“She doesn’t have the stamina”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and consequential loss of the US 2016 Presidential election symbolises a key moment in time for women across the world. It is clear that the white, (semi) working-class members of the American public feel disregarded by the political elite, which has widened divisions in society throughout the course of the Obama administration. Donald Trump’s victory represents a very clear rejection of a political establishment and economic system that has not been working for a vast proportion of people in America today. It is common practice for an opposition party to trump another (pardon the pun) when the public begins to feel that their views are not being reflected by the government, but what is most baffling about this election in particular is that the most qualified presidential candidate of this generation was defeated by, undoubtedly, the most unqualified of all time. Countless people have explained this result by highlighting Trump’s ability to appeal to disenfranchised, anti-establishment voters. However, a much more polarising ‘elephant in the room’ is the fact that the American people were more comfortable with seeing a bigoted, under qualified, tax-evading, judgemental, xenophobic man in the Whitehouse than a woman.


Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, stated that “To be elected as a woman, you have to be twenty times as good as your opponent” – and the recent elections have simply confirmed this. Hillary did what every professional, driven, ‘good’ woman should do – she put her head down and worked hard, devoted her entire life to the beliefs she holds most dear and calmly waited her turn to represent her country. Certainly, she made mistakes en route and not everyone can agree with her policies – but it is difficult to understand why voters, the media and public figures thought it was acceptable to condemn her so brutally, when the majority of her opponent’s actions are completely indefensible. Factors such as this have contributed to a so-called ambition gap amongst women, meaning that they are much less likely to be encouraged or recruited to run for higher political or professional positions as they continually underestimate their own abilities.

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It would be unfair and unjust to completely condemn Trump’s presidency before it has even began. We can only hope that, despite the policies advocated throughout his campaign, he is going to unite people. Even though the political future of America is for now largely ambiguous, what remains clear is that there is still work to do for women across the world. It is of upmost importance for women to not become disheartened by Hillary’s loss, but instead use it as a springboard for endeavours towards a more equal and just future. The 2016 US Presidential elections had the potential to be the greatest day in the entirety of women’s long march towards equality – but we must now remind ourselves that this particular day is yet to come, and we can only look forward to it.


Ellie Davies – 11/11/2016

1 Comment

  1. This feminist perspective on Clinton misses the point that she was the wrong female candidate at this point in history. Conservative forces elsewhere have no problem with May or Merkel and many female candidates have been elected in the US to Congress. There were other strong female potential candidates weeded out by the DNC for the candidate by divine right.

    Why was she the wrong candidate! First, she was a ‘dynast’ – that is, she expressed the sense of entitlement around a set of family and friends. Second, her ‘experience’ was in running a system which around half the population (and possibly many more) considered bankrupt in terms of shared and fair prosperity and the conduct of foreign affairs.

    Regardless of her many fine qualities, this sense that a bankrupt system run by a clique of entitled people offended many Americans, including (it would seem) some 40% of women, meant that the Democrats had simply chosen the wrong person regardless of her gender. That it was to do with her gender in danger of becoming one of many myths that stopsthe DNC in particular asking some tough questions about its nature and conduct and that of the system which it maintains.

    There were other issues. Her track record in foreign policy was worrysome, a mere extension of the hawkishness of the Bush years and likely to have become more so based on her campaign rhetroric. She quickly drew back from her feminist identity position early on (no doubt on advice) but Democrat identity politics (challenged by Sanders) created the conditions for contra-identities to be created by the alt.right.

    Trump is the creation of Democrat coalitional strategies that have emphasised (say) feminism or ethnic identity over a common American heritage, setting urban liberal and blacks against rural and small town whites and creating the conditions for division. Trump’s team merely ‘detourned’ Democrat strategy on itself.

    Clinton was about putting a cherry on the cake of a sectional interest, a particular class of urban liberal women, and a feminism that permits women to be equal opportunity managers of WMD and special operations is not really doing much for the real engine of equality which is raising people out of poverty and giving them healthcare and education.

    In fact, she still got a bare majority of the popular vote and should by moral rights be President but her Presidency might, in its own way, have been as reactionary as that of Trump. Many working people, faced with the choice, chose not on male chauvinism but on a rational assessment of their own interest in a broken system whose leaders took them for granted.


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