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I don’t think John’s argument was that Hillary was popular —according to the HuffPost Pollster on the day before the election, she was the second most disliked presidential nominee in modern American history after Donald Trump. I would imagine that even the most ardent partisan wouldn’t argue that being 15 percentage points underwater made a politician popular in the eyes of the public. I presume John only meant that Clinton’s plurality in the popular vote indicated that America, despite the Electoral College outcome, preferred her — however narrowly — over Trump. Reading between the lines, it seems clear to me that the implications within John’s comment are that Clinton’s victory in the popular vote gives him hope that much of Trump’s campaign proposals won’t be realized due to public opposition, and that Democratic prospects for near-future elections are fairly good (I tend to agree with the first implicit prediction, and less so with the second: as damaged and flawed as Hillary Clinton was, I think Trump’s campaign hurt him more than Clinton’s baggage did her [essentially, I mean that if the two presidential nominees in 2020 were the “average” candidates from each party, respectively, and uncontrollable events in the news benefited neither, the Democrat would most likely fare somewhat worse in the popular vote]).

For the second half of your reply — specifically, about Clinton being a “serial liar, corrupt grifter and mendacious psychopath” — I’ll try to keep it relatively brief (although I’m not sure I’ll succeed, not least because I’m taking the time to type out these very words about how I might fail to succeed); the burden of proof is on the individual making the assertion. I’m not going to defend Clinton as an angel, or as anywhere near one. Given your...surprisingly charitable description of her, my goal is only to convince you that you may not be entirely correct in believing that she’s the devil incarnate.

We both know that all politicians lie and distort at least some of the time; I venture that you’re concerned with the degree of Clinton’s lying. So I present to you Exhibit One: PolitiFact’s files on Clinton and Trump. Given your apparently fierce intelligence and breadth of political knowledge (I hope you’ll forgive me for scrolling through your comment history), I’ll assume that you’re familiar with the referenced site and won’t require a brief explanation of its content. So — while the statements from a given politician PolitiFact checks for accuracy aren’t statistically representative of all the statements said politician would make, there would have to be an overt bias in what the site’s journalists deem significant enough to fact-check for it to even be likely that Clinton speaks falsehoods or outright lies at least as often as Trump does. You can look through each of their files and determine for yourself whether the disparity between Trump’s 71 percent and Clinton’s 26 percent of statements rated as some degree of false can be fully explained by bias. It should be obvious that I doubt this is the case. This part of my response also covers the first term — about Clinton’s mendacity — in your third characterization of her.

It’s admittedly more difficult to rebut your assertions that she’s a con artist and that she has a greatly diminished capacity for empathy; apart from some quite abhorrent comments supposedly uttered by Clinton in private company, we don’t have more to go off of than how she conducts herself in public. My interpretation of her behavior in the public sphere is that she was genuinely passionate about most of the issues she spoke about during her campaign (I concede that some of the remaining issues she included in her platform may have been based on polling data more than anything else — although it’s not unlikely that she underwent a personal evolution on a handful of issues she previously held a different view on at roughly the same time public opinion surveys indicated that the American populace did).

For the psychopath charge: My view is that she does care for people and that much (but certainly not all) of the common perception that she was cold and calculating came from the fact that she’s a introvert who’s more comfortable with policy than with people. Going off of a script drafted by aides would never have been able to give her the true warmth and charisma necessary to connect with voters in the way being a natural politician (e.g. Obama, her husband) would’ve.

Regardless, I won’t be able to prove the negative beyond reasonable doubt. I await your evidence to the contrary.

(Oh, and I do apologize for making this reply longer than I intended to — the good thing is that it takes far longer to write a response than to read one of the same length.)