As the call for Clinton to end her campaign picks up momentum, some of her supporters choose to characterize the attacks on her as gender bias. Misoginy, they yell loudly. They lament that even today, there is a great divide along gender lines, and that Clinton-the-feminist-leader is its latest victim. There is likely some truth to this; after all, as is the case with many marginalized groups in U.S. society, women still have significant social justice real estate to gain.
But if we must be probing — more importantly, if we must be honest — in thinking about where Clinton failed, we cannot limit our analysis to the larger gender bias at play. More to the point, we cannot dismiss the argument that she did this to herself. We cannot dismiss the grave miscalculations her campaign has made — and continues to make — about the 21st century U.S. electorate. Most recently, HRC’s comment about Obama not capturing the support of “hard working whites” has inspired a new round of attacks from all sides. Angry emails sent to superdelegates by Clinton supporters threatening defecting if Obama got the nomination have also made things even more ugly all around.
Is this the behavior of a stateswoman? Is this the behavior of a feminist leader? As a member of this 21st century U.S. electorate, I speak from the heart to HRC handlers when I say:
I am not awed by tough talk, not impressed by aggression. I am not moved by negative electioneering. I will not be manipulated by spin. I am not a single-issue, single-serve voter prospect. I am not a passive consumer of information. I do not subscribe to divisiveness, however feminist its window dressing.
I submit that HRC has not only failed in her campaign for the Democratic nomination but also in promoting the key ideals of feminism: fairness, commitment to social justice, genuine empowerment. Further, I argue that she has tainted feminism with her brutish, egomaniac demeanor.
Her bigoted and divisive comments in the campaign trail have betrayed the goal of feminism for social and political change — of widening and deepening citizen engagement in the political process to faciliate real change. Instead of cultivating idealism, she planted cynicism. Instead of inspiring honest dialogue about social justice, she championed hypocrisy and fear-mongering. Instead of leading with dignity, she led with egotism, arrogance and the same naked sense of entitlement that she and her supporters claim of combating in men.
One immigrant woman sums up what I think is so wrong about HRC’s failed campaign:
“She has hurt the cause of women for choosing, unwisely, to fight in the gutter and filth of the old-style politics of white men. She has turned out to be rather self-centered and blindly ambitious. These are not qualities I appreciate in a man or a woman.”
See a related post below where Executive Editor of the Nation, Betsy Reed, examines the debate raging within the feminist community regarding the Hillary Campaign:
Betsy Reed: How Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Played the Race Card—and Drove a Wedge into the Feminist Movement
Create then compete: R. Bong Vergara