Few of us could have imagined an election scenario like the one before us. Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump? Revulsion is ripe on both sides of the aisle.
As a card-carrying member of both the #NeverTrump and #ImNotWithHer camps, I can easily list reasons why neither should inhabit the Oval Office as president. However, there’s something to be said for Hillary’s inabilities if she loses to Donald Trump, which could very well happen. I cannot stomach Hillary Clinton, but admit she has everything going for her.
Crimes? Scandals? Who Cares
More than once she herself has committed, or has been aware of, questionable or entirely criminal acts. However, she receives mostly free-and-clear treatment from the press, not to mention actual officials, regarding her private server scandal, classified email sending, and Clinton Foundation indiscretions. Her long history of being a Clinton, and all the deception that entails, is so 1990s that the mainstream media, and many voters, largely do not care about it anymore.
Journalists, for the most part, give no thought to how few press conferences she has held as a presidential candidate and nominee. If there is some sort of arranged question time, only softballs are thrown. Journalists fangirl and fanboy out, and love to hear that Hillary is sad a show she binged-watch has ended. They drool over their thought that she might just be a regular person. If she is victorious on election day, this softness and lack of transparency will just transfer to her administration.
Her health, while it is in no way the thing which should preclude her from the presidency, is mostly dismissed. It’s only pneumonia, exhaustion, or a coughing spell. She’s healthy, badass, powering through, and fully alert, everyone. The “strength of her sex” is evident in the midst of frailty, and is applauded. Excuses from doctors or campaign aides regarding health episodes are late in coming and rarely questioned.
It’s A Girl!
She’s a female. This alone qualifies her in the minds of too many enchanted voters. Election 2008’s obsessions with race has parlayed itself into obsession over gender, for the most part. Hillary would be a powerful symbol of women’s rights! Men have dominated American politics for too long! Nevermind her policies. Hillary would be good enough because she’s a she. Unsure? Look at this TIME article:
Honestly, being a woman who supports Hillary for any reason has been hard enough this cycle that I’m currently in four of the countless secret pro-Hillary groups that have proliferated on Facebook. Many thousands of people gather daily in these virtual rooms to commiserate and strategize about the sexism we face when we support Clinton, and share our excitement about her — her policies and politics, her superhuman tenacity, her legendary pantsuits, and yes, what she symbolizes. That we feel compelled to do most of this in private just illustrates how powerfully threatening that symbol is to the gender status quo. Which is exactly why it’s so important.
So yes, representation matters. It changes what we can imagine. And that change is sorely needed. Study after study shows that most of us are profoundly uncomfortable with women’s leadership, from the Harvard School of Education recent finding that students of all genders and races have the most confidence in white boys as student leaders, to the 2014 discovery by researchers at University of Illinois that hurricanes with female names tend to be more deadly, because people subconsciously associate female names with less power and impact.
Donald J. Trump
Of course, the literal elephant in the room is her opponent, Donald Trump. He is a politically inexperienced, offensive, racist, often incoherent, abrasive, reckless businessman with a publicly-shown short fuse. While it’s true many people like him, there are many others who do not. He has turned off long-time GOPers from even voting Republican this cycle. Some are even so disgusted that they’re voting for Hillary, instead.
If you line all of these up in the “pros” column, Hillary has a lot happening for her. Yes, she’s horrible. Yes, I hope she loses. In fact, I hope Trump loses, too. But unfortunately, I know one of them will win the presidency. Hillary Clinton has been anointed as next in line and is propped up from every direction. If she does happen to lose this election, she really is a loser.