For the first time in American history, the people have the chance to elect a female president with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presumptive nominee, but many women with varying political ideologies simply don’t like her.
The women who particularly don’t like Clinton? Millennial females. In fact, a USA Today/Rock the Vote survey showed that a shocking 61 percent of young women preferred Sanders over Clinton’s abysmal 30 percent.
In 2012, women made up 53 percent of the vote — a majority of the electorate — but will they turn out in the same way in 2016, despite a lack of interest? An April Gallup survey has found that just 30 percent of Democratic women are paying attention to the presidential race, a shocking statistic. Women are supposed to be the core base of Clinton’s supporters, but she just hasn’t been able to cultivate enthusiasm among them for her candidacy.
Clinton’s biggest issue is the way in which she tries to attract female voters — pandering. Women don’t like being pandered to and used as a political prop. Her dishonesty and lack of authenticity continue to grow the more she appears on the campaign trail. With already tepid support among young liberal females due to her perceived lack of progressivism on the issues, she should reconsider her pandering tactics.
She’s even had progressive feminist groups such as Emily’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood publicly endorse her. The networks of those groups alone haven’t been able to help generate interest in the race — a race they believe jeopardizes women’s health and rights if Clinton doesn’t assume the presidency.
While 80 percent of Americans say the United States is ready to elect a female president, they don’t feel the overwhelming urgency to have one. In the very first Democratic debate of the season, when asked why a political insider like herself should be elected, Clinton pivoted to the gender card. “Well, I can’t think of anything more outsider than electing the first woman president.” This strategy has been widely criticized on both sides of the aisle.
“Rather than saying ‘I’m a woman,’ she needs to say why it matters and why it’s transformative,” said Nomiki Konst, a Democratic strategist. “Which I agree with, but I question not about whether she’s a woman but about her judgment — she needs to show proper judgment. Hillary has been living in a world that men have created and now she’s talking about how she’s a woman.”
Other women noted the significance of the moment but highlighted that Clinton’s gender alone would never be enough for women to elect her. “While I applaud any woman who puts in the hard work to run for public office, ultimately policy substance needs to outweigh gender,” said Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum. “In many ways, I don’t know why we would be so excited for a woman who has such a shady history and whose favorables are really low right now, hard to be excited with any candidate who is representative of corruption and business as usual in Washington.”
Some women fail to see how a Clinton presidency would do anything to advance the issues that women care about. “Women, like all Americans, want a candidate who is going to offer policies that improve their lives,” said Karin Agness, founder of the Network of Enlightened Women. “Unfortunately, the policies Clinton is offering women right now will end up making it more difficult for women to get good health care, find fulfilling jobs, and start businesses.”
Some young female voters expressed their disappointment that Clinton was the first female to be nominated by a major party — wishing that it wasn’t someone with such a scandal-plagued history, with ties to the government. “I’m not with Hillary because she’s corrupt, dishonest, and has dedicated her life to growing government,” said Crystal Clanton, a young female voter. “I believe in liberty and don’t need government telling me how to live my life.”
If Clinton was banking on the gender card to get her elected, she needs to seriously rethink her strategy — or she won’t have the chance to shatter the glass ceiling at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.