightly worse ratings.
Bloomberg reported that Democrats would much prefer the approach taken by 2000 presidential nominee Al Gore, who launched into climate change advocacy work and more after his contested loss to George W. Bush.
The Hill reported last month that Clinton has told friends she wants “the whole story out there” about the 2016 election, for her new book.
The report suggests Clinton would return to hammering allegations Russia was involved in the hack of emails from Democratic officials including her campaign chairman, as well as the election impact of Comey’s late-stage decision to briefly reopen the email case.
“She really believes that’s why she lost, and she wants to explain why in no uncertain terms,” an individual identified as a longtime ally told The Hill.