What People Teach Us: Hillary Clinton And Repeating (Recent) History

Hillary Clinton is continuing to make more appearances since having lost the Presidential Election in November to Donald Trump.

Her supporters are happy to see her and get her take on the first 100 days of the new administration. And yet others are quick to point out that she and other older Democrats need to step out of the spotlight to make way for a younger, more connected Democratic contingent to take over.

Many political observers feel, in hindsight, that her and the Democratic Party’s disconnection and inability to relate to the masses is what lost the presidential election and relinquished more of their party’s seats in Congress to the Republicans.

“Are we willing to be negligent enough to affirm people’s poor perceptions of us?”

But back to Clinton. She made another appearance this week in an interview at the Women for Women International luncheon. As expected, the usual and likely topics of the tarnished election — FBI Director James Comey, Russian, and Wikileaks interference — came up.

During a breakdown of what she believed happened in the campaign, she said, “I’ve been in a lot of campaigns and I’m very proud of the campaign I ran. It wasn’t a perfect campaign — there’s no such thing — but I was on the way to winning until a few things happened.”

Now, granted, Clinton did end up winning the popular vote by over 2.86 million voters, but, unfortunately for her and her supporters, it’s the electoral college votes that win elections, and Trump won those votes 306 to 232.

But those words of hers: “I was on my way to winning…” Really?

It’s amazing what even just a few words – seven, to be exact – can do to someone’s image.

She’s doubling-down on her missteps, assuming victory now as much as she did back then during the lead-up to the election. And that’s part of the problem that did her in to begin with.

The discussion by the political pundits since the election has, again, covered what’s been noted as the Democrats’ disconnection from their traditional base – the working class – and making assumptions about wins in those areas. They’ve pointed out repeatedly that Clinton didn’t focus on the parts of the country representative of that working class, all the while assuming it was a forgone conclusion that those pockets of the population were for Democrats.

But, at the end of Election Night 2016, it was revealed that Democrats were wrong and those in the working class, for the most part, made them feel the errors of their ways.

And she’s still reinforcing what her assumptions were – that she was on her way to winning.

Do we know what the impact of those interfering forces mentioned above truly was? We can’t say for sure. Even in hindsight, that’s tough to call.

The lesson in this moment exists in Clinton’s appearances and her comments.

“Why tarnish your own character by dwelling on the past and/or repeating your own mistakes?”

She has the right to feel angry. She’s shown she’s disappointed. She has admittedly felt sad.

But, depending on what her goals are now that she’s back in the spotlight, coming back with the same attitude that lost her so many votes does nothing for credibility generation with those who are her naysayers nor for credibility recovery with those who were on the fence about her but ultimately voted against her. And, granted, for the naysayers, she may feel she doesn’t necessarily want or need their support anyway. But are these comments really the best foot to put forward with the general public?

Humility goes a long way.

In general, when it comes to you, people may have gone against you in the past on ideas, strategy, or mission. But, aside from those past disagreements, there’s your character that can hold you up in people’s eyes. That character can get you into other endeavors and help you achieve other goals, even if something in the past didn’t work out.

So, why tarnish your own character by dwelling on the past and/or repeating your own mistakes?

You do yourself no favors by reinforcing what doesn’t work about you.

Are we willing to be negligent enough to affirm people’s poor perceptions of us?

Exuding, still, a semblance of the attitude that turned most people off to you does nothing for you.

With regard to the targets of Clinton’s charges, political circles, the media, and the public are still paying attention to the allegations as demonstrated by the investigations, revelations, and hearings currently taking place, with possibly more to come. Those factors are all in the public spotlight. So, why not let them take the lead while you focus on something else?

We can learn a lot from the experiences in which we didn’t reach our goals. Take advantage of those misses. Debrief both with those around you and through your own reflection.

Related PostYes, Don’t Dwell On The Past. But Do You Get What You Didn’t Get?

They may not be easy conversations to have, but they can refocus your outward appearance and attitude, which can undeniably impact your next steps, successes, and credibility.

But if you keep pushing the same message and don’t evolve past your shortcomings, people will see you as having less depth than you would like to convey.

If you lose that dimension of depth, you eventually become a caricature of yourself.

So…What About You?

  • How do you learn from your past and adjust your message accordingly?
  • How do you take your losses and move on?
  • What drawbacks have you experienced by not letting go of the past and not learning the right lessons?

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