Shattered - Inside Hillary Clintons Doomed Campaign
Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 4

According to the authors, Hillary and her team’s response to the e-mail server scandal mirrored a classic underestimation of the existing threat that crippled her campaign strategies (Allen and Parnes 53). After the scandal, it was challenging for her to pass any positive message to voters. When asked to provide all the emails concerning the attack that resulted in four dead Americans in Libya, she took a lot of time before talking to her voters, something that greatly damaged her credibility. Things took a turn for the worst when she publicly lied that she never received or sent classified data via the e-mail address associated with her server. The public later came to know that it was a lie, when classified information was found in some of the emails she had sent through that server (Allen and Parnes 60). However, there was nothing illegal about this because the classified information were sent to individuals with the necessary security clearance, yet this fact was almost insignificant to the public. In the end, the scandal still damaged her politically. Allen and Parnes posit that Clinton was very keen when analyzing threats around her, including her rivals; but when it came to her behavior, “the threat she posed to herself—she’d been incapable of gauging its gravity and reluctant to avail herself of the only option for fixing it.” (Allen and Parnes 66). She addressed the issue too late.


Allen and Parnes view the e-mail scandal as the most damaging incident to Clinton’s campaign efforts. Her failure to gauge it as an imminent threat to her candidacy was, perhaps, the worst mistake of her political career, and probably the reason she lost the election to Donald Trump. The authors describe the Clinton’s as secretive people, and this is why other Democrats failed to defend her on the e-mail issue. No one at the party knew of the private server and, therefore, they could not comment on the issue. The e-mail scandal was not just a simple incident or a wave of “choppy waters,” as Hillary called it — it was a tsunami, a career-ending incident that will be remembered in years to come.

Most importantly, it was a test of her trustworthiness. A significant amount of voters lost trust in her when it was made clear that she had lied about sending classified information through her private e-mail. It would later dawn on her that gaining the voters’ confidence after the incident would be extremely difficult.

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