As the number of days in the Race for the White House dwindle, and the polls tighten, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is getting palpably desperate. This was made clear on Sunday, when the campaign enlisted the President of the United States to stand up in a room and tell donors that if Clinton does not win the presidency, it’s because “We as a society still grapple with what it means to see powerful women.”
Finding themselves in the previously incomprehensible position of having a shot at losing the White House to the guy who hosted “Celebrity Apprentice,” the Clinton campaign is pulling out all the stops, up to and including the old gender-baiting tropes. These emotional appeals are as hackneyed as they are intellectually dishonest, and they are the very embodiment of the reason Hillary Clinton is underperforming: she’s spent her entire presidential campaign trying to piss on our leg and tell us it’s raining.
President Obama rightly pointed out that “This should not be a close election but it will be,” but he is wrong in arguing that Hillary’s flaws have nothing to do with that fact. The primary reason she finds herself struggling in this race more than she should is her years-long trust deficit.
Clinton suffers this trust deficit with several cross-sections of voters, including those who should theoretically be progressive and open-minded enough to value a powerful woman in the White House. In an August poll from WaPo/ABC, an abysmal 43 percent of women surveyed indicated that they found Clinton trustworthy. Just 32 percent of respondents aged 18-39 told pollsters she was trustworthy, the lowest numbers of all age groups surveyed. And an equally-sad 40 percent of college graduates said they considered Clinton to be honest and trustworthy.
If Clinton loses, it will be because voters are tired of being talked down to just because they have serious questions about her honesty and trustworthiness.
Women are smart. Some looking for easy page views would argue millennials are stupid, but the fact is they are a highly-educated part of the voting demographic—and you have to do something right to graduate from college. These are not the types who would vote against a candidate because she is female. These are smart voters who do their research, and still think Hillary Clinton has a lot of explaining to do.
Like explaining her email servers. Or how she handled classified data. Why so many documents that were requested over a year ago still haven’t been released. Explaining why the Clinton Foundation takes donations from people who legitimately DO oppress women.
But, rather than have those difficult conversations with the American public, the Clinton campaign is falling back on their ace in the hole: Clinton is a woman. If she does poorly, she will be a victim of her womanhood. And, in telling us that Clinton will be a victim of her womanhood, her campaign is chilling the important and growing influence that women have in America.
In our country, 53 percent of voters are women—big business for political consultants and a highly-coveted portion of the electorate. Women are outpacing men substantially in many areas of education, with a whopping 57.4 percent of all Bachelor’s Degrees awarded in 2009-2010 being earned by women. Women may not rule the world (just yet), but we’re setting the foundation to do so.
So, for our president to stand in a room full of rich men AND women and say that if Hillary Clinton does not win the presidency it will be because she is a woman is a cheap political ploy—and a slap in the face to all women who work hard for a better life. It’s untrue, and it’s an insult to the women, the young voters, and the college graduates who have serious, and consistent, concerns about whether Hillary Clinton will be a trustworthy and honest president.
Are there a bunch of losers and trolls who make and share asinine memes about Clinton’s weight and looks? Of course. But let’s be clear: those people are uncreative, and do so for lack of a better or more articulate way to talk about their grievances with her. Enlisting the President of the United States to get up and preemptively declare Clinton a victim of her womanhood for political points is the political insider version of those idiot memes I see too often on my newsfeed: reductive, insulting arguments that paint with a broad brush to gloss over debates of substance.
If Clinton loses, it will be because voters are tired of being talked down to just because they have serious questions about a presidential candidate’s honesty and trustworthiness.