In some ways, Trump is the worst major presidential candidate of all time. Not in terms of electability - obviously he tapped into themes that much of the electorate cared about. But in terms of his experience, qualifications, temperament, and understanding of public policy, he’s the worst.
How did Hillary Clinton lose to this man? A lot has been and will be written about what went wrong for her and right for him. But when a woman with her experience - First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State - loses to the worst candidate ever, I’m worried that people will wonder: who can a female candidate beat?
That’s very unfair to future female presidential candidates, but I worry people will think that. Maybe the answer is simple as finding the right female candidate with less baggage, but maybe not. And let’s be real - Clinton had a lot of baggage. The e-mail controversy kept coming back over and over again like a bad case of herpes. The leaked e-mails from Wikileaks were relentless.
On the other hand, arguably Trump had even more baggage. It just never seemed to stick with him. USA Today came out with a story a few months back about how Trump has been sued roughly 3500 times. There was little follow up. Nobody seemed to care. The people that did care were already not voting for Trump. Same thing when more info about how Trump cheated on his taxes came out - it barely made a ripple. Dozens of things that would have been fatal in a normal election wounded him, but he always recovered.
My opinion - perhaps unpopular around here - is that very few people voted against Clinton because she’s a woman. I think it’s a lot more complicated than that. You can’t separate her femaleness from who she is, and I think it influences our perceptions of her in lots of complex ways that are too difficult to fully disentangle. Would Trump have criticized her stamina if she were a man? Maybe, but probably not. Would the media have been as relentless in pursuing the e-mail scandal if she were a man? I have no idea, but perhaps.
Hillary should be the 45th president and the first female president, but she won’t be. If not Hillary, then who?
PS: I once heard it suggested on here that as a female candidate, Clinton has to be hawkish on foreign policy issues to be taken seriously. A dovish woman would be regarded as weak, supposedly, even though there were men in the race who were more dovish than Hillary. I don’t really think this is true. My suspicion is that if a substantially larger number of world leaders and legislatures around the world were comprised of women, we might see fewer wars.