I Won’t Vote For Hillary Just Because She’s Running and Female

I’d like to believe that Hillary Clinton’s being a woman would not matter to most of us. But we all know that’s hogwash

hillary clinton

Once again in our national political life, we’re being offered someone to believe in. And this time it’s a woman.

Let’s not pretend this is not a big deal. Much as we would all like to believe in even playing fields, Santa Claus and frequent flyer flights in August, a woman running for president is historic. It takes guts. What the hell — it’s ballsy.

I’d like to believe that Hillary Clinton’s being a woman would not matter to most of us. That we could just weigh her candidacy – let her “earn our vote,” as she said in her video – based on her qualifications, experience and merit.

But we all know that’s a load of hogwash.

In the wake of her announcement on Sunday, the anti-Hillary, anti-woman poison kicked in on cue. The tweets on the #whyI’mnotvotingforHillary thread were no meaner than we should have expected, which is to say – really, really mean. Some of them were undeniably misogynistic, and it reminded me that the arrows slung at Hillary Clinton – including when she was running against Barack Obama in 2008 – have always been aimed below the belt.



Is Hillary tough? Yes, she is. Her handlers can try all they want to make her warm and approachable and good luck with that. On “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, Kate McKinnon, as Hillary, was told by an operative to channel the new persona. She then turned and barked fiercely into her phone: “Citizens you will elect me, I will be your leader.”

That’s Hillary as far as we all can tell, and if you think that’s what the country needs, perhaps you’ll vote for her. Perhaps you won’t. As far as I’m concerned, her toughness is one of her strongest qualities; this is someone who has taken horrific blows in her life — including some inflicted by those closest to her — and has remained standing. She has persevered. She’s got grit.

In her video announcing her run for president, Clinton did something smart: she did not appear in the video until 1 minute and 47 seconds into the piece. The message was: it’s not about her, it’s about the country. The people featured in the video were carefully chosen, and included a lot of women: a young mom and her daughter, an older woman working in her garden, another older woman talking about retirement, a gay couple on the cusp of marriage, two Latino brothers starting a business, a white guy working in a made-in-the-USA factory. The middle class base of the Democratic Party who some would say need the likes of her.

And she did something dumb: she told the world to tune in for her announcement, and then was several hours late with it, giving everyone from Jeb Bush to Carly Fiorina to Reince Priebus time to gin up a hurricane of anti-Hillary efforts.

Clinton haters gonna hate. Women haters gonna hate. The question is: are there enough of us willing to consider what she could bring to the office?

It’s still early, and there’s a lot that will happen between now and November 2016. I am not going to sign up for Hillary Clinton for president because she’s a woman. But I’m really glad she’s running.