She Stole The Election Fair And Square... Is It Fair To Hate Her? (Trump, Trump, Trump)
Someone from Bernie's campaign says Hillary didn't steal the election. Stealing an election is different from 7 or 8 people on an e-mail thread. This some real misdirection there. She totally stole the election, state by state by state. She cheated in every state and people who pay attention and keep an open mind know it. As Matt Taibbi pointed out at Rolling Stone yesterday, "the primary season was very far from a fair fight. The Sanders camp was forced to fund all of its own operations, while the Clinton campaign could essentially use the entire Democratic Party structure as adjunct staff. The DNC not only wasn't neutral, but helped with oppo research against Sanders and media crisis management. DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign as a result of this mess." Then go state by state and examine how the party bosses stole and cheated and sabotaged and did whatever they had to do to keep the barbarians from getting through their gates.
Taibbi adds that "down the road, someone will have to address the problem of a Democratic Party structure that effectively had no internal advocates for a full 43 percent of its voters. As we've seen with the Trump episode on the other side, people don't much like having to fight against the party claiming to represent them."
I loved Sarah Silverman at the convention Monday, but no one likes being boo-ed and she tartly said, "to the Bernie or best people: you're being ridiculous," while Al Franken drooled over her shoulder like the jackass and hack he's turned into over the last 6-7 years. But what else could they do? Let Trump in? It really comes to that. You're either for the horrible, cheating, lying Hillary or you're for the even worse-- yes, yes, much worse-- Trump. Or you're of a state of mind where you feel comfortable saying "FUCK OFF with your corrupt system, go choke on it; I won't participate." (That would be me. I may sound like I'm rooting for Hillary on Twitter, but I'm not. I'm rooting against Trump, mostly holding my mouth shut about her-- even trying to see a saving grace-- but I'll never vote for her. Never. The Chuck Schumer/Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democratic Party deserves Trump; they've earned him and the horrors he'll bring.
I just had an argument with my air-conditioning and heating guy, who I've known for a decade and am very friendly with. He's an immigrant-- from Israel-- and he's voting for Trump. I tried to persuade him not to. But, there's something strange about me trying to persuade someone else to vote for her when I never will. Michelle Goldberg, writing at Slate this week tried to delve into what makes people hate her so. Sally Quinn, Democratic hostess with the mostess, told Louis Gates for his 1996 "Hating Hillary" piece in the New Yorker that "[T]here’s just something about her that pisses people off. This is the reaction that she elicits from people." Goldberg claims that "over the last two decades, the something that pisses people off has changed."
Peggy Noonan isn't the only observer who found Hillary to have "an air of apple-cheeked certitude... political in its nature and grating in its effects... an implicit insistence throughout her career that hers were the politics of moral decency and therefore those who opposed her politics were obviously of a lower moral order."
Goldberg's man on the street interviews yielded these reviews:
• "Bill without the charisma... programmed and almost robotic. I don’t think her recent move to the left, or being more populist recently, is part of who she is but more of a reaction to Sanders in the race."A lot of that is pretty crazy stuff. "Some who loathe Clinton," wrote Goldberg, "see her as the living embodiment of avarice and deception. These Clinton haters take at face value every charge Republicans have ever hurled at her, as well as dark accusations that circulate online. They have the most invidious possible explanation for Whitewater, the dubious real estate deal that served as a pretext for endless Republican investigations of the Clintons in the 1990s. (Clinton was never found guilty of any wrongdoing, though one of her business partners, James McDougal, went to prison for fraud in a related case.) Sometimes they believe that Clinton murdered her former law partner, Vince Foster, who committed suicide in 1993. They hold her responsible for the deadly attack on the American outpost in Benghazi, Libya. Peter Schweizer’s new book Clinton Cash has convinced them that there was a corrupt nexus between Clinton’s State Department, various foreign governments, and the Clinton family’s foundation. Most of Schweizer’s allegations have either been disproven or shown to be unsubstantiated, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from invoking them repeatedly. In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, he accused Clinton of raking in 'millions of dollars trading access and favors to special interests and foreign powers.' As former New York Times editor-in-chief Jill Abramson wrote, 'I would be dead rich... if I could bill for all the hours I’ve spent covering just about every "scandal" that has enveloped the Clintons.' After all that investigation, Abramson concluded that Clinton 'is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.' But the appearance of perpetual scandal surrounding Clinton can make it seem as if she must be hiding something monstrous, especially to those who are predisposed against her."
• "She is disingenuous and she lies blatantly, but that’s what a lot of politicians do. It’s definitely more of a policy issue for me... I don’t like her support for the Iraq war. She didn’t support same-sex marriage until it became a popular issue. Her email stuff-- she is the only one that would not testify, and I think that’s bullshit. I don’t like her friendship with Netanyahu. I think they’ve destroyed the Middle East with Iraq. I don’t like that she takes money from big banks. She doesn’t support universal health care. For all those reasons. I think she’s more a Republican than a Democrat, and I refuse to vote for Republicans, ever."
• "I don’t think she has a clue what people in my position need in life and certainly wouldn’t stoop to, quote unquote, my level. If I could make her a profit she’d be my best friend, but I can’t, so she doesn’t know I exist... If she was moving her lips she was probably lying about it."
• "I think that Hillary Clinton is a sociopath, so I think that her main interest is in her pocketbook, and I think that’s obvious from looking at the Clinton Foundation"
• "I think she’s trying to tell people, 'Vote for me because I’m a woman.' Ignore the fact that I have accomplished practically nothing significant in my whole career in the public eye, but I’m a woman, so vote for me."
It could be that the reasons people give for disliking Clinton have changed simply because she herself has changed. She entered the White House as a brashly self-confident liberal. Early on, some of the president’s advisers sought to undermine her plans for health care reform because they were thought to be insufficiently business-friendly; in response, Carl Bernstein, one of her biographers, quotes her snapping at her husband, “You didn’t get elected to do Wall Street economics.” Then, after the epic repudiation of the 1994 midterms, in which Republicans won a House majority for the first time since 1952, she overcorrected-- becoming too cautious, too compromising, too solicitous of entrenched interests. As she would say during her 2000 Senate campaign, “I now come from the school of small steps.”The Democratic Establishment stole the nomination for her-- whether a little or a lot-- and that was a boneheaded move because they may well lose to Trump. Like I said, people like Wasserman Schultz and Chuck Schumer deserve Trump. Their discomfit is even more of a reason for me to vote for Jill Stein. As Darlene Glanton wrote in the Chicago Tribune yesterday, "Bernie Sanders' supporters have a right to be angry. The leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee apparently confirmed what they have said all along-- that the political system was rigged against their candidate in favor of Hillary Clinton. Top Democrats essentially dismissed Sanders as a viable candidate during the primaries, attempted to undermine him with voters and even took steps to derail his campaign, according to hacked emails that were recently made public by WikiLeaks. In doing so, Democrats tarnished the electoral process and alienated a large constituency of voters that they will need to help lift Clinton to victory in November... [T]he email controversy has contributed to suspicion and mistrust many voters already had toward Clinton... It's unlikely Sanders supporters will switch courses and go all the way over to the other side. But this is the sort of thing that could make some voters stay home in November."
In other words, people hated Hillary Clinton for being one sort of person, and in response to that she became another sort of person, who people hated for different reasons. But this doesn’t explain why the emotional tenor of the hatred seems so consistent, even as the rationale for it has turned inside out. Perhaps that’s because anti-Hillary animus is only partly about what she does. It’s also driven by some ineffable quality of charisma, or the lack of it.
No doubt, this quality is gendered; Americans tend not to like ambitious women with loud voices. As Rebecca Traister wrote in her recent New York magazine profile of Clinton, “It’s worth asking to what degree charisma, as we have defined it, is a masculine trait. Can a woman appeal to the country in the same way we are used to men doing it?” Elizabeth Warren’s forthright authenticity is often favorably contrasted with Clinton’s calculated persona, but when Warren was running for Senate against Scott Brown, she was also widely painted as dishonest and unlikable.... This fits a broader pattern. Marianne Cooper, a sociologist at Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the lead researcher on Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, says that women who are successful in areas that are culturally coded as male are typically seen as “abrasive, conniving, not trustworthy, and selfish.”
What’s happening to Clinton, says Cooper, “happens to a lot of women. There are millions of people who will say about another woman: She’s really good at her job, I just don’t like her. They think they’re making an objective evaluation, but when we look at the broader analysis, there is a pattern to the bias.”
Among hardcore Trump supporters, the misogyny often isn’t subtle. The Republican National Convention seethed with a visceral, highly personalized, and highly sexualized contempt toward Clinton. Men wore T-shirts that said, “Hillary Sucks but Not Like Monica” on one side and “Trump That Bitch” on the backs. Buttons and bumper stickers read, “Life’s a Bitch: Don’t Vote For One.” One man wore a Hillary mask and sat behind a giant yellow sign saying “Trump vs. Tramp.” Another, an RNC volunteer, was dressed up like Septa Unella from Game of Thrones and held a naked blowup doll with Clinton’s face attached, re-enacting a scene in which Cersei Lannister, a murderous queen, is stripped naked and marched through the streets before jeering throngs. The right-wing fantasy of seeing Clinton degraded and humiliated has rarely been performed so starkly.
Most Americans, however, are not frothing partisans. For many of them, something in addition to sexism is at work in Clinton’s unpopularity-- some mystery of mass media connection. There’s a reason actors do screen tests: Not everyone’s charm translates to film and video. For as long as Hillary Clinton has been in public life, people who’ve met in her person have marveled at how much more likable she is in the flesh than she is on television. “What’s remarkable isn’t that she can be funny, spontaneous, and mischievous, and has a loud, throaty laugh; what’s remarkable is the extent to which she has sequestered her personality from the media,” Gates wrote in 1996.
Twenty years later, Traister discovered a similar disconnect. “The conviction that I was in the presence of a capable, charming politician who inspires tremendous excitement would fade and in fact clash dramatically with the impressions I’d get as soon as I left her circle: of a campaign imperiled, a message muddled, unfavorables scarily high,” she wrote. “To be near her is to feel like the campaign is in steady hands; to be at any distance is to fear for the fate of the republic.”
Republican strategist Katie Packer sees parallels between Clinton and Mitt Romney, for whom Packer served as deputy campaign manager in 2012. “In a lot of ways her weaknesses are very similar to Mitt’s weaknesses,” Packer tells me. “She’s somebody who is kind of a policy nerd, somebody who is very solution-oriented. She just does not have great people skills. Because of that, whenever something goes wrong, people don’t give her the benefit of the doubt. They don’t trust her.” Politically, this is a hard dynamic to overcome; Clinton’s efforts to appear relatable only make her seem more calculating. “It comes across as stilted and staged and for a purpose, so it defeats the purpose,” says Packer.
For Democrats, the silver lining is that Clinton’s running against Donald Trump. “I think she won the lottery ticket,” Packer says. According to Packer, there’s a way to make independent and moderate Republican women soften toward Hillary Clinton: Go after her husband’s infidelity. “One thing that causes them to come to her defense is when they feel like she’s being blamed for her husband’s bad behavior,” Packer says. Trump has done exactly that, attacking Hillary as an “enabler” of her husband’s sexual misdeeds. “The one Republican who is incapable of not bullying her is going to be her opponent,” says Packer. “The one Republican who is incapable of showing any empathy in his own right is going to be her opponent.”
That makes it more likely that many voters will do what Brian Greene did and vote for Clinton despite their distaste. Should that happen, it remains to be seen if Hillary hatred shapes her ability to govern. Cooper thinks it’s possible that once she’s no longer explicitly competing for power, the widespread public dislike of her might ebb. “When she announces she’s running for something, her unfavorability increases,” Cooper says of Clinton. “When she’s in a role, her favorability starts to creep up again.” Figures from the Pew Research Center bear this out. Clinton’s favorability ratings fell to 49 percent when she was running for Senate in 2000, then went up to 60 percent when she entered office. They’ve fallen below 50 percent during both presidential campaigns but reached 66 percent when she was secretary of state.