This election cycle has produced some spectacular entertainment. But it has also produced (already) spectacular benefits for the country. It would be easy to miss those benefits. I’ll explain.
For starters, we no longer assume a non-politician can’t get nominated for a major party. Trump seems on the way to do that. That probably improves our options for future races. I assume we will see more of it.
Secondly, Trump demolished political correctness – at least for now – and that might give us more options in dealing with immigration and other thorny problems.
But I think Hillary Clinton gets my vote for having the biggest accomplishment. And I’ll bet that accomplishment is invisible to you, the same way a magician uses misdirection to render the real trick invisible. I’ll give you the misdirection first.
Hillary Clinton has been transparent in saying that one of the benefits she can bring to the presidency is her gender. As President Obama did for racial perceptions, Clinton can do for gender. It would be a tremendous moment in history to swear in the first woman president.
That was the misdirection. You missed the actual trick.
The trick is that Hillary Clinton has already accomplished the gender breakthrough. There really isn’t anything left to prove, gender-wise. Any doubts that people have about Clinton are related to her character and track record. Her gender isn’t even in the conversation as a potential negative.
Clinton made that happen.
Sure, you might hear some whispered sexism at parties. There’s always the guy with too many cocktails saying Clinton will have a hot flash and unleash the nuclear arsenal. But that guy is drunk. And people say worse things about Obama a million times a day.
My point is that Hillary Clinton already won the gender war. She removed gender from the conversation about the presidency.
Think about that.
Hillary Clinton, through her life’s work and achievements, has made the idea of “woman president” almost seem like the past. The young women supporting Bernie Sanders probably don’t think breaking the presidential glass ceiling is even a thing. It feels pre-broken, by Clinton.
When Obama was running for his first term, much of the pundit conversation was about racism and whether or not enough of the other races would support him. But have you heard much in the mainstream media about Clinton’ gender being a negative?
You haven’t. Because it isn’t.
Hillary Clinton did that.
I consider this to be one of history’s greatest accomplishments. Hillary Clinton took gender out of the conversation (except trivially) for the highest office in the land.
Criticize Hillary Clinton for other things, but you have to give her credit for leveling the presidential playing field forever. It might be some time before another woman makes a strong run for the office, but only because there are fewer women in the pipeline. The question of gender-related competence is settled. Now it is about the individual.
Credit Clinton for that improvement in society, whether she wins or loses. The change is permanent. That deserves respect. She has mine, in this one way at least.