Whenever Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity is discussed, there are three issues that come up repeatedly. First, the Benghazi incident. Second, her emails. Third, the Clinton Foundation.
However, none of those issues is the real basis for her unpopularity.
BENGHAZI: There were eight hearings held on Benghazi spearheaded by the Republicans which cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. They were unable to find anything to hold her directly responsible for – and everyone knows how hard the GOP must have tried.
EMAILS: Tens of thousands reviewed by the FBI and other than the fact that a woman in her 60’s should probably not have assumed that a private server was actually private, should have carried two phones, and should have been more careful, the FBI found no criminal wrongdoing. As for the emails now being released by Wikileaks, they are mostly John Podesta’s emails and only show that the Clinton camp was planning political strategy like every other political camp does. Besides, there are good reasons why those Wikileaks emails are not credible. (See my other post about Julian Assange).
CLINTON FOUNDATION: Let’s not forget that this Foundation has received 4 stars from both Charity Watch and Charity Navigator, files tax returns as a non-profit, and can and has established that the majority of its funds goes towards solving global problems such as hunger, education, and HIV. In any case, Hillary Clinton was not part of the Foundation while she served as Secretary of State, was not involved in the sale of the uranium mine to Russia which the media and Trump tried to make a big deal about, and that sale required and received the approval of 8 other government agencies over which she had no control.
Compare all of those things to what Trump has done (the continual lying, the insults hurled against people of color, POWs, a gold star family who lost their son in battle, a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage, the media, other Republicans, and, of course, women, his refusal to release his tax returns, the numerous shady deals made through his Trump Foundation, his tax plan which he says will help the American people but is designed to benefit the rich, his failure as a businessman, his past of discriminating against blacks when renting apartments in his buildings, his disparaging remarks about an Indian tribe when he was trying to prevent them from getting a gaming license, his admission that he has committed sexual assault against women, his most recent claims that everything relating to this election is rigged against him, etc.) and it’s absolutely no contest. It’s absolutely clear who the liar and crook really is.
So, why is Hillary still so unpopular in so many States? One article I read suggests that it’s because she doesn’t come across as warm or approachable; no one knows what she does “for fun”. Another mentioned that she should smile more. Comments have been made about the pants suits that she wears. Those comments, whether or not the people who made them realize it, illustrates a major problem that Hillary Clinton faces – gender bias.
As a professional woman who has worked in a field dominated by men, I fully understand the narrow line that Hillary Clinton has to walk. For example, when a man walks into a meeting to negotiate a deal, he can be brash and aggressive, even condescending, and although many may consider him a jerk, he’s still thought of as strong and a formidable opponent. If a woman behaves the same way, people will call her a “bitch”, say that she’s being overly emotional, and make remarks about PMS. And yet, if a woman comes across as caring or too friendly in a male-dominated environment, she’s thought of as “weak”. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Disturbingly, it isn’t only men who feel this way. A white female supporter of Trump who was interviewed on television said that when she thinks of a President, she thinks of a man because women have “hormones”.
So many women who are serious about their careers develop a professional persona. They try to come to meetings more prepared than their male counterparts. They try to dress appropriately – not too sexy, not too “mannish”. ( I, too, began wearing pants suits when I heard a man murmur “Hmmm…sexy.” one day as I was passing by his office. I wasn’t wearing anything revealing but I was wearing a dress that revealed my legs so I began covering them up.) They try to ignore stupid comments and even brush off compliments about their appearance. They are wary about sharing personal information or gushing about a brand new baby or a pet. At the same time, they need to be concerned about appearing too cold – an “ice queen” is what some men have labeled their female counterparts if they perceive her as not friendly enough. Their guard is always up. This may not be who they are in their personal lives, but it’s who they feel they have to be in their professional lives.
So what about Michelle Obama you may ask? She’s an intelligent and attractive woman, an attorney, who is a dynamic speaker and yet appears approachable. She dances with Ellen DeGeneres on stage. She sings karaoke in a car with James Cordon. People love her as do I. But it’s unfair to compare these two women. Michelle Obama has done great work in her private career and has been an exceptional First Lady, but she has never been and does not care to be involved in politics and was even reluctant about her husband’s involvement even though she committed to supporting him. She seems almost relieved to be leaving the White House.
Hillary Clinton, however, has always been ambitious and politically inclined. She even kept her own name for a while because she wanted to be a separate person from her husband and was involved in the political arena long before Bill Clinton became President. Bill Clinton even said that if he was elected, the people would get “two for the price of one”. And although there are women in high political offices, politics is still very much a male-dominated field where women hold slightly less than 20% of the seats in Congress.
So Hillary Clinton may not be likeable in the warm and cuddly sense – in the ways that you would like to envision a woman of her age to be. What she is, however, is intelligent, a hard worker, and experienced in navigating the “good old boy” mentality that still pervades politics. Whether she will be a great President, who knows? I think that she would try her hardest to be since she has something to prove and she cares about the kind of legacy that she would leave. In any case, the worst that she would be is a so-so President. We’ve had those before. In fact, we’ve had really bad Presidents before. Our nation has always managed to survive. Our nation, however, may not survive if Donald Trump becomes President.
I would like Trump supporters, and those who are still undecided, to try, just for a minute, to put aside their hate and fear and blind faith and disappointment and ask themselves two simple questions: What would I do if it was a Democratic candidate who had been on that Access Hollywood tape, whose lies were constantly being exposed, who made claims that he/she knew more about ISIS than the generals do, who refused to produce tax returns, who quoted an erroneous Russian propaganda statement as fact, who praised Putin, and who is now claiming that the entire voting system, run independently in 50 States, are all rigged? Would I still ignore all of that or would I be calling that Democratic candidate unhinged and out of control?
Horrible and unreasonable behavior doesn’t suddenly become justifiable and reasonable because a person and you happen to belong to the same political party. At football games (and all athletic games), we root for our team no matter what. It doesn’t matter if we don’t like the coach or a particular player or their performance during the season. The Presidential election, especially this election, is not a football game. This is no longer about Republicans vs. Democrats. I cannot forget the woman in Columbus, Ohio who was interviewed by MSNBC and who said:
“I am voting for the Conservative Party. And if this jackass just happens to be leading this mule train, so be it.” (MSNBC – Sept. 26)
The problem with that is Donald Trump is neither a conservative nor a true Republican. He has simply slapped a Republican label on his forehead, thereby ensuring himself the vote of people like that woman in Ohio. But nothing justifies unleashing THIS particular “jackass” on the entire nation in the name of party politics. I can say one thing without any hesitation: If Trump was running as a Democrat, I’d be voting Republican.