A Reluctant Defence of Hillary Rodham Clinton

There are a lot of things to be critical of Hillary Clinton. I cannot stand her foreign policy, Benghazi was messy (although not entirely her fault; that attack came after 20+ years of complex foreign relations), and the email scandal was a thing that happened. That being said, between Bernie-or-Bust and Trump supporters, people clearly think that Hillary Clinton is the devil incarnate, and she has been put under a lot more scrutiny than any of her male peers. People really do not like Hillary Clinton. People don’t like Donald Trump either, but that’s typically attributed to his sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic statements. With Hillary, it’s harder to distil exactly why people, people of all political leanings, hate her so much.

DEM 2016 Convention

She’s A Bitch / I Just Don’t Like Her

I’ll leave this to my top girls. (@ 1:40)

Good lord this bit is eight years old. Come on guys, move on.

But back to vague slightly gendered insults, Hillary Clinton has had to deal with over 20 years of this shit. She’s a bitch, she can’t control her husband, she’s too idealistic, she’s too cynical, she’s too aggressive, she’s trying too hard, she wants the Presidency too much (also why is that seen as a bad thing – why do we dislike ambition?). Check any comment section of anything ever, and you’ll find half a dozen comments calling her a witch – just happens to be a very gendered insult. Both her feminine and masculine attributes are used against her; could it be possible that people are intimidated by seeing a successful woman in a position of power? Why yes it is possible!

People have been hating Hillary for about 20 years now. In 1996, when Hillary was First Lady, The New Yorker released an article called “Hating Hillary.” The phenomenon was apparently worth an entire article; she got a lot of shit for not baking cookies. More recently, if you look at her likability records, people actually liked Clinton when she was Secretary of State, but when she started campaigning, it took a turn. And I get why; with shit like “explain how you feel about college debt in three emoji’s or less,” and a strong

1425993879114

Actual picture of HRC on the campaign

alignment with Lena Dunham (sorry E), everything did come off as a bit try hard. But when you look past the try-hardness and the random vague gendered insults, you’ve just got to consider whether or not she’ll be a good leader. So on that note…

Corporate Flip-flopper

In response to the popularity of leftist Bernie Sanders, Hillary’s platform became more left leaning; people didn’t like that. To appease the moderates, she added Tim Kaine to the ticket; people didn’t like that either. One of the biggest criticisms of Clinton is that she’s a flip-flopper; she got on the marriage equality train only when it became a popular topic, she’s been flip-flopping on Universal Healthcare and Single Payer Healthcare, and in general people can’t trust her policies. The thing is, so are all politicians. Barack Obama believed in “traditional marriage,” in 2008; Joe Biden (America’s cool uncle) has strong ties to credit card companies, and he didn’t back Universal Healthcare in 2008. Everyone in politics flip flops – why is Hillary getting so much slack for it. (it’s because she’s a woman)

“When the politician tells you what you want to hear, and supports a policy to pander to you, that’s a victory. It doesn’t matter whether they actually believe the sentiment. It matters that they know you believe the sentiment, and they’ve decided the most important thing is to do what you want.” Dara Lind, Vox

She’s A Liar

…Are you trying to tell me that politicians lie? Well let me grab my pearls, I need to clutch them! Of course she’s lied, every single person in politics has lied. Trump’s campaign have picked up on the fact that people don’t consider Hillary Clinton to be honest, so they went as far as to create lyingcrookedhillary.com. (This website is now in my browser history – it has altered my cookies. I swear to god, the things I do for this damn website). Why is she put under so much more scrutiny than her male counterparts (it’s because she’s a woman).

1204060-clinton-viral-hmed-945a-grid-6x2The email scandal is brought up quite a bit, and not to underplay a serious breach of security, but chill out guys! She’s been cleared by the FBI, past Secretaries of State would use private email servers, and as for the 33,000 emails that Trump is imploring Russia to find (casual treason from the republican nominee, no big deal), they were personal emails and therefore she didn’t need to hand them over to the FBI. Yes, it’s a breach of national security but holy shit guys, calm the fuck down. This has been blown over way out of proportion. Poor Bernie Sanders was fed up of hearing about this in October, imagine how he feels now! The right-wing fantasy that the FBI will swoop in and arrest her is exactly that – a fantasy. Let it go.

Politifact has been analysing and fact checking stuff politicians say; at the time of writing, Hillary Clinton’s statements have been 52% true or mostly true. In comparison, Bernie Sanders’ statements are also 52%, while Barack Obama is standing at 48%, and Donald Trump is standing at a pitiful 14%. Yikes. In fact, Trump’s speech at the Republican National Conference was “unpopular with fact-checkers,” which is code for “complete bullshit.” Surely this should matter more? Apparently not, because this brings us on to our next point.

I Just Have This Feeling

Trump’s speech was fearmongering, evocative and pretty terrifying. Was any of it true? Does it matter? Turns out all you need to do to win an election is evoke enough emotion. Facts aren’t relevant, feelings are. In this terrifying interview with Newt Gingrich, he straight up ignores facts and decides to focus on feelings more. Violent crime is down, but who cares? He’s not going to listen to those silly statistics. This reminds me a lot of the Brexit campaigns; the Leave campaign was almost entirely based on low key racism, xenophobia, and patriotism, while the Stay campaign was based on fear of the unknown. Instead of laying out honest facts, allowing the general public to make an informed decision, the campaigns just shouted a bunch of feelings at us until Election Day. The Leave campaign even ignored the factual statistics laid out by experts, claiming that the country is fed up of listening to experts (ugh). The day after the vote, we all woke up with an election hangover, Brexit won, the economy was at bn-na791_boris0_p_20160311111932an all-time low, and those people on the fence who had been swayed by emotions all, in unison, said: “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Donald Trump is very good at eliciting emotions. So are Nigel Farage, Bernie Sanders, and Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton, less so. She’s been called rigid, robotic and uncharismatic. That being said, her speech at the Democratic Convention was fantastic. A non-American cynic like me even got misty eyed. Hillary spoke of hope, unity, and togetherness with a steely confidence and palpable earnestness. Even her one designated joke went successfully!1 A complete 180 from Donald Trump’s egotistical fear-mongering 76 minutes of hell. Gender has been something that’s plagued Hillary for over twenty years, and the speech showcased equal parts femininity and masculinity. She talked about foreign policy with a hint of aggression and strength, however, her femininity shone through when she discussed motherhood and her childhood experiences.

Vote With Your Conscience

That’s why people respect Hillary Clinton so much. ‘Cause nobody takes a punch like her. She’s the strongest, smartest punching bag in the world. -Leslie Knope, Parks & Recreation

I get it, it’s hard to get too excited about the concept of President Hillary Clinton. She’s not shiny and new2 and exciting like Bernie Sanders, she’s not batshit crazy like Donald Trump, and her history is spotty at best. Plus, her choice of VP was completely uninspiring; he plays the harmonica for God’s sakes.3 That being said, she’s a qualified, resilient, professional candidate who with a wealth of experience who will get. shit. done. Most importantly, she isn’t Donald Trump. Yes, she’s just the lesser of two evils, but look at the ~other option~ and then look at the dystopian wasteland the world will be in for.

As for the political revolution started by Bernie Sanders, leftists, don’t give up! Just
because Bernie won’t be president doesn’t mean the revolution has to end. It’s important that Bernie has an ally in office. So keep getting interested in politics, do the research, write to your local senators. After the election is over, Dem 2016 Debatepeople still need to keep fighting for the change they want to see. Sadly politics is a lot duller after the election, but it is so important to keep the momentum going. Thanks to Bernie’s influence, Hillary’s platform is much more left than when it first began, plus he’s still Senator of Vermont! With a much higher profile, he can make some changes as a Senator, but that’s not going to be happening in a Trump presidency.

It’s going to be a rough 100 days. Alcohol at the ready, bring on the debates.

Footnotes

  1. My favourite thing about her joke was how happy she looked after the positive reaction. Bless her. Her White House Correspondents Dinners are going to be tragic.
  2. Insert obvious age joke here. I’m hilarious
  3. Yes, yes, yes, I know, he’s good for moderates.

Appendix 1: The most recent Russian email hack showed some seriously shady shenanigans going on at the DNC; anti-Semitism and racism most notably. Plus they showed a serious bias against Bernie Sanders. That being said, Hillary won the popular vote regardless of Super-PACs and whatnot. Sadly Bernie didn’t capture the minority vote as well as he should have. Next time, eh?

Appendix 2: Old news, but Bill Clinton is a sexual predator, and it’s straight up bullshit that Hillary still supports him.un

Appendix 3: That being said, I cannot wait for the saxophone/harmonica jam sessions between Bill Clinton & Tim Kaine. Maybe they’ll play during the inauguration!

Further Reading

The question I hope everyone who booed Hillary Clinton at the DNC asks themselves | Vox

This may shock you: Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest| The Guardian

The people who hate Hillary the most | Slate

 

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