Politics & Policy

Reminder: Hillary Clinton Lost Because She’s Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton delivers her concession speech in New York, November 9, 2016. (Reuters photo: Brian Snyder)
Sexism obviously exists, but to attribute Clinton’s loss to it is absurd.

Well, that didn’t take long. Just hours after Hillary Clinton lost the presidency to Donald Trump — and hours after she left her disconsolate supporters at New York City’s Javits Center, hightailing it to the confines of Manhattan’s Peninsula Hotel—cries of “sexism” erupted across America’s fruited plain.

On Twitter, under the top-trending hashtag #NotMyPresident, many Americans bemoaned the “misogyny” that allegedly doomed Clinton from the start. “Trump didn’t win because of Comey,” MSNBC’s Jonathan Alter wrote on election night. “He won because he’s a testosterone candidate and men weren’t ready for a woman president.” Introducing Clinton before her Wednesday concession speech, vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine noted that Hillary had “made history in a nation that is good at so many things, but has made it uniquely difficult for a woman to be elected.”

“It turns out the glass ceiling is reinforced with steel beams,” Charlotte Alter wrote at Time, arguing that Clinton’s loss “may be as good a sign as any that we’re not ready for glass-breaking yet.” The “stench of sexism,” she added, “engulfed Hillary Clinton’s quixotic bid for the presidency, magnifying her flaws and minimizing her considerable strengths.”

Well, something certainly smells about all this hullaballoo — in fact, the entire ramshackle 2016 election has been chock-full of malodorous surprises — but when it comes to Clinton’s numerous flaws and resounding electoral failure, the culprit sure doesn’t seem to be sexism.

Democrats would prefer we believe otherwise. In the closing weeks of the campaign, President Obama bemoaned the nation’s latent misogyny. “There’s a reason we haven’t had a woman president,” he told an Ohio rally. “Hillary Clinton is consistently treated differently than just about any other candidate I see out there.” On November 4, Bill Clinton chimed in: “I know there’s a bunch of guys that are upset about having a woman president. They just don’t want to ’fess up to it.”

Over the course of the campaign, Clinton has played the woman card to the hilt—sometimes literally, dispensing tongue-in-cheek “woman cards” to fans, friends, and supporters. “If I’m playing the woman card,” she regularly declared at campaign rallies, “then deal me in!” For election night, Team Clinton even carefully chose the Javits Center — that “unglamorous glass fortress on Manhattan’s West Side,” as the New York Times called it — so that Hillary could declare victory under a literal glass ceiling.

As an aside, when you think about it, this is actually kind of weird. What on earth was the Clinton camp planning to do to that poor glass ceiling when they won? Yell at it? Sit in a circle and try to levitate it, like hippies used to do to the Pentagon? Give everyone in the audience hard hats, ladders, and hammers, hope for the best, and watch the resulting glass-shard shower of terror? (Update: At press time, CNN reported that the actual Clinton plan involved using cannons filled with confetti designed to look like shattered glass. Ho hum. Like THAT would fool anyone. The ceiling would still be there!)

Among the many reasons for Hillary Clinton’s loss, obvious corruption, lockstep leftism, disastrous health-care prescriptions, abortion fanaticism, and basic incompetence are just a few.

Luckily, we never discovered the potentially sinister endgame of this half-baked political metaphor. The “glass ceiling” remains unbroken, at least when it comes to the American presidency. (Women like Margaret Thatcher, who won the role of British prime minister almost 30 years ago, must be wearily rolling their eyes from up above.) Hopefully, in the future, we will leave the presidential ceiling cracking to a far superior candidate.

There are many reasons for Hillary Clinton’s loss: Obvious corruption, lockstep leftism, disastrous health-care prescriptions, abortion fanaticism, and basic incompetence are just a few. But her loss might best be summed up in a September 22 video address she gave to the Laborers’ International Union of North America. After bashing right-to-work measures allowing freedom from unions, Clinton stared at the camera, suddenly irate. “Now, having said all this,” she bellowed, head bobbing, appearing as though she wanted to throttle the entire world, and maybe a few stuffed animals, too, “why aren’t I 50 points ahead, you might ask?”

Oh dear. Why indeed? It was a question that answered itself, and a moment that, for obvious reasons, went viral. You recognized that it eerily resembled a famous scene, if you’ve seen the movie Office Space, where a terrified worker wildly shouts at downsizing consultants about how good he is with people.

Sexism certainly exists, but to attribute Clinton’s loss — the failed candidacy of an ossified political fixture with enough toxic baggage to crush 17 glass ceilings — to it is absurd. But in the Rorschach test of life, some people will always see sexism lurking around every corner, hysterically labeling each slight as a sign of eternal misogyny. It must be an exhausting way to live. Some would argue that it helped fuel the backlash that brought us Donald Trump.

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