After Stunning Loss, Hillary Clinton Fails to Become First Woman President of U.S.

Hillary Clinton loses the closely contested and divisive race against political novice Donald Trump.

Supporters of Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in New York.
Reuters

Hillary Rodham Clinton failed to make history and become the first woman ever to be elected president of the United States after suffering a stunning defeat to Republican rival and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

Clinton failed to overcome the flamboyant businessman and reality television star in one of the ugliest and most divisive races in recent history.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets supporters after casting her vote in Chappaqua, New York on November 8, 2016.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, AFP

Clinton’s defeat was especially stinging in a campaign in which women figured prominently – not only because many wanted to see a woman elected to the highest post, but also because Trump’s attitudes and actions toward women, including his boasting of sexually harassing them, caused numerous voters, male and female, to recoil from the Republican nominee.

On Tuesday night, as Trump’s lead kept on growing, the mood at the Javits Center in New York – where the official Clinton election party was being held – darkened significantly. It was supposed to be Clinton’s big celebration: a star-studded, glitzy event held under an enormous glass ceiling. 

The 69-year-old Democrat served as U.S. senator representing New York from 2001 to 2009, and as secretary of state under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. Clinton lost her first bid for the presidency in 2008, running a tight race against Obama, who ultimately prevailed as the Democratic nominee.

On September 11, 2001, while she was serving in the Senate, America suffered the worst terror attack in its history. The outcome was particularly devastating for her home state of New York where thousands were killed when the Twin Towers were destroyed. As secretary of state, Clinton was part of the close circle of presidential advisers involved in plans to take out Osama Bin-Laden – the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

As First Lady to two-term President Bill Clinton, she played an unusually active role in policymaking, spearheading an effort to reform America’s healthcare system. Although it ultimately failed, many of her ideas were later revived in the Obamacare initiative.

A staunch supporter of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Clinton had a tense relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when she served as America’s top diplomat. By her own testimony, the two would often yell at one another.

Still, she enjoys strong support in Israel, as evidenced by the results of a series of polls conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute: The latest, published in mid-October, found that 43 percent of Israelis favored Clinton over 26.5 percent who preferred Trump.

Clinton’s website refers to her as “one of Israel’s most effective and energetic defenders on the world stage” and promises that as president, “she will protect Israel’s security, confront regional threats facing the U.S. and Israel, and fight back against efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state.” It notes that as secretary of state, she requested increased military assistance for Israel every year and made sure the United States blocked UN Security Council resolutions for Palestinian statehood.

A graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School, Clinton, who is a Methodist, was raised in a Republican home in the suburbs of Chicago. She has often said her mother was her greatest influence. Dorothy Rodham, who grew up in a dysfunctional home and was sent to live with her grandparents when she was eight years old, began working as a housemaid as a young teen during the Great Depression.

As early as her college years, the president-elect stood out as a leader: She was president of the student government body at Wellesley and was the first student ever to deliver the commencement address at a graduation ceremony.

Attending college in the turbulent late 1960s, the former Republican eventually came to embrace liberal causes. She was active in the black civil rights movement, and later as a young lawyer, served as an advocate for disadvantaged women and children.

Clinton continued to work as a lawyer in private practice while her husband served as governor of Arkansas. The Clintons have one daughter, Chelsea, and two grandchildren, Charlotte and Aidan.

Chelsea is married to Marc Mezvinsky, a Jewish investment banker. The president-elect has another Jewish familial connection: Her younger brother, Tony Rodham, was once married to Nicole Boxer, the daughter of the Jewish senator from California Barbara Boxer. Clinton’s nephew traveled to Israel on Birthright this past summer.