Trump's contempt for women is astonishing. Decades of progress are now at stakeby Diane Roberts / November 11, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
It was supposed to be a historic moment in American politics: the first woman elected to the presidency. Women took their daughters to visit the New York grave of 19th-century suffragist Susan B Anthony in anticipation of Hillary Clinton’s victory, placing their “I Voted” stickers on her headstone. The glass ceiling was surely about to shatter. The United States, a republic founded on slavery, had progressed so far that the people twice put a black man in the White House. Now we would choose a woman, and the long arc of the moral universe would bend still further towards justice.
Of course, it didn’t happen. Clinton lost; Donald Trump won. The pundits will spend months, perhaps years, working out how and why. Was it the relentless misogyny brought out by the long campaign, the absurd accusation that she was weak and lacked stamina? Was it a final rejection of the talented but scandal-prone Clinton family? Was it Hillary’s private email server, Benghazi, FBI Director James Comey’s theatrical proclamations on his stop-go-stop investigation of Clinton’s emails? Was it lower turnout among African-Americans, Latinos, young people and women? Or was it simply that Trump inspired all those angsty white folks who felt that the country was falling into the hands of the undeserving and coastal elites with contempt for “flyover country,” the so-called “American heartland,” where jobs have gotten scarce and God and guns rule.