Politics: We Always End Up Talking About Hillary, Don't We?

I’m at the BlogHer 2007 breakout session that’s titled Politics: Earn Our Votes: What Questions Do Women Bloggers Want Candidates to Answer in Election 2008?

We had an interesting discussion on where women fall on the spectrum of health care, terrorism, Iraq, etc.; however, the conversation inevitably moved to Hillary Clinton. One woman characterized support for Hillary as a life or death choice: if we don’t for this woman now, when will we get another chance to support a woman for president? Will a potential ‘Hillary defeat’ set us back and stifle future women candidates?

It was at that moment when my heart broke.

Supporting and voting for Hillary Clinton is yet another difficult choice that women will have to make that defines us in ways that men cannot understand and will never appreciate. While Hillary’s candidacy itself may inspire change in America — we may soon find more female corporate leaders, more women in senior management roles, more women in government, etc. — her failure to capture The White House will be framed as the ultimate defeat. I fear that her loss will be bigger than just a political loss: it has the potential to set the progressive agenda back to the Reagan years.

I’m also concerned about the media’s potential coverage of a Hillary loss. Can you imagine the questions? Instead of discussing policy, the media will go for the cat-fighting jugular:

* Why don’t women support other women?
* Why don’t women like Hillary?
* Are women still angry at Bill?

The session is wrapping up, but I was surprised by a question that was asked to the audience: Will you vote for a Presidential candidate based on gender?

Only a few women raised their hands, and one of them wasn’t me — but I think that I might be lying.

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