Michelle Cottle in The Atlantic warns of what’s to come if Hillary Clinton wins in November. It has nothing to do with economics, foreign policy, or appointments to the Supreme Court.
A Clinton victory also promises to usher in four-to-eight years of the kind of down-and-dirty public misogyny you might expect from a stag party at Roger Ailes’s house.
You know it’s coming. As hyperpartisanship, grievance politics, and garden-variety rage shift from America’s first black commander-in-chief onto its first female one, so too will the focus of political bigotry. Some of it will be driven by genuine gender grievance or discomfort among some at being led by a woman. But in plenty of other cases, slamming Hillary as a bitch, a c**t (Thanks, Scott Baio!), or a menopausal nut-job (an enduringly popular theme on Twitter) will simply be an easy-peasy shortcut for dismissing her and delegitimizing her presidency.
Either way, it’ll be best to brace for some in-your-face sexist drivel in the coming years. Despite progress in the business world, women as top executives still prompt an extra shot of public scrutiny. (Just ask Marissa Mayer or Sheryl Sandberg or Carly Fiorina.) And just as Barack Obama’s election did not herald a shiny, new post-racial America, Clinton’s would not deliver one of gender equality and enlightenment. So goes progress: Two steps forward, one step back(lash). As the culture changes, people resent that change and start freaking out, others look to exploit their fear, and things can turn really, really nasty on their way to getting better.
As the article points out, going after Ms. Clinton based on her gender is the lazy way out of an argument: if you can’t win on substance, you attack on a personal level. It’s juvenile, but as Rush Limbaugh and any number of like-minded bumper stickers can attest, it’s good for a deflection.
The only difference between the treatment Barack Obama got and Hillary Clinton will face is that women make up a majority of Americans, so for every knuckle-dragger who goes down the Bitch Road, there will be a wife, mother, daughter, sister, or co-worker who will remind him that men haven’t done such a bang-up job and to STFU.