Several days after the shock of 9 November, I found an email from Robbie Mook, the Hillary for America (HFA) Campaign Manager and chief strategist. At the time, I could hardly bear to read it, and having read it, I took little consolation. Yet, it stayed with me. I returned to it again two weeks ago, and then again this morning. It carries a soothing and constructive response to the election day debacle and needs to be preserved.
Mook, a Vermonter known for his disciplined and low-key personality and his reliance on data, had proven his worth before this arduous campaign. Jeanne Shaheen gained her Senate seat thanks to his efforts. In 2013, he was involved in Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial success. Mook’s name is also attached to the campaigns of Martin O’Malley, Ben Cardin, John Kerry and Howard Dean.
Mook’s biography is one of sustained accomplishment including a stint as director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It was Mook who championed Clinton’s strategy against the GOP challenger, telling CNN: “The most effective thing to do with Donald Trump is just to get his words out there and let him speak for himself.”
Mook spoke for himself and Hillary Clinton in his post-election email. His first words were gratitude and his next message was a recognition of our pain. He then reminded us of who we fought for: working families, immigrants, Muslims, women and little girls. He offered a set of actions to counter our discouragement.
But this elusive line sticks: “The dust is still settling from Tuesday’s election, and we don’t have all the answers yet.” His words are an ambiguous mix of hope and confusion. What are we to make of this defeat? Are the answers out there? Or will we be forever trapped in a conundrum akin to the assassination of JFK?
Presumably, he is compiling the Clinton-heavy polls of Election Eve, the party registration figures, exit polls, final tallies – all the numbers that can make hard sense in analysis. There are recounts to track. The Electoral College. Congressional inquiries.
The softer and intangible analysis of voter discomfort combined with the Bernie Effect, the Comey Effect, the Wikileaks effect and the Putin Effect will be less measurable. As a clue, the now former campaign manager called for an investigation into the role of Russia in this open-ended election. That was yesterday.
This isn’t the end. The answers are out there.
But for now, we have Robby Mook’s email.
Thank you for being a part of this campaign. We didn’t get the result we wanted, and of course we will always regret that. But when everything we believe in was on the line, we stood up and battled and gave it our all. I take great pride in that. I hope you do, too.
If you’re still hurting today, that’s ok. You’re not alone. And no doubt there are many difficult days ahead for our country and the world.
But I want to talk about where we go from here, because there has never been more work to do. The people we fought for in this election — working people looking for a better job or a fair wage; immigrant families who deserve to be treated with dignity; women who should have the right to make their own health decisions; Muslims who need to know that America has a place for them; little girls and boys who should know that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up — have never needed us more. They were dealt a setback on Tuesday. But the only way we lose these fights over the long term is if people like us get discouraged, instead of getting back to work.
The dust is still settling from Tuesday’s election, and we don’t have all the answers yet. But for now, here are a few things to consider:
- Run for office. If we’ve learned anything from our candidate, it’s that the best way to make change is simply to go out and do it. Get involved in a local or municipal race, whatever it takes to be that change you want to see in your community.
- Get involved in your community in other ways. Join a board, help plan community days, volunteer with local progressive groups.
- Fight for Democrats. Democrats across the country need your support now more than ever. They need your votes, if you live in their districts, but they also need your time and your resources to keep going.
- Support women and girls. Reach out to the women and girls in your family and other circles and let them know that you value and support them. Ask them what their dreams are — then help them get there however you can.
- Promote love and kindness where you live. Hillary has lived her life with the words “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can” — and it’s up to us to carry on her work in our communities.
This isn’t the end. Hillary has shown us every single day: The measure of a person is not whether you get knocked down but whether you get back up. As she said on Wednesday, “Let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary and lose heart, for there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.”
With deepest gratitude,
Hillary for America