Words by Amy Fallon
Art by Imogen Whiteley
As we near the end of what has to have been one of the most hate filled, dramatic presidential elections any of us have lived through, Hilary looks increasingly likely to win the day. However, while her affiliations, policies and the fact that she’s ‘not Donald Trump’ may win her the votes of the liberal youth, she’s still a way off convincing our generation she’s not just more of the same.
In a study carried out by Farido Jalalzai, it was revealed that of the seven dominant female presidents around the world elected from 1960 to 2008, only one was without family connections to the political realm of that country. Clinton of course slots right into this depressing statistic. Her cries that “women’s rights are human rights” came from the podium as first lady and the label of ‘ultimate insider’ is one her team has been hard pressed to shake over the course of her campaign. Though an intelligent, brilliant women in her own right, few could disagree that the course of her political career has been charted by her marriage to the former most powerful man in the world.
Of course, The importance of symbols in the advancement of women’s rights cannot be refuted, plainly put being able to show kids “women can” is generally easier when you have a few pictures to go with your powerpoint. The first female secretary of state, the first female presidential nominee, the first women president. Come November Hilary Clinton will hopefully have racked up quite the resume as a pioneer for gender equality in the political sphere. Not to say that this exciting prospect should add credibility to the ‘vote with your vagina’ campaign led by women such as Madeline Albright who proclaimed back in January that, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” On the contrary, Hilary needs to appeal to younger women by peddling more than just their biological commonalities and those who choose to cast for Clinton should, and will, do so for reasons which far transcend her ‘ownership of a vagina’.
However the fact remains that impressive as the list of firsts may be, the reason young women were left slinking out of the DNC convention with their ‘Feel the bern’ signs crumpled dejectedly in their backpacks instead of joining in the euphoric cheers of the female over 45’s, is that an enumeration of the ways Hilary’s nomination is just ‘business as usual’ for American politics stretches just as far. She is for them; just another member of an elitist system they feel isn’t listening.
“Gallup tracking over the past month (July 1-27) shows that 31% of 18- to 29-year-old Americans have a favorable view of Clinton, compared with 40% of 30- to 49-year-olds, 41% of 50- to 64-year-olds and 39% of those 65 and older. In other words, Clinton has the least favorable image among young Americans.”
Of course as it continues to sink in that a failure to vote for Hilary is essentially just another vote for the feminist version of the anti-christ; the fake tanned, toupee’d, madman Donald Trump. Numbers of young female support should only continue to grow. However, chances of inspiring the kind of youth turnout that Obama drew a lot of his democratic legitimacy from is markedly slim and, since youth turnout is already generally far lower than that of older age brackets, this could have serious implications for her numbers in November.
The Clinton campaign is going to have to push hard the idea that this is a candidate they can trust and not just another member of the political glitterati who, having diligently waited in line is now “owed” her term. Her seemingly endless list of star studded endorsements from every celeb with an iPhone (and then also Bernie Sanders) was a step in the right direction. However, one in 4 Sanders supporters have said they would not support Hilary in November. The campaign #NeverHillary is still circulating social media and her policies are are likely to draw criticism from feminists across the country even after she is elected.
In all Hilary Clinton is potentially not the ‘first women president’ the liberal youth had dreamed of. While her candidacy is at the least, fully deserving of their votes, it seems to me they should save their ‘hearts and minds’ for the next one … whomever she may be.