Misogyny & Racism Win

Hillary Clinton wins popular vote, loses the Electoral College.


Published:

She wore purple and black for the speech.

Some thought it symbolized an attempt to meld red and blue states, and also mourning for what was lost. But like everything Hillary Clinton has worn at historic moments, it was a feminist statement.

It wasn’t white, like her honoring of the suffragists when she won the Democratic primary in a landslide, with the most votes ever of any Democratic candidate except herself in 2008, when she won the popular vote, but lost the delegate count to Barack Obama.

It wasn’t white, like her honoring of the suffragists when she accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia exactly 240 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Hillary Clinton wore purple and black. Black for mourning what could and should have been. Purple – the color of the National Women’s Party, formed a century ago to pass an amendment to the Constitution ensuring women’s suffrage.

An early statement by the NWP, founded by Alice Paul who would later write the Equal Rights Amendment, explained that purple symbolizes "loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause."

 

                                                                                                                     Alice Paul 

 

Has there been a more loyal Democratic public servant than Hillary Clinton?

The speech was one none of us had expected to hear and one which most of us in the feminist, LGBT and black communities — her strongest supporters – hoped never to hear.

It was Hillary Clinton’s concession speech.

After two years – or 40, depending on how you chose to count it – Clinton’s quest for the White House and to become the first woman president was over. She had won the popular vote but lost the electoral college vote. One of only five candidates to have done so in American history. Andrew Jackson in 1824, Samuel Tilden in 1876, Grover Cleveland in 1888, Al Gore in 2000 and now the one and only female candidate of a major party since George Washington became our first president in 1789.

The previous 12 hours had been a roller coaster. Clinton was the odds-on favorite to win the election in literally every poll nationwide. On Election Day lines were long throughout the country. In my city – where 85 percent ultimately voted for Clinton – people were still in line more than an hour after the polls closed.

Clinton had gone to the polls to vote for herself early – and in white. One can only imagine what it was like to vote for herself for President of the United States.

And one can only imagine the strength it took to stand there, 12 hours after the polls had closed on the West Coast, and give a speech essential to the nation to begin healing and to put an ending to her long, passionate and inspiring fight to break that most impenetrable glass ceiling.

Her VP running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, looked stunned and fighting back tears as he introduced her. Her campaign manager, Robby Mook, the first openly gay campaign manager in U.S. history, was visibly shaken and looked as if he’d been crying, as did former president Bill Clinton. In the front row were Clinton’s beautifully diverse staff – women, men, white, black, Latina, Asian. Huma Abedin, Clinton’s closest aide for 20 years, fought back tears.

But Hillary was strong, smiling, unshaken, unbowed, unbroken. She showed us, yet again, what real leadership looks like.

Her speech was the epitome of grace in defeat, of strength in the face of unbearable and shocking and unexpected loss.

"I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together, this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign. You represent the best of America and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it, too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort."

Creative and unruly we were. Diverse, truly – exit polls showed 94 percent of black women and 68 percent of Latinas voted for Clinton.

Unruly we still are. Protests began Wednesday night, starting at Trump Tower in New York and spreading nationwide.

There have never been protest marches after a presidential election in my lifetime. (There were protests about the vote count in 2000, but not about George W. Bush’s election.) But there has never been a candidate like Donald Trump before.

Which is why this happened.

I expect it to get worse. I wrote about what happened after Brexit in the U.K. as a cautionary tale.

Clinton said all the things a leader should say. She said we had to have an open mind with Trump. But then she enumerated the many things Trump has done to thwart democracy, saying, "Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don't just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things. The rule of law, the principle that we are all equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them."

But as I write this, America is in a growing state of siege. Those of us who reject a Trump presidency against those who voted for it.

Here’s what we lost: a real leader with gravitas and compassion and a belief in equality for all Americans. She never failed to cite us all – including the most marginalized like immigrants, LGBT, disabled.

Here’s what we got: a racist, xenophobic, homophobic self-declared sexual predator whose misogyny is legendary.

Knowing this, Clinton said, "Now  I know  I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams."

I’m watching the news now. Watching the protests. Hillary Clinton’s loyal voters, the ones who look like America – young and old, women and men, black, Latinx, Asian, LGBT, disabled – marching everywhere in America. Refusing Trump, as they have said on Twitter: #NotMyPresident.

Out black gay politics correspondent on ABC, LZ Granderson, is talking to Nightline’s JuJu Chang, who asks, "She won the popular vote–60 million people have been disenfranchised. Where does she go from here?"

And LZ says, "She’s the most significant and accomplished female politician in our history."

She was. She is. And we blew it. We had the opportunity to have not just the first woman president, but a proven leader who worked for all of us.

One black gay man I know said simply, "We didn’t deserve her."

Not true, though. Those of us who wanted to further progressive causes in America, to build on civil rights, to help make women and LGBT people full citizens – we deserved her.

 

What we underestimated was how much America hates women. We had the most qualified candidate in nearly 100 years and we didn’t let her go, we lied about her, we let the media promote a self-declared sexual predator, a white nationalist, a xenophobe who chose as his running mate a man who has made it his mission to literally eradicate gays and lesbians.

Hillary’s messages that #LoveTrumpsHate and we are #StrongerTogether? We chose hate over love.

Yet, she said, "I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us."

We listened as we were told over and over again that Hillary Clinton was corrupt when she had spent her life as a public servant working for women and marginalized people. We listened as the two privileged white men who ran against her said the system – the one that has never let a woman get this close to the presidency in 240 years – was rigged in her favor. We listened as we were told she – a second class citizen – was the Establishment. We listened as white pundits never once said she was the most qualified for the job or that her competitors’ resumes were threadbare.

We listened as white male pundits made false equivalencies about her and Trump. We listened as we were told she was "untrustworthy" when study after study says people don’t know how to deal with women in leadership roles because we have no models and so we find them untrustworthy. We listened as Trump said Hillary "doesn’t look presidential."

Black women tried to tell us. They voted for Hillary 94 percent. They stood with her as she talked about systemic racism – while Mike Pence said she had to stop saying that because it was divisive.  

Black women were the unassailable heroes of this election. They fought for her nomination and they fought for her election. White women said they were voting for Clinton and then voted for Trump. Most of them GOP, but enough Democrats and Sanders supporters to wreak havoc.

She apologized to her supporters for not winning, but on every conceivable level it was we who failed Hillary Clinton. She was fighting to not just carry on President Obama’s legacy, but to propel us forward into a more equitable nation. Her longtime aide Huma Abedin would have been the first Muslim American in the executive branch. Hillary Clinton had pledged to have her Cabinet look like her staff – 40 percent people of color, 50 percent women.

Just. Like. America.

We lost that. We lost the chance to have the most diverse administration in American history. We lost the chance to have women in the halls of power – not as adjuncts, but as actors.

 

We lost the woman who said, "We have spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone, for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people and for people with disabilities. For everyone. So now, our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek, and I know you will. I am so grateful to stand with all of you."

We lost her.

Misogyny, which drove this election from the day in April 2015 that Hillary announced her candidacy, won.

White supremacy and its many cohorts, like anti-Semitism won.

We spent two years normalizing a monster and then we made him president.

Sort of.

Clinton won the popular vote. More of us voted for her than for him. And in every single swing state she lost, the difference in votes for third party candidates–the candidates everyone from President and Michelle Obama to Bernie Sanders warned would take votes away from Clinton in the most pivotal election in our collective lifetimes – the difference in votes was double or triple the number of votes she lost by. In Pennsylvania, for example, she lost by 66,000 votes but 215,000 votes went to third party candidates. In Florida, more than 300,000 votes went to third party candidates and Clinton only lost by 100,000. (That felt like 2000 all over again.)

When so many white voters chose Trump and the overwhelming majority of voters of color chose Clinton, it’s not hard to see a divided nation. In their speeches, both Clinton and President Obama tried to heal that divide.

But this is what we know.

The man who drove birtherism against Obama for five years and who threatened Hillary with assassination three times  in as many months will now assume the power of the presidency.

Trump spent months de-legitimizing Clinton as had Sanders – though Sanders is no monster, just a 75 year old misogynist like most of his generation. Trump pushed lie after lie about Clinton and the mainstream media never fought back, never tried to de-legitimize Trump’s illegitimate candidacy the way they had undermined and undercut Clinton for the entirety of the election cycle.

Trump goes into the Oval Office without the mandate of the popular vote.

But he also knows that he goes into the White House having fooled many of the people most of the time. He goes into the White House knowing he called women ugly pussies, called the most accomplished woman politician in our history a "nasty woman" and "crooked" and pledged to jail her as soon as he became president if his supporters didn’t kill her first.

Trump goes into the White House having called for a ban on Muslims, saying Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers, saying all blacks live in ghettoes killing each other with guns, saying President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim who scammed America, saying Obama and Clinton together founded ISIS and many other things that should have kept him out of the running for president, let alone become the nominee and now, president-elect.

I applaud those demonstrating against Trump, promoting #NotMyPresident. I have no time for people claiming if only a different white guy was the nominee – despite having lost the primary in a landslide of votes from people of color and women – Trump wouldn’t be president now.

I am gutted. I forgot, because Hillary Clinton’s embrace of me and my black neighbors and my diverse family, how much women and people of color are hated in America.

I thought she could heal us. I thought she could help break down the misogyny and racism. I thought she would make America great for those of us who have always been kept on the margins.

I forgot how much we are hated because she loved us all so much and watching her arm in arm with Obama made me feel like anything was possible and hope was palpable.

I forgot how much we are hated.

The next four years under President Trump won’t let me forget that again.

#Stillwithher


Victoria A. Brownworth is an award-winning journalist, editor and writer and the author and editor of nearly 30 books. She has won the NLGJA and the Society of Professional Journalists awards, the Lambda Literary Award and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She won the 2013 SPJ Award for Enterprise Reporting in May 2014. She is a regular contributor to The Advocate and SheWired, a blogger for Huffington Post and A Room of Her Own, senior politics reporter and contributing editor for Curve magazine, contributing editor for Lambda Literary Review and a columnist for San Francisco Bay Area Reporter. Her reporting and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nation, Ms Magazine and Slate. Her book, Coming Out of Cancer: Writings from the Lesbian Cancer Epidemic won the Lambda Literary Award, From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth won the 2012 Moonbeam Award for cultural & historical fiction. Her new novel, Ordinary Mayhem, won the IPPY Award for fiction on May 1, 2015. Her book Erasure: Silencing Lesbians and her next novel, Sleep So Deep, will both be published in 2016. @VABVOX

Edit ModuleEdit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Curve Personals: Your One-Stop Dating Shop

With a guaranteed shared love of Curve, you'll never be short a conversation

Being Bi On The Asexual Spectrum

… In a world that still thinks bi women will sleep with anyone. Sigh.

Babies R Us Launches Lesbian Moms Holiday Ad

And these festive mommas have been featured with a seriously relatable tagline

17 Ways To Give Back/Do Good This Holiday Season

You might not change the world, but you can make life a little brighter for someone.

Add your comment: