Shortly (probably by the time you read this) Hillary Rodham Clinton will have “officially” ended her campaign and pledged her support to Barack Obama. The first article I was greeted with this morning was all about the supposed race between Obama and McCain to secure the female vote.
I’ll be shocked if more than 10% of females who voted for Hillary in the primaries will now go to McCain in the fall. Nearly all her supporters were in her corner for reasons beyond just that “she’s a woman”. Certainly, for many, it was a primary factor, perhaps even the main one. But they were still doing so from a certain political sensibility which, in the end, will bring them to the man who is most representative of their ideals. Hint: it isn’t a 71 year old, war loving, reproductive rights ambivalent, universal health care hating, Republican.
The first thing that we have to deal with is this, from early in the article:
Even the Democratic National Committee chairman is avidly trying to make up for accusations that he allowed sexism in the race to pass unchallenged.
“The wounds of sexism need to be the subject of a national discussion,” the chairman, Howard Dean, said in an interview. “Many of the most prominent people on TV behaved like middle schoolers” toward Mrs. Clinton.
Now, I have no doubt that there was sexism in the campaign. There was also racism. But ultimately Barack and Hillary secured over 35 million votes between them, while all the white male candidates were left in the dust. Furthermore, the sexism, as pointed out by Dean, had absolutely nothing to do with Obama. (I’ll leave the racism issue alone, in deference to the healing process. But lets just say – it wasn’t entirely from the media).
Once it’s made clear that Obama had exactly Z E R O to do with any issues of sexism that came up during the primary campaign, he will be well on his way to securing nearly all of Hillary’s voters. I hope when she makes her concession speech she goes out of her way to spell out that sexism was not used by the Obama camp. I’m afraid she won’t go quite far enough on this issue today. To be honest, the main reason we are at a point where healing is necessary at all is because of her - and I'll leave everything else alone and simply say that her speech last Tuesday was an awful start to the process. While I don't think she had to make a full concession on the last night of the campaign, she certainly should not have given such a combative speech. Based on everything that has happened throughout the campaign, I'm not convinced she'll go nearly far enough today towards healing the wounds. Since you’ve probably seen her speech already, you can tell me how wrong I am.