Hillary Clinton wants to teach you about the power of resilience, and she’s doing it by sharing the 2016 presidential victory speech that never was.
The former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of Defense, and two-time presidential candidate is offering this lesson for Masterclass, the online educational video platform where viewers can find everything from cooking tips from Gordon Ramsay to skateboarding lessons from Tony Hawk. While resilience is an appropriate term to describe much of Clinton’s very public wins, loses, and embarrassments, what she chose as the focus of her Masterplan is groan-inducing: “In this lesson, I’m going to face one of my most public defeats head-on by sharing with you the speech I had hoped to deliver if I had won the 2016 election,” she says.
In a clip from the Masterclass, Clinton goes on to confess that she “never shared this with anybody” and “never read this out loud.”
“But it helps to encapsulate who I am, what I believe in, and what my hopes were for the kind of country that I want for my grandchildren, and that I want for the world, that I believe in that is America at its best,” she said.
It has all the makings of a traditional victory speech, noting that Americans must not be divided by their differences, but, rather, what brings us together. She tears up when discussing her deceased mother’s rough childhood and how much her triumph would have meant to her. Naturally, she also emphasizes the significance of becoming the nation’s first female president.
“Today with your children on your shoulders, your neighbors at your side, friends old and new standing as one, you renewed our democracy,” she says. “And because of the honor you have given me, you have changed its face forever. I’ve met women who were born before women had the right to vote. They’ve been waiting a hundred years for tonight.
“I’ve met little boys and girls who didn’t understand why a woman has never been president before. Now they know, and the world knows, that in America, every boy and every girl can grow up to be whatever they dream — even president of the United States.
“This is a victory for all Americans. Men and women. Boys and girls. Because as our country has proven once again, when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”
“Fundamentally, this election challenged us to decide what it means to be an American in the 21st century,” Clinton reads. “And for reaching for a unity, decency, and what President Lincoln called ‘the better angels of our nature.’ We met that challenge.”
Of course, that challenge was not met. More than five years later, people are still finding ways to blame Susan Sarandon for an election marred by disinformation, Russian interference, a lack of enthusiasm for either candidate, and—most importantly—an antiquated electoral system that rendered Clinton’s nearly three million vote lead over Trump useless. The Trump years that followed, though blessedly short, have had a dramatic impact on everything from immigration policy to the makeup of the Supreme Court. And even now with a Democratic president, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate (albeit, often in name only), many solutions feel out of reach—especially when the future of abortion access in the United States is becoming increasingly bleak.
Clinton has shared her thoughts and anger about the 2016 election repeatedly in the last several years, and she will likely continue to do so. That’s her prerogative. But this comes across as somewhat self-indulgent at a time when each day brings some fresh new horror for us to examine, fear, and organize around. So while it’s only natural to regard 2016 with bitterness, it’s almost 2022, and our collective dread goes far beyond Clinton and that election.