She would have gotten away with the presidency too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids at the FBI. And Wikileaks’s friends in Russian intelligence, of course.
The “Comey cost Hillary the election” theory is Nate Silver’s theory, whom she name-checks here. He makes a fair case — her polling dropped by three points after the first Comey letter appeared on October 28th and she ended up losing four key states worth 75 electoral votes by 1.2 percent or less. If you believe that her polling wouldn’t have dipped but for the letter, or at least not as much as it did, then she probably squeaks by in Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin or some significant combination thereof and wins.
Or, of course, maybe not. Silver himself noted on November 6th, after Comey’s second letter was released announcing that no new emails had been discovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, that “betting markets show Clinton’s probability of winning the election improving by about 3 percentage points on the news.” His final “polls-plus” electoral model gave her a better than 70 percent chance of winning the election notwithstanding Comeymania. It’s impossible to say how much of the late break among voters towards Trump was a backlash to the Comey news and how much was late deciders tilting towards the anti-status-quo candidate for more organic reasons. And as any Trump voter would happily remind you, if Comey’s letter affected the race, that was partly because Clinton had run a sufficiently lousy campaign that she had left herself vulnerable to an eleventh-hour gamechanger:
In hell you're seated across from two people. One keeps saying Clinton lost due to Comey. The other keeps saying she didn't visit Wisconsin.
— Joe Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) May 2, 2017
She showed off that charming common touch elsewhere during today’s Amanpour interview, in fact:
"You cannot get cell coverage for mile," Clinton says of the places that voted against her.
— Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) May 2, 2017
The debate over causation will never be settled. Suffice it to say, without Bill Clinton deciding to drop in on Loretta Lynch on the tarmac, Comey probably never opens his mouth. And without Hillary Clinton deciding to set up her own homebrew email server to keep her official correspondence away from prying public eyes, Comey definitely never opens his mouth. But hey: If you had been on the losing end of the arguably the biggest, most consequential upset in American political history and were being savaged for having run a terrible campaign, wouldn’t you be looking to pass the buck too?
Two clips here, one of her doing her Comey shtick and the other of her pandering about being a member of “the Resistance.” She also made a point of reminding the audience — more than once — that she got more votes than Trump did, raising the ominous possibility that she hasn’t quite ruled out one last run. No worries, though. Democratic primary voters will take care of that in 2020 if she’s foolish enough to take the plunge again.
Clinton takes "personal responsibility" for her loss, says "but I was on the way to winning" before Comey letter and Wikileaks interference. pic.twitter.com/6FLng4zDIF
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 2, 2017
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 2, 2017