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‘I’m with…her?’ – why women won’t win if Hillary does

08 Nov 2016

If I were currently a green card wielding citizen of the United States, I would most definitely be voting for Hillary Clinton. Mainly because I would rather be a Tory than be a part of a country that democratically elected a bigoted misogynist who can’t seem to moisturise, let alone do politics. Even so, Hillary Clinton is hardly the Bernie Sanders-kinda Democrat I wanted to see leading America forward after the inspirational leadership of Barack Obama.

Hillary Clinton has been a victim of severe critique during the run up to the ever-looming presidential election.  Her defenders say  that she’s much better than her “pussy-grabbing” opponent, but to be honest, it’s not really difficult to be a better human than Donald Trump.  Her success would mean the first female president of the USA, who would symbolise much more than just the values of the Democrats. Clinton’s victory would confirm that women do not just appear in American politics as first ladies but can also embody the “values” of America as president. It is undeniable that as a female and the wife of a former US president, she has experienced prejudice that has undermined her position as a politician. Away from the political theatre of debates she struggles with connecting with real people. She’s not as popular as her husband, who serves as a high-profile reminder of the leader she is not. Clinton’s misfortune of being connected with two of the most popular and charismatic presidents of US history has only emphasised her lack of connection with the public. It cannot be denied that she has faced the same prejudice and hurdles as many women in the professional sphere. But as actress and outspoken Bernie supporter, Susan Sarandon stated “I don’t vote with my vagina.” Hillary Clinton’s presidency will be a triumph for white corporate feminism and a defeat for the rest of us.

Clinton has had a suspicious history of rumoured corruption. Her lack of honesty has come into the firing line throughout the election process, with information arising on her questionable use of a private email to discuss classified government material. Furthermore, her dealings with Wall Street have made her far from popular. She failed to condemn a fascist regime in Honduras and hasn’t displayed the most pertinent tactics when dealing with foreign policy and conflict, with particular regards to Syria and dealing with ISIS. It makes one question whether she embodies the liberal thinking attributed to the Democrats. Essentially we should not vote for women purely for the sake of female leadership; especially if they are not the right woman; especially if they are merely the lesser of two evils.

Politics in the UK remains pretty alienating if you’re not a white, middle class man. We have the privilege of a Prime Minister who is a white, middle class, Conservative woman, continuously trying to prove she understands the working class people because she went to a grammar school.  Yet Theresa May still serves to further Conservative ambition, which by its very definition alienates the working class in Britain today. For example, May’s tough new benefit cap will result in a drop in welfare payments to unemployed households from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside the capital. Her government’s political ideology is crippling for the poorest in the nation; her aim to “make society fairer for families” is nothing but an empty promise. As Jeremy Corbyn put it “They are the party of the privileged few, funded by the privileged few, for the benefit of the privileged few.” Much like Hillary, Mrs May has undoubtedly faced many obstacles in her climb to a position of power due to her gender. That doesn’t mean however that she understands the multitude of difficulties faced by working class, women of colour in the UK. Often it is the case that women who succeed in politics have “white-washed” values that fit the agenda; failing to reflect the interests of the female minorities they could represent.  

The West’s lack of women in electoral politics makes the idea of supporting any woman an appealing proposal. It creates a false sense that women are becoming more equal in society. They serve as a bogus beacon of the triumphs of feminists in our protests for equality. We have seen women who barely endorse feminist policies flourish in a male dominated sector and then claim they have made great strides for women; please refer to Maggie T and Condoleezza Rice. I feel ashamed to admit that I cannot identify with a single female member of British Parliament. Yes, female involvement is a step in the right direction to change the demography of Western politics, but how often do these women reflect the interests of other women, especially the interests of those from working class or ethnic backgrounds? Gender is not the only thing in feminism.

The current US presidential battle has highlighted important issues with Western representative democracy. We are left wondering how America has gotten into this mess and whether Hillary is really a solution or just less of a problem. I certainly cannot agree with Trump voters, but nor can I align myself with those chanting “I’m with her!” portraying Hillary to be some Democrat fairy godmother. Of course I’m with her if it means not being with him. Hillary Clinton is lucky that she’s running against an intolerable xenophobe. It allows her to verily play the “It’s me or him” card, and come out as the better option.  I mean sure, it is inspiring to see females in high positions.  But I’d rather elect a leader who embodies my political and moral values instead of somebody who acts as a poor representative for women.