After a rough summer of 2015, HillaryMen published an article titled “Gut Check: How to Stay Calm and Confident in the Turbulence of Hillary’s Campaign” (re-purposed below). It was written at an uncertain moment for Hillary’s candidacy and was intended as a reality check for anyone who expected her to coast to the nomination. Hillary weathered the storm but her supporters should be prepared for another rough summer.
Hillary’s voters are the superstars of the 2016 presidential race. They have stood firm in the face of a withering assault against their candidate and a concerted effort to marginalize them. They should brace themselves for more turbulence in the months to come.
1. There’s no such thing as an easy presidential campaign, especially for a woman.
A national political campaign is a risky and complex undertaking involving the creation of a massive organization tasked with persuading and mobilizing tens of millions of people in a matter of months. Ultimately, only one candidate and one team will prevail. It is invariably a tumultuous journey. Even in a data-driven age, where predictive analytics can divine the proclivities of individual voters down to their choice of beverage, running a campaign is a process of guessing, adapting, taking chances, hoping and praying.
That challenge is compounded for a woman, who faces deeply entrenched institutional gender bias:
- There have been 46 female senators of the United States. There have been 1,919 male senators. That’s 98 percent male.
- There have been 3 female Secretaries of State in U.S. history and 65 men. That’s just above 95 percent male.
- There have been 4 female Supreme Court justices in the United States, including 3 now serving on the bench. There have been 108 male justices. That’s more than 96 percent male.
- There have been 44 Presidents of the United States. All men. The math is easy: that’s 100 percent male.
2. Hillary faces unique challenges, including a relentless media campaign to undermine her.
For Hillary Clinton, three decades of smears and lies have created a caricature of the real person, a caricature that the corporate media obsessively reinforce.
- A male candidate is smart, while Hillary is “calculating, scheming, crafty, manipulative.”
- A male candidate values privacy, while Hillary is “secretive, suspicious, paranoid, uncommunicative.”
- A male candidate takes strong positions, while Hillary is “polarizing, divisive, alienating.”
- A male candidate deserves the benefit of the doubt, while Hillary is “untrustworthy, corrupt, deceitful, dishonest, unethical.”
- A male candidate is an achiever while Hillary is “over-ambitious, will do or say anything to win.”
- A male candidate is diplomatic while Hillary is “inauthentic, disingenuous, fake, unlikable, insincere.”
- A male candidate is solid and unflappable, while Hillary is “machine-like, robotic, abnormal, cold.”
- A male candidate is a confident leader, while Hillary is “inevitable, defiant, imperious, regal, testy.”
- A male candidate is experienced, while Hillary is “old, out of touch, represents the past.”
Bernie Sanders got it right last year, before he joined the Hillary-bashing brigade:
“I can’t think of many personalities who have been attacked for more reasons than Hillary Clinton. I don’t know that a man would be treated the same way that Hillary is. Some of it is sexist.”
In President Obama’s words, “Hillary had a tougher job throughout that primary than I did. She had to do everything that I had to do, except, like Ginger Rogers, backwards in heels.”
3. Hillary’s many attackers are masterful at what they do.
Hillary’s opponents are very good at what they do; they are masters of the art of political destruction and of the twisted logic that traps and disorients their target.
Bernie’s Wall Street dog whistle has been a brutal attack on Hillary’s integrity, one that Bernie himself considered a “character assault” in less contentious times. He and his campaign continue to blast away at Hillary’s public image, with little regard for the consequences.
Donald Trump has no filter and will go so far as to call for the disarming of Hillary’s security detail to make a political point. The media joyfully provide a 24/7 platform for his hateful rhetoric, including heinous attacks on her marriage.
And then there are the anti-Hillary memes, those dangerously infectious negative frames concocted by shadowy rightwing groups and adopted by Hillary bashers on all sides of the political spectrum. These memes (criminal, liar, corrupt, untrustworthy) have no basis in reality but gain traction through endless repetition.
The process is as simple as it is ugly and effective: The media and commentariat incessantly repeat that Hillary is hiding something, that she is unethical and dishonest, or at least appears to be. They ramble on hour after hour, day after day slamming her, attacking her character. Then, lo and behold, polls find the public regurgitating those attacks and a renewed frenzy commences from the very same people who started the process, saying “look, look, the public agrees with us!”
The torrent of invective hurled at Hillary is unlike anything any other candidate has ever faced. That she is still standing, let alone winning, is mind-boggling. Her ability to withstand incoming fire borders on the heroic.
Imagine how another candidate would fare if half a billion dollars were spent to demolish their character and large portions of the national media denigrated them on a daily basis. Would that candidate still be in the race? Of course not. They’d be curled up in a fetal position, nursing their wounds.
4. The intensity of Hillary bashing increases as she gets closer to the White House.
Bernie and his supporters are threatening to destabilize the Democratic convention. Donald is already making vile and baseless accusations about Hillary’s personal life.
Online trolls are having a field day, hiding behind the cloak of anonymity to spew their cowardly slurs and insults at her.
The corporate media are basking in the extreme negativity, thrilled that it’s open season on Hillary. They eagerly magnify the attacks on her integrity, with little regard for facts and decency.
Each day that Hillary gets closer to the presidency, the forces that have barred all women from the Oval Office dig in and get more vicious, like the proverbial cornered animal.
5. Hillary’s campaign and her surrogates will make mistakes and there’s no point second guessing them.
For Hillary’s supporters, the summer of 2015 was the equivalent of a sudden drop during turbulence, where passengers catch their breath, grab their seats with sweaty palms and pray that the pilots can guide them to smoother skies.
The summer of 2016 won’t be any different. At this nose-bleed altitude, American politics is bumpy and unpredictable. Guiding a massive aircraft through a line of towering storms is no easy task. Everyone worries, and everyone has advice to give.
But at the end of the day, going wobbly never helps. Second guessing the campaign exacerbates negative narratives.
6. Hillary’s supporters are heroes in the fight for justice and equality.
All presidential campaigns are hard, but this one, with women’s equality and fairness on the line, requires singular courage and perseverance. These once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to right historic wrongs demand a big vision, big thinking and limitless resolve.
The road to justice is paved with the spirits of those who fought for it – and littered with those who fought against it. Barack Obama would not be president without the sacrifices of the great civil rights leaders who put their lives on the line to clear a path for him. Hillary would not be within striking distance of the presidency were it not for the brave women (and men) who fought for women’s rights.
The battle for justice is larger than we are, it will outlast us. Being part of it is an honor and we cherish it.
So this is our admonition: a successful campaign requires our strength as well as Hillary’s. We are backing the candidate who has more conviction, stamina, and intellectual willpower than all her rivals combined.
A bumpy summer lies ahead. Polls will bounce around. Pundits will predict doom. Opponents will savage Hillary’s integrity. Lies and distortions will fly across social media. No one will be spared. Everything will be considered fair game.
But if we keep carrying Hillary on our shoulders, then long after we’re gone, women and girls will look back at this moment in history as an inflection point when the impossible become the possible.
Let’s fight to win. And remember: #WomenTrumpDonald.
(Photos: Hillary for America)