Serious question: what's the ultimate political purpose of pointing out Clinton won the popular vote?
— Kai Ryssdal (@kairyssdal) November 12, 2016
Well Kai I'd say it points out that more people said they wanted her to be president than the other guy https://t.co/VSnf1nCcZO
— Jonathan M. Katz (@KatzOnEarth) November 13, 2016
By how many million votes does Clinton have to be ahead before press stops acting like Trump's win represents the will of the people?
— Schooley (@Rschooley) November 13, 2016
Rebecca Traister, for NYMag:
On the Sunday morning before Election Day, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first woman ever to be nominated by a major party for the American presidency, gave a sermon at the Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia. Her voice hoarse after days of multistate campaigning, Clinton sounded exhausted but happy to be there. Even at the bitter end of a nearly two-year marathon campaign, she could still get energized by speaking at a black church on a Sunday.
There was a feeling of confidence among many in Clinton’s campaign that weekend. They were spending a lot of time in Philadelphia, where the streets were overrun by canvassers who’d poured into the city to get out the vote. Polls had begun to show Clinton recovering from the dip she’d taken after FBI director James Comey’s letter re-embroiled her in the email morass. It looked at that moment, in and out of the campaign, like she was going to be the first female president of the United States.
Clinton preached to the congregation about the Founding Fathers — but not in the way that most politicians, in this era of right-wing deification of the country’s forebears, would invoke them two days before a presidential election. “Our Founders said all men are created equal,” Clinton said. “[But] they left out African-Americans. They left out women. They left out a lot of us.”…
The next night, Clinton stood alongside Barack and Michelle Obama before a crowd of 33,000 people outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the spot where the architects of the nation had endowed its citizens with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — as they built their new country on the backs of enslaved African-Americans and subsidiary women. Clinton and the Obamas were taking an audacious risk in presenting themselves as united in a mission to broaden America’s notions of what leadership could look like, of what the power of expanded enfranchisement could mean for the kinds of people from whom it was withheld for so long.
But little more than 24 hours after these three historic figures made their case for doing more work to perfect our imperfect union, it was clear that half of the country would prefer to return to the Founders’ original vision, with people of color and women on the margins and white men restored to their place at the center. The enormity of the upset came at the end of what had already been a traumatic election for the women and immigrants and people of color to whom Clinton was trying to appeal, and who had spent months being derided, threatened, groped, caricatured, insulted, and humiliated by Donald Trump and his supporters.
It wasn’t simply that the imagined coalition did not, in the end, cohere — though it did not. It was also that the very specter of it, the threat that power could be wrested from those Americans who have traditionally enjoyed more than their share, had created a spasm of resentment and revulsion that no pollster had really been able to track. It wasn’t just that white Americans voted Republican, which they usually do. It’s that they chose a uniquely unqualified candidate who openly sold himself on promises of resistance to and revenge on the women and people of color who were poised to exert a historic degree of power…
It’s worth noting that more than 200 women have tried, mostly in vain, to make chinks in this hardest of glass ceilings, starting with Victoria Woodhull, a stockbroker and occultist who ran for president in 1872, nearly half a century before the passage of the 19th Amendment. A hundred years later, Shirley Chisholm made her historic run, which ended with negotiations over her earned delegates and a speech at the 1972 Democratic convention in Miami. Chisholm compared her campaign to Catholic Al Smith’s nomination in 1928, which she said paved the way for John F. Kennedy’s successful run in 1960. “What I hope most is that now there will be others who will feel themselves as capable of running for high political office as any wealthy, good-looking white male,” she said…
There’s a rich history of women crying about politics. Unbought and Unbossed, a documentary about Chisholm’s 1972 run, ends with Chisholm saying through tears, “The only thing I continue to regret of course is that we didn’t have the moolah.” At that same convention, Nora Ephron famously reported on Gloria Steinem, weeping on a Miami street about how George McGovern had betrayed the women’s caucus. “I’m just tired of being screwed, and being screwed by my friends,” Steinem bites out. In 1988, Colorado representative Patricia Schroeder tried to mount a presidential campaign but, like Chisholm before her, was unable to raise the money. During her speech, announcing that she would not be running, she cried, and the taunting and jeering she faced as a result of having broken down were ironed onto my 12-year-old brain. In 2008, Hillary Clinton famously got choked up the day before the New Hampshire primary, a race she was predicted to lose to Barack Obama by ten points. In one of that election’s great upsets, women came out to vote for her in droves, putting her back in contention and setting up what would become her epic primary battle against Obama. Many in the media argued that women were responding to her vulnerability, her show of weakness and emotion, to some sort of Bat signal of soggy sisterhood. I thought at the time that what they were responding to was something else. Clinton’s show of emotion came during a week in which the media had dug her a premature grave, in which men had held up an IRON MY SHIRT sign at a rally, in which Chris Matthews had actually pinched her cheek. Tears, for women, only sometimes express sadness and vulnerability. Just as often, they signal rage.
In a way, anger is what got us even this far. Perhaps the most crucial turning point for women in politics came in 1991, when Anita Hill testified in front of an all-white, all-male Senate judiciary panel about her sexual harassment at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas (who would go on to gut the Voting Rights Act, enabling the disenfranchisement of so many voters in North Carolina last week). Watching a black woman being interrogated on national television by a group of exclusively white men suddenly made America’s representational inequities glaringly obvious. “Women were furious,” Pat Schroeder has recalled…
But as we look forward, we must note that more than half of voters did look toward another America, a future in which participation is diverse and needs are interconnected. Hillary Clinton, the first major-party woman candidate for president of the United States, won more votes than her opponent, the man who will become only the fourth president in history to take office after winning the Electoral College and losing the popular vote. Had this happened in reverse, of course, it would be bedlam, because the will of American whiteness would have been superseded by the (rigged) system of Electoral College voting that afforded non-whites a threatening degree of power. But because this result is an affirmation of whiteness and of maleness, both in terms of the electorate and the candidate who won — there is no threat of incivility. Hillary Clinton conceded early Wednesday morning. Barack Obama welcomed Donald Trump to the White House on Thursday. Michelle showed Melania around…
I was a high-school radical feminist during the 1972 election, fervently cheering on Shirley Chisholm even though it was clear her campaign was more about blazing a trail for future women candidates than about achieving the nomination (much less the Presidency). One reason this week didn’t totally shatter me is that I have a bone-deep memory of that year’s dreadful DNC convention — the tragic certainty that our lip-service “allies” (mostly but not exclusively white men) would be swift to shiv us at the last moment, with a tear in their eyes and a mouthful of pieties for the cameras. Shirley Chisholm, Goddess protect her memory, would probably take comfort that at least this time her successor got far enough to win the popular vote… for all the good it did her, in the end.