Sen. Bernie Sanders likes to say Hillary Clinton represents the establishment — a criticism we have heard in debates and on the campaign trail.
“Honestly, Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment,” Clinton retorted. “It’s really quite amusing to me.”
Clinton has actively fought that establishment label, using language designed to appeal to feminists. But it hasn’t worked, at least not with younger women. As Evan Halper reported, Clinton is losing the female millennial vote to Sanders. The most recent example came from the Iowa caucuses, as women ages 18 to 29 preferred Sanders.
Halper’s piece generated considerable response on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. Opinions varied on Clinton’s progressivism, but a common thread emerged: Feminism is not a battle between the genders. It’s about ideologies that support equality and womanhood. Several commenters said feminism does not require a woman in office at all.
Here’s a sampling of what we heard:
- “It is extremely patronizing to women to assume and frankly expect their vote simply because of gender. It should be based on the issues, including who will be a better advocate for women,” Sarah Michael wrote on Facebook.
- “Feminists choosing her just because she is a woman, is the opposite of what feminism means. A ‘person’ should be elected by their records, not their gender,” Melissa Pugh wrote.
- “How do you figure millennial women are all feminists? Having taught high school to these young women, I would say very few of them are feminists. But people are right, and women having a choice to vote for the candidate who speaks for them best is feminism,” Kandi Kipp said on Facebook.
- “It really has nothing to do with the virtues of feminism today,” “affableman” wrote in the comments.
- “She’s a fine ‘feminist’ candidate, but most rational people care about a whole lot more than just a pro-woman agenda,” Nani Nicole Lawrence said on Facebook.
- “As an educated feminist, I am voting for Hillary but not because she’s a woman. I’m voting for her because she’s the best candidate,” Aimee Green wrote.
- “Voting a woman into office is not a feminist act per se. Being a woman and being a feminist are not mutually exclusive,” Angela Blackschleger said on Facebook.
- “ ‘Vote for me because I’m a woman’ is cheap and condescending. Proud of these young ladies for voting on issues that matter,” “attorw1" wrote in the comments.
For many, when it comes down to it, the vote for or against Clinton has nothing to do with feminism.
What do you think? Tell us in the comments.