Republicans can leave the room now. This post is just for Democrats.
It’s time to examine how we talk about Hillary Clinton. Forget the folks on the other side. The question is, are we buying into double-standards and biases?
Here’s a little quiz. No one will see your answers, so be honest.
1. Have you referred to, “The Clintons” when you really mean, “Hillary Clinton?”
Trump’s strategy of forcing Hillary to defend Bill’s wandering in their 40+ year marriage (while ignoring his own in likely all three of his marriages to date), is plain. So is his attempt to taint Hillary with jabs at legitimate donations from corporations accepted by the Clinton Foundation. When Trump calls up these slurs, he uses the term, “the Clintons” as if Bill and Hillary were a monolith.
Do you do the same? Do you use the term, “The Clintons” when you’re really not talking about Bill? If so, can you recall talking about “The Clintons” when Bill was a candidate for president (assuming you are old enough to have been politically aware back then) and you were really only talking about him? I’m doubting it.
2. Do you talk about how Bernie Sanders has moved Clinton to the left? If so, do you simultaneously acknowledge that Clinton moved Sanders to the left on gun safety laws?
Sanders, an independent in Congress until he opted to run as a Democrat for the presidency, is not a friend to gun safety advocates. Sanders voted to protect gun manufacturers from being sued by victims of gun violence. Clinton, in contrast, voted in favor of the rights of these people over those corporations.
A Slate piece titled, “Bernie Sanders, Gun Nut,” by Mark Joseph Stern, documents Bernie’s voting record on additional gun safety laws.
In 1993, then-Rep. Sanders voted against the Brady Act, which mandated federal background checks for gun purchasers and restricted felons’ access to firearms. As a senator, Sanders supported bills to allow firearms in checked bags on Amtrak trains and block funding to any foreign aid organization that registered or taxed Americans’ guns.
We’ve all seen or heard that Clinton has “moved to the left” because of Sanders. In many of these reports, Hillary is portrayed as conniving or shrewd or other terms often attributed to women with an agenda. Rarely are her motives accepted as sincere.
So how is it described when Clinton “moves” Bernie to the left? Check out the results of my search on the term, “Clinton moves Sanders guns”:
Angry woman cliche much?
3. Do you worry that Hillary Clinton isn’t likable enough but devote no time to such concerns about Sanders or Trump?
Time writer Jay Newton Small recently appeared on Ken Rudin’s podcast, attempting to explain the complaints about Clinton’s supposed lack of passion.
Bernie Sanders can yell at an audience for forty minutes, and they’re like, “Yeah! Yell at me for forty more!” Hillary Clinton raises her voice and everyone’s like, “Oh my God, why is Mom yelling at me?”
She’s also forced into a very much more pragmatic role. You know, if she came up with a $15-trillion health care plan or some magical wall with Mexico that was going to be built, people’s heads would spin.
…And so she ends up having to be in this almost wifelike role, where she’s like, “No Bernie, we can’t afford that Jet-ski. We have to pay for college.” And it’s a very uninspiring role, which is partly what’s led to her deficit with Millennial voters.
I am on record as acknowledging, not Clinton’s lack of passion, but our own, and how that could lead to her loss.
If you laughed at Jimmy Kimmel but recognized yourself a bit, or if you answered yes to any of the questions in the quiz, it’s time to stop helping Trump. That’s what you’re doing when manipulation based at least in part on sexism works.
Let’s get our own heads straight before we let those Republicans back in the room. Because they are coming.