This is what almost happened.
In Hillary Clinton’s memoir “What Happened,” the failed presidential candidate lays out the alternate history that would have happened immediately after her anticipated win on Election Night.
As Clinton tells it, she had a victory speech ready to go even though her concession speech — which she “preferred not to think much about” — was still just a draft.
As she watched election results at New York’s Peninsula Hotel, anticipating a historic victory, Clinton believed her earliest moments as President-elect would be judged by “how well I reached out to disaffected Trump voters.” She saw her victory speech as a “first test.”
Clinton planned to take the stage at Manhattan’s Javits Center — chosen in part for its symbolic glass ceiling — and stand on a set in the shape of the United States, with the podium imposed over Texas.
She would then launch into a speech saying that her victory showed the country was above Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric.
“We will not be an ‘us versus them’ country,” she planned to say.
“The American dream is big enough for everyone.”
She would promise to be “a President for all Americans” — a line Trump used word-for-word in his own victory speech.
Clinton intended to end her speech by celebrating her status as the first female President — with a tribute to her late mother, Dorothy.
“I think about my mother every day,” she would have said.
“I dream of going up to her, and sitting down next to her, taking her in my arms, and saying, ‘Look at me. Listen to me. You will survive. You will have a good family on your own, and three children. And as hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will grow up and become the President of the United States.”
Clinton ended up making no remarks on Election Day, staying behind the scenes as Trump racked up an upset victory.
She emerged the morning after, in the New Yorker hotel, with a concession speech completed in the wee hours of the morning.
Clinton said the initial draft of that speech was “too combative,” and assured Americans afraid of Trump that she would keep fighting for them.
“Did people even want me to fight for them?” she writes.
“Was there any point in making in argument now?”
The former secretary of state ordered another draft with a more conciliatory tone, saying Trump deserved “an open mind.”
Clinton says she took cold comfort in at least prevailing in the popular vote by nearly three million votes. But fewer than 100,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania handed the Electoral College to Trump.
Clinton repeatedly knocks the Electoral College in the book, calling it “godforsaken” and an “archaic fluke” that should be eliminated.