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Presidential race could be a satire of a woman’s run for highest political office in the world (Hill Times)

Oct 24, 2016

 

This article was originally published in the Hill Times. It was written by Nancy Peckford and Grace Lore on October 24, 2016.

"Presidential race could be a satire of a woman’s run for highest political office in the world

 

To ponder it fully, is crazy-making. The first woman running to be U.S. president is up against a man who has used his wealth and power to systematically degrade, debase and, more likely than not, assault a number of women.

 
 

By NANCY PECKFORD, GRACE LORE

PUBLISHED : Monday, Oct. 24, 2016 12:00 AM

OTTAWA—In just over three weeks, our neighbours south of the boarder will elect their 45th president. For many, the campaign can’t end soon enough. Count us among them.

 

Most races are competitive and contain their fair share of mudslinging; some get downright nasty. But this one is different. For the first time, a woman is running at the top of the ticket for one of the major parties and the polls suggest Hillary Clinton will indeed become president of the United State. As the days go on, however, the campaign is becoming a caricature of the issues facing women in politics. Clinton has broken through the glass ceiling, but American politics is plummeting to rock bottom.

 

The latest scandal includes a recording of Donald Trump bragging about groping and kissing non-consenting women and then trivializing the statements as just “locker room banter.”

 

Since the tape has been released, several women have come forward to say that he allegedly assaulted them. In turn, Trump has opted to call them “horrible liars” for reporting that, yes, it appears that he did exactly what he was caught on tape saying he does.

 

Trump has implied that one woman’s story couldn’t be true because she was too ugly—“just look at her,” he said.

 

Oh, and Bill Clinton, he has done and said much worse, Trump and many of his supporters have claimed.

 

Tragically, as we have gotten to know Donald Trump the political actor, while these recent developments are outrageous, Trump’s response feels entirely predictable.

 

But, to ponder it fully is crazy-making. The first woman running to be president is up against a man who has used his wealth and power to systematically degrade, debase and, more likely than not, assault a number of women.

 

In the words of Michelle Obama—“This is not something that we can ignore. It’s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season.”

 

In this way, this presidential race could be a satire of a woman’s run for the highest political office in the world.

 

A focus on women’s looks, voice, and wardrobe instead of their capacity? Check. Trump’s latest attack ad shows Clinton coughing and tripping; he’s said she doesn’t have the ‘strength’ or ‘stamina’ for the job. Others have said she ‘nags’ and ‘shrieks.’ Trump has attacked a former Miss Universe for her weight, regularly ranks women based on their looks, and described other women as ‘slobs,’ ‘pigs,’ and a ‘disgusting animal.’

 

Swift dismissal of women’s capabilities for the job? Check. While Clinton is blamed for her husband’s bad behaviour, it is he, rather than she, who get’s the credit for her success. In a recent opinion piece for the National Post, Canada’s own Rex Murphy argued that, far from shattering glass ceilings, Hillary Clinton had “Bill’s key to the penthouse.” Murphy claimed her historic run will only send the message to young girls that “if they marry well enough, they can become president.”

 

Systematic name calling? Yup. Trump has said Clinton is a crook, unfit, lacks intelligence, and most recently, he blurted out during last week’s debate that she was a “nasty woman”—which, as many of us nasty women know, is really masculine code for smarter (and being bold enough to show how really smart you are).

 

Men talking over women, while simultaneously complaining that they are taking up too much time and space? Check. In the most recent debate, Trump interrupted Clinton four times as often as she interrupted him. In the second debate, Trump accused the moderators of siding with Clinton and giving her more speaking time. In the end, he spoke 41 minutes to her 39.

 

The absurdity of this campaign is hard to overstate—during the Republican race for the nomination, Trump and his competitors actually, not metaphorically, discussed the size of their, well, let’s just say, it wasn’t their political support they were comparing.

 

Yet, while more than 90 per cent of Americans say they are ready for a woman president, it’s not clear that they really are. The latest poll report from FiveThirtyEight show that if only women voted, Clinton would win by a landslide. But if only men had a say? Trump would take the presidency.

 

It’s not that Clinton is the perfect candidate, she isn’t. But she is, without a doubt, the better candidate. In the words of President Obama—“there has never been a man or woman … more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States.”

 

And we’re with her.


Nancy Peckford is executive director of Equal Voice. Grace Lore is an Equal Voice researcher.

The Hill Times 

 
 

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Thanks also to the Government of Canada (Status of Women & Canadian Heritage) for their financial support.