The Women Problem

After the close call in Iowa’s primary, rumors spread of Clinton’s campaign shake up. Everything from firing her campaign manager to using Former President Bill Clinton’s State of the Union speech writer seemed to be on the table. However, none of the rumors expected what actually happened. In an attempt to bolster the Clinton’s crippling campaign, she brought in feminist powerhouse Madeline Albright to introduce a rally in New Hampshire. This would have been fine except Albright took a jab at those who supported Sanders insisted a true “revolution” would be a female President.

“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Ms. Albright said of the broader fight for women’s equality. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign got publicity, but not the kind she hoped to expect. Although, after all the scandals associated with her name I hesitate to imply she could be surprised. After the immense backlash of Albight’s comment in the media and among young Democrat supporters, Albright then issued a statement in New York Times Op-Ed saying,

“I absolutely believe what I said, that women should help one another, but this was the wrong context and the wrong time to use that line,” Albright said on an  published Friday in the New York Times. “I did not mean to argue that women should support a particular candidate based solely on gender. But I understand that I came across as condemning those who disagree with my political preferences. If heaven were open only to those who agreed on politics, I imagine it would be largely unoccupied.

What are the odds that in the same week, Gloria Steinham also “misspoke” on the Bill Maher show saying, that women are more politically active as they get older “but when you’re young, you’re thinking, “Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.” Steinham then went to “apologize for what’s been misinterpreted as implying young women aren’t serious in their politics.”

These incidences reflect a much larger issue in society for young women; that women over the age of 40 are trying to speak for young women. The inability to have agency in the political spectrum is its own kind of sexism, one that has thus far been uncomfortably tip toed around on the campaign trail thus far. Perhaps the most surprising detail of the recent events is how disconnected these notable women in the feminist movement sound. An icon like Steinham blatantly saying that young female supporters of Bernie have based their vote on attraction to men, is sexist. And despite it defying Steinham’s feminist life work, these thoughts come from somewhere and even the strongest women are susceptible.

There is a large disconnect between female Democrat voters. The older generations views it as a woman’s turn, as Hillary’s turn to be officer-in-chief. The younger generations do not have the experience of time to understand it as Hillary’s turn, especially seeing her defeat to a Junior Senator in the years prior. As a young female Democrat voter, I believe the internet and social media can help explain this large divide because it really boils down to how people are getting their information.

Hillary Clinton has strong support with women fifty and over who have are very familiar with her journey to presidential candidacy. These older women are not as familiar with the internet as they are with standard news media. Bernie Sanders has strong support with younger women who are more familiar with Hillary’s loss to President Obama, Benghazi scandal as well as her adulterous husband. Millennial women’s perceptions are defined by 9/11, the Iraq War, and the economic collapse of 2007-2009. They are the same women who voted for Change during Obama’s campaign and there is no doubt why they vote Sander’s campaign of Hope. Now, Hillary’s pragmatic campaign is fighting against Hope. These women have grown up with unprecedented rise and capabilities of technology and are not connecting to Hillary’s ‘pragmatic’ case. It’s not that young women don’t believe in a female President, they don’t believe Hillary will put the country in a progressive enough direction with her “that won’t work” attitude.

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4 comments

  1. thedinnertablesite · March 1, 2016

    Hi Frank!

    I really enjoyed your post. I feel the issues you’ve raised touch on an almost psychological phenomenon that affects how we view and judge people. Both younger and older women are aware of Hillary’s past work in the political sphere as first lady and secretary of state as well as her more recent controversies. However, it’s not the knowledge of these facts that necessarily forms our opinions of Hillary; it’s how we came to learn them. It appears, at least in Hillary’s case, that being alive and present during a scandal or a triumph makes those events have a larger impression on our judgment of a person.

    I would be interested to find out if this phenomenon applies to other candidates as well. For example, if there is an age divide in Trump supporters, as there is with Hillary supporters, it would be interesting to see if, perhaps, his supporters happen to be older. I could foresee the possibility of older people relating Trumps early business success and fame with his character. Contrarily, I would imagine younger people would give more weight to his more recent controversial statements and business failures.

    Overall, really enjoyed your post.
    -AP

    Like

    • candidlyfrank · March 9, 2016

      Hi AP! Currently, there is only one statistically significant variable in supporters of Trump and that is an authoritarian complex. This preference has recently been identified in political polls through asking child rearing questions such as is it more important for your child to be well-behaved or independent, self-sustaining or creative, etc. The frightening thing about this variable is that it is seen on across party lines and is highly prevalent in voters who identify as Independents. This suggests that there is no cap to Trump’s rise.

      Like

  2. PUBTANGO · March 6, 2016

    Interesting topic that you brought up here. I remember reading about Hillary Clinton trying to engage and appeal to young female voters by discussing the issue of “lack of women in STEM.” I thought that was a different angle she took. I do think that Sanders has quite an appeal to young voters and being able to capture the attention of young “liberals.” I am interested in seeing how this whole election will turn out after all is said and done.

    Was there something interesting you found Clinton doing to appeal to young female voters?

    Like

    • candidlyfrank · March 9, 2016

      She has always argued women’s rights but has now hitched onto Bernie’s band wagon for free college tuition to appeal to young voters. Her campaign has taken many different directions so maybe once it stabilizes she will be able to target the young female group.

      Like

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