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March 26 2018

Clinton Campaign Communications Director Generously Concedes that Misogyny Wasn't the ONLY Reason Clinton Lost

Quote of the Day:

Before I delve into all that happened in the campaign, I want to be clear that while misogyny and sexism were a problem on the campaign trail, I don’t believe everyone who voted against Hillary did so for sexist reasons.

--Jennifer Palmieri, former Communications Director for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, in Time magazine

Oh, so maybe there were a few people who voted against Clinton on the basis of her policies?

If you clicked on Jennifer Palmieri's article headlined "Inside the Last Days of the Clinton Campaign" expecting to learn anything about the--uh--last days of the Clinton campaign, you were disappointed.

What you do find it a lot on how Mrs. Clinton lost because she is a woman.

Palmieri thinks that Clinton's concession speech was well-received because women are not supposed to be winers:

It’s the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 9. We are at the New Yorker Hotel and Hillary has just finished her concession speech. I decide to just nod and smile wistfully when supporters and reporters, men and women alike, laud Hillary’s concession speech. “Where was ‘this Hillary’ during the campaign?” they would lament. “Why didn’t we see this side of her when it mattered?”

Yes, I am sure you loved her concession speech, I thought to myself. Because that’s what you think is acceptable for a woman to do — concede.

. . .

Fundamentally it wasn’t about the words she used in her concession speech but what she represented. She was no longer a woman pushing to be president. She was a gracious loser putting the needs of her country above her own. It was the role of Hillary as an ambitious candidate that troubled us.

Perhaps part of the reason that Hillary didn't resonate (positively) with more voters was that she unfairly judged the United States as a misogynist country that wasn't ready for a woman president.

This simply overlooks women's progress and the real lives of American women, who seize opportunities rather than complaining about sexism.

Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Palmieri seem not to have grasped that Mrs. Clinton's policies and personal atibutes, not her gender, were items the voter might weigh before casting a vote.

A bigger problem than sexism was Mrs. Clinton's and her campaign's contempt for her opponent. Admittedly, Donald Trump was not a traditional presidential candidate, but I think the Clinton campaign's contempt was always obvious and didn't sit well with voters. Mrs. Palmieri writes: 

As for Donald Trump, is it a coincidence that the first woman nominee of a major party lost a presidential election to a misogynist? I have my doubts. There were times in the closing weeks when the campaign felt less like a presidential run and more like a primal battle for survival. Between the accusations of sexual harassment and assault against Trump failing to dampen the enthusiasm of his supporters, the creepy “lock her up” rallies, Putin’s Russian email leaks, Comey’s letters and Trump threatening that he might not accept the results of the election if Hillary actually won, it was a darkly surreal phase during which I literally had to pause every now and then to confirm that I wasn’t dreaming.

Earlier in the summer, Hillary, Senator Tim Kaine, his wife, Anne Holton, and I laughed over the absurdities we encountered in the campaign, talking on our bus one morning in Harrisburg, Pa. I told them the campaign felt like a Batman-movie version of a presidential campaign — Christopher Nolan-style. Both candidates were from Gotham. Trump was our lead villain but had help from side characters like Putin and Assange. We had other characters who, like Catwoman, were sometimes on our side, sometimes not. I put Comey in this category. President Obama was Commissioner Gordon. And the fate of the world hung in the balance.

Nice, the veep candidate's wife and campaign communications drirector sit around sneering at a man who had immense popular appeal instead of figuring out what was the source of that appeal.

Still, regarding one's opponent as a "villain" rather than a political adversary is something new in American politics.

But Trump wasn't the only male villain! After then FBI director James Comey announced that the investigation into Mrs. Clinton's emails was being reopened, Palmieri had an epiphany:

It felt like we had four men running against us — Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, and Jim Comey. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that the first woman nominee of a major party ended up being hounded by four men, all taking actions that would influence the campaign in ways never before seen in our country’s history. Maybe that’s just how presidential campaigns are in the 21st-century. Or maybe there was just something about her the four of them didn’t like.

One of the things that many people didn't like about Mrs. Clinton and her campaign was that they tended to blame their own shortcomings on misogyny.

Of course, this is demeaning to American women, who do not regard themselves as victims.

And as for Ms. Palmieri, she still doesn't quite get what happened.   

 

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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