Women for Hillary Clinton: We get the job done

It's no surprise that there are baskets of women in crowds for Hillary Clinton.

It’s no surprise that there are lots of women in crowds for Hillary Clinton.

The headline is appropriating a line from “Hamilton” when Alexander Hamilton and Marquis de Lafayette rap/sing about how they will win the Battle of Yorktown and ultimately the Revolutionary War: “Immigrants: We get the job done.” In this election, it’s going to be all about women power.

This goes beyond stating the obvious. It’s not just that many women want to see the first woman elected president when Hillary Clinton takes office. It’s not just that Republican nominee Donald Trump has alienated women voters, with 70 percent having a negative impression of him. And this doesn’t aim to negate the support men are giving and the work men are doing to elect Clinton.

Individual polling varies, but every poll shows that Clinton stomps Trump with women voters. A recent ABC poll shows that women support Clinton over Trump by 23 percentage points. Similar margins are seen in other polls taken over the last several months. A USA Today story quoted a June Pew poll showing Clinton up by 24 points with women voters overall, with 90 percent support among African-American women; 71 percent among Latinas; 69 percent among millenial women; and 62 percent among white female college graduates. An NPR story suggested that the gender gap might be the largest in 60 years.

Trump’s words are only making the case for Hillary Clinton stronger. A story in The Atlantic suggests that Trump’s actions might even make some Republican women leave the party permanently.

However Republican women vote in November, Trump could do lasting damage to the party as it attempts to win over women in future elections. “I think the party is losing an entire generation of voters, especially young women,” said Jennifer Pierotti Lim, the founder of an organization called Republican Women for Hillary. If Trump wins, even anti-Trump Republican women who want to remain in the party may find it hard to do so. “If Trump is elected and we become the party of Trump, and our leaders still aren’t able to push against him in terms of policy and rhetoric, then I can’t really see myself being part of a party like that,” Pierotti Lim said. …

The first woman to ever be nominated for the presidency by a major U.S. political party could be swept into the White House with unprecedented support from women voters, including a number of women who have traditionally voted Republican.

What’s taking those Republican women so long?

Let’s not forget about the effort from EMILY’s List, with its Women Can Stop Trump website. “Have friends who supported Bernie, haven’t decided who they’re going to vote for, or are saying they’re going to sit this election year out? Make sure they know what’s at stake.”

There’s also a video offering choice examples of Trump’s words about women:

The Clinton campaign scheduled 150 events in just one week to mobilize women voters, launch phone banks, hold roundtables, and help in the effort to register 3 million new voters. “Women have been a driving force behind this campaign since day one, and we are so grateful for the support and tremendous contributions they have made to this historic campaign,” said Mini Timmaraju, the campaign’s women’s vote director, according to the Washington Post. High-profile female surrogates such as daughter Chelsea Clinton, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, VP candidate spouse Anne Holton, and President Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, were all scheduled to attend various events around the country.

In a blog post on Medium, Timmaraju went further:

I’m proud to report the clear majority of Hillary for America’s donors are women, most of our voters are women, and women of all backgrounds — each with her own story — have driven our volunteer effort from the very beginning.

As someone who has traveled from state to state for Hillary, I can tell you first-hand — beyond just the numbers — that this is a campaign driven by younger women and older women; straight women and gay women; women of every race and immigration status. They’re our staff, they’re our fellows, and they’re our volunteers. They power this campaign. …

Look, I’m not someone who supports candidates just because they are women. But Hillary Clinton won’t just be the first woman president — she will be the first president with a record of fighting for women and girls her entire life. And she’s been dedicated to these causes at every step of her career, from the Children’s Defense Fund to secretary of state.

Okay, so that’s a Clinton staffer talking. And speaking of the Clinton campaign staff: According to an analysis of all the presidential campaign staffs this election season, Clinton’s campaign alone had more women (324) working for it than men (202). The average salaries between women and men were roughly equal. The overall average salary was $45,900, with average men’s salaries ($46,800) a bit higher than women’s salaries ($45,100). That’s likely because of the top 10 employees making the highest salaries, four were women and six were men.

Much has been written about Clinton’s uphill climb with millennial voters, but older women Democratic voters are strongly in her corner, especially African-American women. That same Pew poll from June showed that, overall, women over age 50 favored Clinton by 18 points. More recent polls show tighter spreads.

A few months ago, Melissa McEwan of Blue Nation Review wrote about what made Hillary Clinton appeal to older women, even as there’s no specific age range for that term:

Witnessing Hillary, an older woman, fight her way to get into the most exclusive boys’ club on the planet, and seeing her succeed, inching ever closer, is exciting. And more than that: It’s validating. …

And by simply refusing to go away, no matter how many times she’s been defeated or faced setbacks, Hillary stands to win the presidency as an older woman. She stands to be one of the most important people on the planet at an age when most women are struggling to be heard, to be seen. …

It’s the pleasure of an older woman being heard. It’s the heartbreak of knowing how rare it is. It’s the fear that she might not win. It’s the thrill that she could.

Clinton’s candidacy strikes a special chord for older women. This is a post from a favorite blog by two octogenarians, Margaret and Helen (Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting…), back in February, addressing a young female voter:

When my mother was your age, she wasn’t allowed to vote. When I was your age, journalists wouldn’t have even bothered to ask for my opinion. They would have wanted my husband’s instead. … Trust me when I tell you that my mother’s feminism became mine. … Feminism isn’t a vote. It’s a birthright. …

I am still fighting for the right for women to control our own bodies and sadly I have yet to see a woman be elected president. Are you sure you can wait? Forgive me in advance if I am offending you, but I didn’t put on my big girl panties for over 60 years fighting for this day just to have you ignore its importance. You don’t have to vote for Hillary but you have to at least recognize how significant this all is. …

A woman of my age got over having her opinion ignored a long time ago. I hope you never do.

A week ago — a complete generation ago in today’s political media timeline — we all saw Clinton leave a Sept. 11 memorial event and stumble. Later that day, her doctor said she had been diagnosed with pneumonia. A media feeding frenzy ensued, with more health conspiracy theories and more charges of secrecy. The doctor’s follow-up report was that Clinton had “mild, non-contagious bacterial pneumonia,” was recovering, and was headed back to the campaign trail.

Clinton’s excuse for keeping up a full schedule after the pneumonia diagnosis was that she thought she could “just power through it.” It’s a statement that many women can identify with. How many women have put their own health on the back burner while finishing a job? While caring for an aging parent? While cooking, cleaning, and making sure kids still got off to school? How many women have delayed or cancelled doctors’ appointments because they needed to tend to other tasks? We often avoid owning up to a mild illness — even a serious one — because there’s work to be done.

Strong — yet human at the same time. This last excerpt is from one of those Facebook posts that has gone viral for a good reason. It’s written by a Democrat from Brooklyn who admitted he was having trouble getting “revved up” about Clinton — until recently, and specifically because of her experiences as a woman and her illness, and what it demonstrates about connecting to Hillary Clinton. It’s long, but it tells a story that resonates.

I saw Hillary’s post on HONY — Humans of New York, in which she very frankly admits that in her life she hasn’t been able to act on her first impulse (like waving her arms when she’s excited) because when she does, people are intimidated. Women are held to different standards in this country, and as a trailblazing female politician, for decades Hillary’s had to walk a very, very fine line in order to both garner people’s approval and also wield power.

Reading the HONY post I realized that her solution to this balancing act has been to fashion for herself a mask that is as bulletproof as possible against the constant attacks she endures from both the right and the media, many of which are somehow related to the fact that she’s a woman. This mask has served her fairly well up until now, but I fear there’s a chance it could cost her the election. I believe that In order to trust her, in order to connect with her, people need to catch a glimpse the real Hillary. They need to see the real woman who made such a strong mask, rather than the mask itself. …

Then she got sick, collapsed, and had to be hoisted into a car and whisked away. The doctors announced she has pneumonia, and she has presumably been hiding this from the public.

Clinton did not want us to see that moment. She did everything she could to hide it, to appear strong — to keep the mask pulled over her face. But the mask slipped away and clattered on the pavement — if only for a second. And in that second, for the first time I felt as though I’d seen the real woman. She didn’t want me to see her then, but I saw her. And who I saw is a 68-year-old grandmother carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, a brilliant, tireless politician and public servant who is in the fight of her life against a hateful narcissist to become the first female president and the leader of the free world. A woman in a sprint to power where the nuclear codes and the Supreme Court and climate change and basic human decency all hang in the balance — and she did not want me to see her stumble. Why? Because she’s a fighter, a gladiator, and she knows the political cost of weakness.

But Hillary, in that moment when you stumbled, I became one of the Secret Service guys who picked you up. I became that stone pedestal you were leaning on. You don’t have to be perfect to be our president. There are a lot of folks just like me who will pick you up even if you stumble — in part, because you stumble, because you’re human. Let’s start a new world where you can be an imperfect woman in power. Let’s start that world now, together. And maybe when you win and that world gets stronger and stronger, you won’t need to wear that mask as much anymore, and neither will my mom, my sister, my fiancee, my female friends, and every woman who has ever sought to wield power in this country and beyond.

So no, you don’t need to be perfect. In fact, in this particular election, you can be far from it. But you do have to win. And to do that, you’re going to need my help, and a lot of other folks as well — despite your imperfections, and despite our misgivings. So my request for those who have struggled to connect with Hillary: meet her halfway. Understand that she’s a flawed person in a flawed society whose political survival has required her to hide both her weaknesses and her strengths. Has any male politician had to hide his strengths? I can’t think of one. So armed with that understanding, let’s do everything in our power to help her win. Why? Because she’s going to be one heck of a president — and way better than that loser she’s running against.

Yep. “Carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders,” for all the women out there who will be able to do it for themselves in the future.

This is our election to win.

Originally posted on Daily Kos on Sept. 18, 2016.

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