It's Not The Same

It drives me nuts to read stuff like this and this about presidential candidate "likeability".

People don't like Trump because he is a racist, sexist, egomaniac who wants to Make America Great Again -Now With More Fascism! People don't like Clinton because she's a woman who doesn't give them a warm fuzzy feeling, and whose strong leadership qualities, which they would admire in any dude candidate, make them anxious and confused because they are attached to a Person Of Vagina.

People don't like Trump because they recognize him as the populist threat to democracy the Founding Fathers fretted over. People don't like Clinton because they are more comfortable with an old dude spouting fiery socialist rhetoric than a (less) old woman proposing thoughtful policies to advance the welfare of women and families.

People don't like Trump because he's tearing down an established party, running roughshod over that party's longstanding cherished policies and principles, and doing his level best to destroy any remaining shreds of respect not just for party leaders but for the concepts of experience, expertise, knowledge, logic, democracy, nonviolence, and civil rights. (Even if one can argue that Trump is merely reaping what the GOP has sown for years now, nothing says the sowers have to like the result any more than the rest of us.) People don't like Clinton because, you know, she's certainly qualified to be president, but, well, she's stiff, she's old, she's unattractive, she shouts/shrieks/cackles, she has that hair/those pantsuits/those cankles, her only qualification [besides the Senate and Secretary of State experience] is being married to Bill.

People like Trump because he's a filthy rich New Yorker who says he knows how Wall Street works and who disrespects women. People dislike Clinton because they suspect her of being filthy rich and hanging with people on Wall Street.  And people dislike Clinton despite her promotion of women-centric policy issues [either because they are anti-women or because "she doesn't speak for women". You know, the way Bernie does.]

When the press talks about Trump and Clinton being the two most unlikable presidential candidates ever in the recorded history of time, about how people are just having to choose between who they dislike the least, it obscures serious and meaningful differences. If Bernie's supporters can't bring themselves around to voting for Clinton in the fall, it doesn't mean they are standing true to their principles or trying to bring about a revolution. It means they would be more comfortable with American-style populist fascism than with a democratic leader who shares many but not all of their policy goals, but who happens to be female.

11 responses so far

  • namnezia says:


  • ecologist says:


  • becca says:

    Twitter provided a fair litmus test. If you were pro-John Kerry, there's very few non-sexism ways you can rationalize an anti-Hillary Clinton stance.

    That said, Hillary Clinton is the candidate with plans for Sheryl Sandberg women and Kennedy families. Single Moms in poverty should expect SNAP to be gutted and the pitiful remainder of TANF to be eliminated.

    • Zuska says:

      Maybe so. But she most likely won't want to forcibly register my Muslim friends and block them from re-entering the country if they go on a business trip; she won't foment hate crimes against Jews and brown-skinned folk and women. She may not be your ideal candidate but she is not disastrous and evil. So, you know - a better choice than Trump. This should be obvious. But I'm really afraid that too many people will be unwilling to see the real danger Trump poses.

      • becca says:

        In fairness, it's really hard to know the real danger Trump poses. Is it bad, or is the Worst President Ever territory? I doubt a large percent of 1920s Germany had any idea how bad Hitler would be. Since Huey Long got assassinated, we'll never know if he was really going to be Buzz Windrip.
        We probably should have seen the Trail of Tears coming, given Jackson's terrorism of the Creeks. I'm not so sure about the Japanese internment camps and FDR.
        What I worry about with Clinton is the relative likelihood in the worst case scenario. One worst case scenario is that we get attacked by Pakistanis with a nuclear weapon and we have to figure out- fast- if it was authorized by the government. Whether we *merely* end up with forcible registration of Pakistanis, or whether we have Pakistani internment camps, or whether we start a nuclear war that renders the planet uninhabitable is the question. I rate the first most likely under Sanders, the second under Clinton, and the last under Trump.

  • Agree 88%? I agree completely about how horrible Trump is and why. I love Bernie's passion, his ideas, and his heart, but he scares me because I don't believe he has the ability to take the cotton candy out of his head and govern like HRC could. His take on healthcare sounds lovely but is unhinged from a practical standpoint. OTOH, if dems are going to unify, we need to be careful. There are Bernie supporters I know that really hate HRC deeply and we may need to leave those folks out of a future coalition. But we need to include as many as we can, and making a caricature of people who have reservations* about HRC puts me off. And I agree with everything else you said.

    *"People don't like Clinton because she's a woman who doesn't give them a warm fuzzy feeling, and whose strong leadership qualities, which they would admire in any dude candidate, make them anxious and confused because they are attached to a Person Of Vagina."

    • Zuska says:

      I'm not saying that all Bernie supporters dislike Clinton for any or all of the reasons I enumerated. I do want to draw a distinction to the different grounds on which each candidate is vilified.

      Even for the non-sexist reasons people may have for not being enthusiastic Clinton supporters - these reasons are in a whole different universe than what gives people the heebie jeebies about Trump. It's like house hunting and looking at two properties: one is livable, but not ideal, may need a new roof and furnace, and you probably want an inspection. The other is built right on top the San Andreas fault line, has a termite infestation, unmitigated radon, lead paint flaking off the windowsills, lead pipe plumbing, a leaking septic tank, and the roof is on fire. And your realtor dismisses them both as "unlikeable".

  • eeke says:

    I can no longer generalize about blaming the Clinton-is-a-woman for why people don't like her. I don't like her. I might hold my nose and vote for her if I must. My reasons for not liking her are related to her track record for dishonesty. The FBI investigation and possible indictment is a real thing and not some right-wing spin. I know several people who have had security clearance and they say unanimously that they would be in prison by now for doing the same thing. It doesn't stop there. I am uncomfortable for how she has gotten away with things that amount to lying, cheating, and covering up who-knows-what. Sure, she has experience. But it would not surprise me if the republican congress were constantly chasing after her with impeachment threats once she gets into office. For once, the democrats should put forward an honest respectable candidate. Obama was a good candidate (even though he was later bought out by wall street), and he won.

    The Bernie supporters should not be so easily dismissed. Going by the pledged delegate count, they account for 45% or more (ie, independents) of left-leaning, democratic voters. In other words, a significant portion of the electorate.

    Finally, I resent how Bernie is being blamed for distracting Hillary from "pivoting" her campaign against Trump. What is it, exactly, that she needs to pivot? If she wants to campaign for the general, she should do so on whatever policies she claims to put forward. Whatever those are.

    ok, that's my rant. I would LOVE to see a female president. But that honor should go to someone who is a good person. I hope to see that in my lifetime.

    • Zuska says:

      We've had plenty of dude presidents who were not good people - maybe most of them. I guess I'm cynical, I don't think you get to that level of power without some machinations and shady stuff. No one, not even Obama, as much as I respect and admire him (and I think he's one of our best.)

      Why am I going to hold the first female president to a higher standard than 99.9% of male politicians? We're not electing a saint. I don't need her to be pure of heart. I need my president to be effective and to pursue policies that are good for people, not corporations (Citizens United notwithstanding), and for the environment.

      I wonder how many people are aware of Clinton's efforts on behalf of LGBT rights globally - how "gay rights are human rights" became part of U.S. policy in the State department.
      Clinton orchestrated that historic speech at the UN in such a way that no one knew ahead of time what she was going to do and so no nation's ambassador could skip out on it.

      Clinton is the real deal, even if there are things you don't like. Trump is a one-way ticket to race riots and fascism.

      • eeke says:

        I agree with your point about Trump: he must be stopped. I am convinced that Bernie has a better chance of stopping him than Hillary. I do not agree with all of his policies (Bernie's), but he appeals to a broader electorate than Hillary.

        Also agree that bad dudes have become US president, dictators of other countries, etc. I would count HRC in among those bad dudes. Her foreign policies are most similar to those of GW Bush. And she counts Kissinger (a war criminal) among her advisors and pals. No thanks.