In-depth

Clinton discusses extremely negative 2016 political atmosphere

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton sat down with Vox.com editor-in-chief Ezra Klein for a lengthy on-camera interview that was released on Monday. The two touched on a range of topics, including the nasty political atmosphere that has typified the 2016 race. At one point, Klein confronted Clinton with a rather inconvenient fact.

“Both you and [presumptive Republican presidential nominee] Donald Trump begin as the least favorably viewed major party nominees since we began polling,” Klein reminded Clinton. “What do you think are the background drivers of the higher polarization, higher bitterness, that seems to afflict politicians of both parties now?”

“The media environment — particularly the social media environment — drives negativity. It’s what captures eyeballs. It’s what gets people to tune in or log on. It is just human nature,” Clinton responded. “Saying something negative about somebody, whether it was a negative ad 30 years ago or a negative tweet or other allegations today — there’s just a really rich environment for that to capture people’s minds and change their attitudes.

“There’s a lot of behavioral science that if you attack someone endlessly — even if none of what you say is true — the very fact of attacking that person raises doubts and creates a negative perspective,” she continued. “As someone Exhibit A on that — since it has been a long time that I’ve been in that position — I get that.” Clinton went on to say that when she actually has a job her approval ratings are typically stellar — she cited 66 percent approval rating while she was secretary of state. But when she’s seeking a job, that’s when her approval ratings nosedive.

“But I am really confident that I can break through that and I can continue to build an electoral victory in November. And then once I’m doing the job, we’ll be back to people viewing me as the person doing the job instead of the person seeking the job,” she said.

The entire interview lasted for 40 minutes, and Clinton went in-depth on several topics, particularly on the controversial issue of immigration and whether the U.S. should double the number of immigrants it admits each year. Watch the full interview below.

Read the full story at Vox and read Klein’s take on interviewing Clinton here.

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