Here is my response to the Slate article, “So We’re Still Blaming Jill Stein and James Comey, Huh?”
This is a partial list of the things I blame, ranked.
(As always, the opinions on this blog are mine alone and do not reflect my employers.)
This is why they chant “lock her up” and “Trump that bitch,” it’s why people can’t quite put a finger on it, but they just don’t like the cut of her jib. It’s why they see her as shrill and scolding and corrupt; not sufficiently warm, not the kind of person they want to grab a beer with. It’s why, following a tried-and-true pop culture paradigm—from Lady Macbeth to Claire Underwood—they see her as hungry for power and willing to do anything—even murder—to get what she wants. It’s why 2016’s answer to most election-related questions is, “It’s the misogyny, stupid!”
200. BERNIE SANDERS
I know this is going to piss a lot of people off, but so be it. I think Sanders, who fortified the recurring narrative that Hillary was a corrupt neoliberal and part of a rigged system, did more damage than anyone else. He turned millions of young people against Hillary—and countless independents, no doubt, too.
Yes, he ultimately campaigned for Hillary, but did so half-heartedly, through pursed lips and slumped body language, bashing Trump but rarely praising Hillary. One could almost see the thought bubble over his head: “This should’ve been me.”
This, like almost everything on this list, is a subset of the misogyny. But these were among the stories that were circulating on the web—and that people believed—about Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
- She’s got Parkinson’s or MS and is covering it up.
- She has a body double, whom she trots out when she is too ill to appear in public
- She murdered a DNC staffer, among many others
- She exchanged “signals” with Lester Holt from the debate stage.
- She runs a child pedophilia ring out of pizza parlor in D.C. (No, really!)
I could go on…
202. JAMES COMEY
When FBI director James Comey announced that his office would not be filing charges against Hillary Clinton, he did it in the most scolding, damning language possible. His statement, where he called her “extremely careless,” was unprecedented. Nonetheless, the Clinton campaign took this embarrassing public reproach and thanked him, happy the whole thing was behind them. Oh, if only they had been so lucky. Not content to have damaged her reputation with his public statement, Comey waited until 11 days before the election to announce that he was reopening the case, investigating new emails related to Anthony Weiner. (The Weiner bit was a particularly damning touch, reminding people of Bill’s infidelities.) As the Trump campaign celebrated and gloated— and Americans were essentially told: This is who Clinton is, a woman who will be forever dogged by scandal—a hasty release was issued a day before the election, clearing Clinton (again!) of all wrongdoing (the emails on Weiner’s server were duplicates). This was the biggest November Surprise in the history of November Surprises and it never should’ve happened.
I love how we’re all pretending that Russia didn’t have a clear horse in the race—Trump—and didn’t do everything in their power—hacking the DNC, hacking John Podesta, disseminating fake news—to get him elected. While we weren’t looking, Russia just won an information war against us.
204. THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA
Eventually, they got better at calling out Trump for his lies, incompetence, and corruption, but they continued to act as though Hillary’s emails were an equally big deal (they spent three times as much time discussing her emails as they did on all of her policy proposals combined), and continued to let Trump’s surrogates run roughshod over cable news, assassinating Hillary’s character (remember the handcuffs?) and lying about her, smugly, sanctimoniously, and with impunity. Quite simply, the media failed us.
205. JILL STEIN
That light-weight, publicity-seeking bourgeois hippie gave disenchanted Bernie or Busters a place for their protest vote, and continued the absurd narrative that Hillary was just as bad as Trump.
Yes, this matters, despite snide Slate articles suggesting otherwise:
205a. You’re on my list too, Susan Sarandon.
206. THE 96 MILLION WHO DIDN’T VOTE
What the hell is wrong with you people?
207. VOTER SUPPRESSION
Some people who wanted to vote couldn’t. Without the protections of the Voting Rights Act, Republicans were able to suppress the vote in several key states.
208. HILLARY’S MESSAGE
Bernie made promises: Free college! Trump made promises: Build that wall! Save American jobs! But Hillary, a policy wonk who understands the nature of incremental change, could never bring herself to spout slogans. I don’t think she should’ve made false promises, necessarily, but perhaps a few concrete soundbites would’ve gone a long way.
209. HILLARY’S CAMPAIGN
They should’ve had her hold rallies in Wisconsin, ffs. They took their eye off the ball.
210. HILLARY’S SUPPORTERS
We took to the corners of the Internet for a variety of reasons—mostly because of (duh) the misogyny. But we should’ve been louder and prouder and worn our allegiance in public, shutting down the narrative that we were unenthusiastic. I was a pretty public supporter. But that being said, I can’t tell you how many times I expressed my devotion to Hillary—and my anger at the unfair, widespread anti-Hillary tactics—in a locked FB group when I should’ve been screaming it from the rafters.
Things I don’t blame:
1. HILLARY HERSELF.
She won every debate. She came up with well thought out, concrete plans to govern. She carried herself with dignity and grace, despite all the endless, misogynist shit that was hurled at her. She was nothing short of heroic.
2. IDENTITY POLITICS
Because seriously, fuck that.