Hillary Clinton's qualifications were no match for sexism - Macleans.ca

Hillary Clinton’s qualifications were no match for sexism

Hillary Clinton has failed, writes Anne Kingston—as do the dreams of suffragettes with her

The grave of women's suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony is covered with "I Voted" stickers left by voters in the U.S. presidential election, at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York November 8, 2016. (Adam Fenster/Reuters)

The grave of women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony is covered with “I Voted” stickers left by voters in the U.S. presidential election. (Adam Fenster/Reuters)

On Tuesday night, Mount Hope cemetery in Rochester, N.Y., was the unlikely site of joy and optimistic celebration. The final resting place of Susan B. Anthony, the famed suffragette, has long been a voter pilgrimage. This year, hours were extended as visitors, for the first time in history, could post an “I Voted” sticker for a female presidential nominee on her tombstone. People, most women wearing white, the hue of rebirth worn by suffragettes, lined for hours. Anthony wasn’t the only women’s rights pioneer so remembered; so were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and also Ida B. Wells, who bravely fought for black women’s inclusion in the electorate. It was Anthony who said, “There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.” A century and decade after her death, that hope remains unfulfilled as Hillary Clinton failed in her second quest to be the first female U.S. president. Or to employ the vulgar parlance of her opponent’s campaign: “The bitch was Trumped.”

The fact Clinton was widely viewed as one of, if not the, most qualified candidates to run for president would prove irrelevant in the face of Donald Trump’s ability to tap into the fear-based nativism, isolationism, protectionism, anti-immigration—a platform the KKK endorsed—creating seismic political shifts globally. “Crooked Hillary” was usefully marshalled into a living symbol of the Washington Establishment; her decades of political experience were reduced to a case study in pay-for-play access, even though she remains a scandal looking for a crime. The self-proclaimed billionaire real-estate tycoon and reality-TV boss sold himself more successfully as standing up for the little guy than Clinton, the long-time women’s rights advocate.

Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters after voting at Douglas Grafflin Elementary School on November 8, 2016 in Chappaqua, New York. Hillary Clinton cast her ballot in the presidential election as the rest of America goes to the polls to decide between her and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton greets supporters after voting at Douglas Grafflin Elementary School on November 8, 2016 in Chappaqua, New York. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Trump’s pledge to “Make America Great Again” paradoxically entails returning to the very past that created generations of feminist political activism. He promised to appoint a Supreme Court that will reverse Roe v. Wade and has spoken of punishing women who obtain abortions. Anthony must be spinning in her grave: “No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent,” she said. Trump couldn’t have prevailed without the support of women, Hispanics, African Americans. Now we can look to Newt Gingrich, who infamously slut-shamed a woman who advocated that birth control be covered by insurance, being floated as potential secretary of state and Rudy Giuliani, who called Clinton too “stupid” to be president, as attorney general.

Rarely have campaigns been as polarized and ugly; a contest that revealed virulent misogyny, racism and extremism is alive and well in 2016 America. “No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party who ignores her sex,” Anthony once said. Trump didn’t ignore women, of course. He treated them as objects there for his pleasure. Americans have chosen for their president a man who admitted to sexually assaulting women on tape, while denying sexual assault claims from more than a dozen women.

Better him, the public said, than an unlikeable woman, a “deeply flawed” woman, an “unpresidential” candidate, which is code for “not a man.” In an interview with the CBC last weekend, author Malcolm Gladwell spoke of sexism faced by Clinton: “People had a mental notion, a pre-existing mental notion of what a female candidate would look like and she doesn’t look like it,” he said. Sadly, the obvious follow-up wasn’t asked: “What does that candidate look like?” Elizabeth Warren? Nancy Pelosi? Or more fiction: Tea Leoni in Madam Secretary? Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep?

A textbook case of stealth sexism was seen in the September release of hacked emails from Colin Powell, secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration, on DCLeaks.com, a website with reported ties to Russian intelligence. In them, Powell called Trump a “national disgrace.” Of Clinton, he said: “I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect. A 70-year-old person [Clinton was then 68] with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, non-transformable, with a husband still dicking bimbos at home (according to the [New York Post]).”

It was a reminder that Clinton’s accomplishments have been so minimized as to be mind-boggling. It has only been 97 years since women won the right to vote in the U.S. and 52 years since that right was protected for black women in the Jim Crow South; another 22 years after that, Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman on the presidential ticket as vice-presidential running mate to Walter Mondale in 1984. It would be 24 years before another woman, Sarah Palin, ran for a major party. Clinton faced violent threats, including repeated calls to “Lock her up,” a chant Trump promised to make reality should he be elected. It can’t help but put one in mind of another Anthony statement: “Resolved, that the women of this nation in 1876 have greater cause for discontent, rebellion and revolution than the men of 1776.” Despite epic advances achieved over the intervening century, many women in the United States of America can now say the same.


Hillary Clinton’s qualifications were no match for sexism

  1. ….’she remains a scandal looking for a crime. ‘

    I don’t think younger women realize just how much hatred there is out there for females, as they didn’t live through the 60s

    • This had nothing to do with sexism and had the Dems picked any other candidate they would be in the WH but probably still lost the House and the Senate. With the significant number of female elected officials around the world including a good number of female US Governors, Senators, Congressional members your comment does not hold water. With women outnumbering men in the US, had she been able to attract all of the female voters she would probably be in but many of them detested her.
      I know a good number of women friends in the US and most voted for Trump they tell me.
      You need to get over this stinking thinking and analyse the situation.

      • You need to get over your sexism…..and the old line’ some o my best friends are……’

        • But the question still remains – if women at large preferred female candidates, Hillary would be President-elect; but she’s not – so what does that tell you about women voters? You can reject the message (false consciousness, whatever you would like to wave your hands about) – but that is the fact.

  2. So here we have the MSM, who got it so wrong leading up to this election, now telling us the reason Trump won. You didn’t have a clue during the election so I don’t have much confidence in your post election analysis either.

  3. just heard one pundit say..”she lost to the most unpopular presidential candidate in recent history”…doesnt that mean she was/is the most unpopular? to all of the media..you won for trump…you just kept telling white men how stupid and insignificant we are..and each time one of you did that… more said why would i vote for people who think i am stupid?

    • ‘she lost TO’….

      And she said nothing about white men being stupid, neither did pundits….although judging by your post….

  4. Yes, you are correct… “no match for sexism.” Those who voted for Hillary simply because she had a vagina were way off base. Being female is NOT a reason to vote for the leader of the free world. In fact, to do so shows an infantile lack of political knowledge. Carly Fiorina would have been a much better choice. Would those women have voted for her?

    • Hillary was the most qualified candidate the US ever had for president

      • many things look good on paper but do not live up to their potential.
        Hillary has a good resume, but when you ask questions, she is lacking

        • Don’t be daft

      • Show me ONE actual accomplishment, other than marrying Bill. She was (no doubt) more qualified than Obama (the source of that quote) – but that’s setting the bar at ground-level

  5. Oh please, Kingston. You and your ilk have excoriated female politicians on the right for decades, but when the electorate rejects the criminally corrupt Clinton they’re suddenly sexist? I’ll bet dimes to donuts you openly derided Margararet Thatcher, Sarah Palin, and even Carly Fiorina, but people couldn’t get past Hillary’s corruption and they’re automatically bigots or sexists. Do you even think before you type?

    • Now try going over that once again without the drink in your hand.

    • Greenwood, do “you and your trolling ilk” know the difference between a columnist and a news reporter?
      You tend to spend an inordinate amount of time commenting on Kingston’s columns for someone who holds her writing in such low esteem. Why is that? Also, as a stickler for “facts”, perhaps you could back up your assertions of her deriding Thatcher, Palin and Fiorina, as well as the charges that Clinton was found guilty of that makes her a “criminal”. Dimes to donuts says that you can’t. Do you even think before you type?

      • Fair enough, Jim. Should Ms. Kingston be kind enough to post links to past work showing that she has actually written supportive words of Fiorina, Thatcher, or Palin, I will submit a genuine apology.
        However, if the left writes hateful stuff about Thatcher, or Palin, or Fiorina, and it would denude our boreal forests if you were to print all the hateful stuff I’ve read from the left about just those three, then it behooves someone who claims that failing to vote for the criminally corrupt Clinton is sexism, to express similar thoughts about the treatment of the aforementioned ladies by her feminist fellow travellers.

        • Bill, unless something has changed, the burden of proof relies on the prosecution, not the defendant. No-one asked for an apology, but in these times of heated rhetoric (by both “sides”, because it’s everywhere) a little civility goes a long way. Bias in inherent in everyone, and it’s abundantly clear what Kingston’s position has been on this election. She is columnist, not a news reporter. So to keep coming back and getting wound up over her opinions is a bit like kicking a rock repeatedly and wondering why your foot hurts each and every time that you do it.
          Stay well.

          • Cuts both ways, Jim. Kingston has made the bold statement that the criminally corrupt Clinton was denied the White House because of sexism. A demonstrable failure as Secretary of State and notoriously fluid as to her deepest personal convictions, those had nothing to do with discomfort about Clinton in some quarters. The tremendous body of evidence that suggests Clinton is corrupt to the core and ethically bankrupt had nothing to do with it to others. No, it was solely sexism.
            Look, the list of issues a great deal of us have with Clinton reads like a Russian novel, so sexism being the cause of her loss is a stretch akin to saying the only reason Adam Sandler hasn’t been awarded an Oscar is because of Hollywood’s inherent anti-Semitism.
            It’s possible but ain’t exactly likely.
            My point is that Kingston tends to expound a point of view very much in synch with those who have spewed a litany of bilious tripe at Fiorina, Palin, Thatcher, and other conservative women. Did Kingston pause in her scribbling so to denounce those “progressive liberal” voices as sexist? Did she decry Fiorina’s (I was hoping for her to win the GOP race just because I thought she’d wipe the floor with Clinton) early exit from the Republican race as the result of sexism? I harbour doubts. If the mendacious and execrable Kathleen Wynne is bounced from office in the wake of multiple scandals and gross mismanagement, will that be sexism, too?
            The problem with the left is that it can’t ever accept a loss at the ballot box at face value. It never accepts that the electorate may have had perfectly valid reasons for rejecting their candidate or agenda. It’s never that. It’s always some underlying flaw, some horrible dysfunction alien to leftist sensibilities that afflicts the right and causes them to unjustly deny the lions of progressivism from their rightful places in the Ivory Towers.

  6. If I’m not mistaken, this article fails to list and define the actual qualifications and/or accomplishments that were subsequently overmatched by all the claimed sexism.

  7. what is truly sexist is to look past a persons many, many flaws simply because of their sex.
    Clinton was uninspiring and created many of her own problems. Trump didn’t beat her, she failed to get her vote out.
    Trumps vote was lower than his predecessor by 1 million. Clintons vote was lower than her predecessor by 5 million. She was a poor candidate not because she was a woman, but because she is not an inspiring human being.

    • Golly, look folks



      • now try again without a drink in your hand

  8. Sure just overlook the fact that she manipulated the electoral process by conspiring with the DNC to rig the primaries against Bernie and blame it on sexism. The people of the US are sick of the status quo manipulating their lives so that the rich can get richer.

    But columns like this pretty much reinforce the idea of bias in media. It can not possibly be that the voters are sick of the politicians (despite their low polling) and the direction the country is headed. Instead it must be racism and sexism.

    The Democratic Party sold itself a long time ago to the big banks at the expense of the people and everyone took note of that.

    If the democrats keep thinking that way they will never get reelected.

  9. I believe two things contributed to Hillary loosing the election. 1) She always seemed to following a script, too coached, didn’t show her true self. People don’t like a leader who always seems to be guarded, like they are hiding something. She finally did come out of her shell during her speech the next day, but obviously it was too late. 2) There were too many issues that came up during her campaign that caused people to question her integrity, ie: FBI investigations, questions about Benghazi, leaked emails etc…this all created a sense that this person can’t be trusted. The sad part is that these issues came up right after or at the same time as silly statements that Trump was making and unfortunately Hillary’s bad press “trumped” Trump’s bad press. Being a woman had nothing to do with this election. I also believe that her team fully underestimated Trump’s campaign. It is easy to convince people of a certain thing, be it true or false if you forcefully say it and repeat it enough times. Donald knew 100% the section of voters he was appealing too and took full advantage.

  10. I wonder if all the hundreds of millions of dollars collected by Hillary, Bill, Chelsea, and the Clinton Foundation from individuals, Corporations, and foreign Governments while Hillary was Secretary of State and subsequently when she launched her Presidential campaign as pay-for-play future benefits and favors on the certainty of her becoming the next President of the United States of America carried a money-back guarantee if she failed in her election bid?
    I am fairly certain there will be absolutely no refunds.
    Oh, well. The donors can take some comfort in the fact that some of the funds will be spent on worthy charitable causes.

  11. The Clintons are hustlers. A lot of people didn’t want to put them back in there and give them another bite at the apple, they have shown time and time again that they will promise anything, and only deliver if it’s in their interests or if it’s still possible after they and their financial backers and cronies have cashed in. Now Bill doesn’t arouse the same kind of hatred that Hillary does, and I agree that it’s in some way due to sexism. There are different expectations that we as a society place on the different genders and so on. But I think it’s mostly because Bill has a certain charisma, he’s that really charming type of sociopath. He can get up there and talk and make people believe that he actually gives a damn. Hillary just isn’t capable of that. You can tell that she’s a cold-hearted bitch and every time she talks she’s just trying to work whoever is listening, for her own benefits.

    People who haven’t really followed politics or her career can just tell when she talks that there is something off about her, and people who have know that she will always put her and her associate’s interests before that of the citizens, and that she never tells the truth unless she’s been forced to by circumstance. If her and Bill had some self-control and didn’t gorge themselves on foreign donors and investment banks during her time as SOS and after, she would have had less scandal surrounding her and a much better chance of winning. But if they had that self-control they wouldn’t be who they are. If Trump does as crappy of a job as we’re all expecting and Michelle decides to run in 2020, you will see how much all that sexism is actually worth.

  12. Clinton didn’t lose the election because of sexism.

    She lost because she didn’t win the majority of white women. And she lost because she didn’t win the majority of working class white women. If she had won either, she would have won the election.

    She was defeated by her own “identity” groups. She is a white woman, and she comes from a white working class family where her mother was a working class white woman.

    She couldn’t win the majority of her own “tribe”. She lost white women. And she lost white working class women.

  13. Anne, you and Gilmore should smash your heads together and ‘maybe’ you might come up with one cognitive brain, but I’m not putting money on it. :-)