Whether you hate her or love her, Hillary Clinton made history last week by becoming the first woman to lead the presidential ticket of a major political party in the United States.
“Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone,” Clinton said to supporters in Brooklyn. She went on to say the victory was not about just one person, but “belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.”
Women have come a long way. It wasn’t that long ago that women did not have the right to vote. And despite Clinton’s successes, we still have a long way to go as a nation.
Our nation wants a strong commander-in-chief. But what does that mean for a woman?
Men can be tough and warm at the same time — think Ronald Reagan — but for women, it’s not so simple. Come across as too tough and women get called the b-word, one of Clinton’s challenges in the likeability arena.
When Bernie Sanders yells, people perceive it as his passion and dedication to the cause.
When Clinton yells, it’s interpreted as “shrieking” and she gets put in a maternal role. Why is she screaming at me? Am I in trouble?
Clinton’s $12,000 jacket fiasco (now a $7,000 fiasco because it’s on sale), which she wore during a speech on income inequality in April, is just the latest chapter in the history of women in politics being called out for how much they spend on their appearance.
Donald Trump has been open about his favoritism towards Brioni suits, which cost $7,000 a pop, and no one has batted an eye.
Aside from Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and Germany’s Angela Merkel, few female politicians have made their way to the top echelon of a country’s leadership without the help of their family name. Think Hillary and Bill Clinton, Keiko and Alberto Fujimori of Peru, and the world’s first female prime minister, Ceylon’s Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who took over after her husband was assassinated while in office. Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto and India’s Indira Gandhi often invoked their departed fathers’ legacies while campaigning.
Has her marriage to Bill helped Hillary Clinton? Undoubtedly. But it would be unfair to say that that’s the only thing that has propelled her. Clinton was politically active long before she met Bill, and she established her own legal career. After her time as first lady, she became New York’s first female U.S. senator and later served as secretary of state under President Obama.
Still, some forget that Clinton is her own person. National Review’s Kevin Williamson wrote, “Mrs. Clinton is a lifelong political grifter who poses as a feminist champion while riding on the coattails of her husband…”
The Associated Press faced fierce backlash last week for declaring Clinton the winner of the Democratic primary before California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington, D.C. had voted. It triggered a wave of television and online reports that Clinton had won the race.
Clinton quickly tweeted to her more than 6 million followers that the race was not yet over and urged them to vote.
While it’s impossible to know what turnout would have been had the AP not called the race, there is some indication of depressed voter turnout.
Poll analyst Nate Silver said that, on the night of June 7, voter turnout in New Jersey and South Dakota was significantly lower than in the states’ last competitive Democratic primary in 2008. California’s turnout as of June 8 was only 24 percent. In comparison, presidential primary turnout was a whopping 55.8 percent in 2008.
When Clinton lost to Obama in 2008, she was hounded to line up like a good little girl and bring her supporters to the fold — or else. She gave a rousing speech at the Democratic Convention, released her nearly 2,000 delegates, and asked that Obama be nominated. She then made campaign appearances for Obama to help ensure his election, all the while being insulted as being “ego driven and power hungry.”
Today, Clinton leads Sanders by more than 3 million votes, almost 300 pledged delegates and more than 500 Super Delegates. Now, some say Clinton must unite the Democratic party and appease Sanders and his supporters.
Once again, the woman is called upon to make nice with everyone. What man is asked to do this?