Hillary Rodham Clinton’s quest to become the first female President of the United States ended abruptly yesterday at the hands of billionaire reality TV star Donald Trump.
I still find it difficult to accept that, and what it means for the world.
What’s even more shocking is how tight a race it was. Watching the results roll in I cringed as Trump took the lead and Clinton lagged behind. Trump ripped the presidency from under her with 279 electoral college votes, to Hillary’s 228.
Clinton won the popular vote, but ‘The Donald’ still gets to move his clan into the White House. How did this happen? Why did it happen? Everyone has a theory, here’s mine.
The generational divide between voters and their ideological stance continues to grow. In this presidential election, the majority of 18-44 year old’s voted for Clinton (52%) and, on the opposite end, 45 and overs favoured Trump (53%).
The younger generation has always had a bit of an issue with turning out to vote, and this is not unusual. Trump managed to rally his supporters, create a frenzy around him and his impossible promises. A wall, really? It worked though, didn’t it.
Clinton, strong and steady waited out against him and pushed out a progressive message, which although was no Bernie Sanders, still focuses heavily on equal rights for minorities, LGBTQ, disabilities and women. Her policies should have been her chance to shut down Trump – I mean he’s offended almost everyone except white men – but despite the latest and most complicated data targeting system you could get failed to get the voters, who should have got her into the Oval Office, into the polling stations.
The emails. Why did no-one trust her? Donald Trump’s ‘nasty woman’ comment summed it up. No-one trusted that nasty woman, that secretive woman. That warmongering woman. Look at what her husband did 20 years ago, ignore the 30 years she’s spent in public office serving her country and dedicating herself to equal rights. Let’s focus on everything else, except for her policies and what she stands for.
This election campaign was rife with misogyny, from Trump’s constant ‘manterruptions’ in the live debates to his elation at grabbing women by the ‘pussy’ in the now infamous video. Clinton stood her ground, even if she was coached, good for her. I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes before calling him something I wouldn’t regret.
Trump’s policies rarely came under any great scrutiny, he would duck and dive and jabber on until everyone lost interest or he said something everyone in the crowd would whoop at. Hillary tried to get her message across, but she wasn’t enthusing anyone, she seemed like the sensible intelligent candidate who could do the job. I mean she’s been working her whole life towards this point, she’s been through hell and who does she get landed with as an opponent?
Then she loses.
I cried during her concession speech, it was pathetic. I live in Scotland, both of my countries leaders are women, what do I have to complain about?
This is the point, Hillary said it herself: The Presidency was “that highest of glass ceilings” and we all thought it was about to be shattered. It needed to be shattered to show young women and girls in America (who suffer a great deal of inequality with their male counterparts -hyperlink) and all over the world (ditto) that they could be President themselves or achieve whatever they wanted to. Instead, a man famous for his misogyny becomes leader of the free world. It’s a kick in the teeth, it’s horrible. It feels like they’re trying to put you in your place.
Clinton also said in her speech that nothing made her prouder to be the champion of young women and girls. She eclipsed Donald with 54% of women voting for her, to his measly 42%. That’s not the whole story though.
53% of white women voted for Trump. This allegedly handed him the Presidency. I mean, wow.
Women can be misogynists too, and people seem to forget that. Sexism is so entrenched in our reality and daily lives that it’s not impossible or sickening to believe that a woman would vote for Trump. I mean why does it matter if he says he would grab a woman by the pussy? It was only locker room talk!
On that scale though, that’s a bit terrifying.
The anti-establishment wave that elected Trump, who has never been in political office before now, are making their voice heard. Loudly. It happened with Brexit, a wave of unease and tension in communities followed, and the same seems to be happening in the United States.
The US has just elected the least qualified President in modern history. Clinton herself couldn’t have been more qualified, but, Trump still won.
There’s a long road of uncertainty ahead, but as Clinton herself said: “This loss hurts, but please, never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”