As Bernie Sanders’ political fortunes take flight in the 2016
presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton finds herself abandoned by the group she
assumed she could count on: Women.
Older women appear to stand behind
Hillary. It is the so-called “millennials”, women born roughly
between 1978 and 2000, who do not like and/or trust her. These women who may,
or may not, call themselves feminists were not even born when Marilyn French’s
book The Women’s Room added fuel to an already simmering fire.
Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Bella Abzug
grappled with issues such as legal abortion, sexual harassment, and domestic
violence. And while these matters are still not settled, these women brought
them to the forefront in the mid 1960’s. Hillary Clinton became a part of this movement and
helped to pave the way for today’s post feminists.
For the millennials this is “old stuff”, and they see feminism
in a different light. These women
are insulted when they are expected to vote for a woman merely because she is a
woman. For the most part, they are
confident that there will be a woman president at some point and feel no
urgency for that to happen now.
Having been in the public eye, or perhaps
because of her own inclination, Hillary is careful and reserved on the campaign
trail. Bernie Sanders, on the
other hand, appears to be unshackled.
He does not give a hoot about the Democratic Party, he calls himself a
Democratic Socialist. It is notable that, as of yet, there is no panic about
his socialism. In the recent past,
President Obama was accused of pushing socialism on the country with his health
care plan. The mood of the voters
Bernie has been unwaveringly himself. This appeals to many millennials, who
are looking for passion and authenticity. He promises a new dawn and bright future. The millennials do not appear to be concerned if his ideas
are workable, they believe him and believe in him. His
enthusiasm has been contagious, and his star has risen accordingly.
In a word, Bernie Sanders has charisma — a quality that is found in Bill
Clinton, but not his wife, Hillary. Although Hillary tries to relax and be “one of the guys (or gals)”, she
is not. The millennial voters do
not perceive Hillary as being compassionate and nurturing. In fact, many of them believe that
Secretary Clinton and President Obama have left the world in a more volatile
condition than it was before the Obama Presidency.
On the other hand, millennial voters believe
that Bernie can and will put the welfare of the country before politics. Not so Hillary Clinton, who has been
identified as an integral part of old school politics.
are older voters who remember the Eugene McCarthy fiasco in 1968. At that time many who were idealistic
thought that McCarthy would bring the country back to it’s senses. He was against the Viet Nam War and was
the first person to challenge President Lyndon Johnson. McCarthy’s popularity among the voters
contributed to Johnson’s decision to not run for President. McCarthy became the Democratic
candidate and he was crushed by Richard Nixon.
represents continuity. What many
of the voters in this age group are looking for is a discontinuance of the
status quo. The fact that she
stands for resilience and perseverance has not swayed them in her
direction. They do not care that
she shone in the Benghazi hearings.
issue working against Hillary is that she is a Clinton. A large number of voters see the
Clintons as arrogant, entitled and corrupt. She is a wealthy white woman. They accuse her of intersectionality — the criss crossing of power that
applies to white women only. The
vote of women of color in the South Carolina primary is viewed as essential for
her to succeed as the Democratic candidate for President.
final candidates for each party will be decided in July of 2016. After that the wounds of the campaign
must be healed as the two parties compete to elect a President. It is impossible to predict what more
will come to light about all of the contenders. One thing is certain, each of them must be able to stand the
heat that comes with this kind of rivalry.
Crocker, L. (2015, October 15). Why Millennial Feminists Don't Like
Hillary. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from thedailybeast.com
LaMastra, S. (2015, October 23). Hillary Clinton: What Difference Does
It Make...To Millennials. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from the blaze.com
Sheehy, G. (2016, January 19). The Women Who Should Love Hillary
Clinton. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from nytimes.com
Sopel, J. (2016, February 8). U.S. Election: Hillary Clinton's Problem
With Young Women. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from bbc.com
Wallace, K. (2016, February 9). Why the Female Generational Divide for
Hillary Clinton? Retrieved February 10, 2016, from cnn.com