Hillary Clinton is America's Biggest—And Most Important—Loser

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Hillary Clinton speaking during a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 2, 2016. Jewel Samad, Getty

Hillary Clinton's election loss can still be seen and felt across the country, just as if it were that same night in early November when millions were glued to their screens, witnessing a stunning moment of history in real time. Now, six months into a presidency that isn't hers, the former Democratic candidate continues battling criticisms from all sides of the nation, as if she were still on the ballot.

The right covers her flaws with tunnel vision, even as a failed candidate with no tangible influence in policymaking or domestic affairs, focusing on Clinton while explosive new reports undermine the ethics of Donald Trump's White House. To this day, she is used as a scapegoat to avoid any real criticism of the president by conservative media: the same hour it was announced Donald Trump failed in rallying his party behind a landmark health care bill (unlike his predecessor in 2010), Fox News was pushing a conspiracy theory that she was instead the one guilty of collusion during the 2016 presidential election with the Ukrainians—not the Russians, nor the Trump campaign.

Related: Hillary Clinton Is President in an Alternate Universe, Where America Is Great Again

The most popular cable news network has steadily pushed fake news about Clinton in Trump's America. When she delivered a commencement speech at her alma matter, one of the first times she spoke in public since the election, the pundits were back to promoting false claims the 69-year-old grandmother was secretly terribly ill. Newscasters mocked her for sharing the pain she felt after losing the election, claiming she should "go back to the woods" where she belongs, and adding that she clearly never possessed the stamina to be president.

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Hillary Clinton speaking during a event on climate change at Miami Dade College-Kendall Campus in Miami, Florida October 11, 2016. Timothy A. Clary, Getty

"She started the speech actually with a coughing fit that required them to bring her water and a lozenge," Fox News contributor and former MTV Real World cast member Rachel Campos-Duffy said at the time. "So, quite the juxtaposition to how strong our president looked this week traveling, you know, all the way to the Middle East and Europe. After resting and drinking chardonnay, and cleaning her closets like she talked about in her speech you would presume she'd be in better shape."

When John McCain shared that same pain with his supporters after losing to former President Barack Obama, telling an audience "after I lost, my friends, I slept like a baby—sleep two hours, wake up and cry," he didn't experience the same pointed critiques by the left for appearing emotional or weak.

The rightwing media's unregulated progression into spreading fake news and misinformation is nothing new, especially when the target is a successful and highly-distinguished woman. But even Democrats and the leftwing media have railed on Clinton for having the audacity to remain a public figure after losing to Trump, the same way McCain did, and Al Gore, and Mitt Romney, and virtually every other candidate who lost a presidential election.

But Clinton's case is entirely unique, as no other woman in American politics has ever risen so far. She hasn't expressed a desire to serve in elected office since conceding to Trump, not even for a mayoral bid in her hometown of New York City. Whereas typical losing presidential candidates would often be invited back into politics by their own parties soon after their losses, the way McCain and others have like John Kerry, much of the far left wants nothing to do with Clinton. Even some of her own aides think her speaking out is bad for the country.

"She's apparently still really, really angry. I mean, we all are. The election was stolen from her, and that's how she feels," one aide told The Hill following one of her first speeches after the election, in which Clinton described her battle to the White House. "But to go out there publicly again and again and talk about it? And then blame the DNC? It's not helpful to Democrats. It's not helpful to the country, and I don't think it's helpful to her."

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Hillary Clinton leaving after a campaign rally in Sanford, Florida, on November 1, 2016. Jewel Samad, Getty

"How can we 'Move On Together' if Hillary Clinton won't go away?" Boston Herald contributor Adriana Cohen wrote. "Hey, Hillary Clinton, shut the f--- up and go away already," liberal columnist Gersh Kuntzman—who voted for Clinton—wrote in May.

And yet, despite all of the odds and obstacles against her, including a foreign adversary suspected to have influenced the election for her opponent, Clinton garnered the support of 65,853,516 Americans; nearly three million more than Trump, and the most out of any losing candidate. She didn't break the glass ceiling on November 8, but her persistent influence, and undeniable ability to remain one of the most important people in the United States, continues to chip away at it every day.

Those factors make Clinton, a former first lady, secretary of state and the first female candidate of a major party, America's biggest and most important loser yet.

Hillary Clinton is America's Biggest—And Most Important—Loser | Opinion