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It was always the elephant in the room, if the reference to the symbol of the Republican Party can be excused.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were born less than 18-months apart in the post-war “Baby Boom” years, probably listened to the same music (both were at just the right age for The British Invasion in 1964), and saw the same movies, but one of the most obvious differences between the two during the long presidential campaign of 2016 was evident from the start.

Donald Trump, who declared for the presidency just days after his 69th birthday and turned 70 in June was, quite simply, having a blast.

He loved the overflow crowds he dubbed “yuge,” feeding off the combination pep rally and rock concert atmosphere as supporters in his trademark red baseball caps chanted, “Build the Wall,” “Lock her up” and “Drain the Swamp.”

And he loved the 24/7 media coverage that provided free advertising.

Energized – possibly equally – by both the enthusiasm of his fans and the criticism of his detractors, Trump was seemingly everywhere, logging tens of thousands of air miles with multiple appearances every day, including weekends, phoning in radio interviews and appearing on whatever cable news show asked.

He found time to go to Scotland to support his son’s completion of a golf resort and went to Mexico for an impromptu meeting with President Peña Nieto.

He entered enemy territory to host “Saturday Night Live” even as he was running against 17 Republican challengers.

He seemed  younger than his years and far younger than a peer of his opponent.

Hillary Clinton, in short, did not have the same experience.

As a 30-year veteran of politics at the state, national and global levels from Arkansas to Washington to New York and the world, serving as First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, Clinton had long been assumed to be the Lady-in-Waiting for the top job.

Her loyalty in staying with her husband through the scandals and impeachment proceedings in the 1990s and her willingness to serve in Barack Obama’s administration after he came out of nowhere and denied her the nomination in 2008 secured the backing, organization and campaign war chest of the party in 2016.

She entered the race with a sense of invincibility and it showed.

The times had passed her by, but she didn’t see it.

Her “crowds” were sparse, frequently bussed by organizers. They were quiet.

Even the slogans told the story.

Hillary supporters pledged their allegiance to her.

Trump supporters were aspirational and pledged their effort to a nationwide goal.

The Obama coalition of various segments of society carefully sliced and diced by the Democrats wasn’t as enamored of an older, white, pant-suited grandmother who admitted she didn’t drive, and no number of fundraising galas and glowing endorsements by the “cool” people could convince voters otherwise.

It turns out, those who wanted to vote for the first woman president – did.

Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, and the Kate McKinnon-Alex Baldwin schtick didn’t hold enough sway over millennials consigned to pay the national debt of their elders while serving as indentured servants to student loan holders to influence their vote.

Throughout, Clinton struggled to find an identity that would resonate with voters – trying at various times to present herself as just an ordinary “abuela” (Spanish for “grandmother”), telling black voters she carried a bottle of hot sauce in her purse, and hugging Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Jay-Z onstage as though they were on her playlist.

She tried to convince voters she had been “dead broke” upon leaving the White House with an $8 million book advance in hand (along with some dishes), but made the mistake of going on to say they had difficulty getting “mortgages for houses.” An unforced error to the ears of people who remain underemployed in the Obama economy.

She assured green voters that she was going to put “a lot of coal miners out of work” and “close a lot of coal companies,” much to the horror of her more politically sensitive and astute husband.

Even as the campaign drew to a close, the still personally popular President Obama had to frame a vote for Hillary as a vote to validate his policies.

None of it worked, and for all the optimistic polls, insider assistance from the DNC and cribbed debate questions from the mainstream media, the video of the Clinton family celebrating early on election night proved not only premature, but displayed the hubris that had stalked her political career from the start.

When the end came at 2 am November 9, Hillary was unable to face her supporters, sending instead the symbol of old politics and everything that was out of step in her campaign to tell the tearful faithful still assembled at the “victory” party staged at the glass-ceiled Jacob Javits Center to “go home.”

So, it is not surprising that longtime friend, fundraiser, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who chaired her unsuccessful 2008 bid, has told a Washington D.C. radio program that Hillary is through with politics.

“I don’t think Hillary has any interest in running again,” McAuliffe said on the “Ask the Governor” program, adding that the loss was, “hard, very tough on the Clintons.”
“I mean, this is hard on anybody. I mean, can you imagine having to go through this? I’ve had many conversations with the Clinton family. We’re friends. It’s hard, very tough. I think on Election Day everybody felt pretty good. I think the Trump campaign thought they were gonna lose.”

It was hard on us, too.

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