–By Tara Cavanaugh
Let me be clear: Hillary does not have a millennial woman problem. Hillary has a millennial problem.
Millennials want change, real change, in a system that’s disenfranchised us. Our whole lives we’ve been told we’re special snowflakes—the Participation Award is the icon of my generation—and that we can be anything we want to be, provided we got a good education. So all the special snowflakes grew up, went to college at a time when it was more expensive than ever, and graduated as the world economy crashed thanks to a bunch of crooked bankers gambling recklessly on bad mortgages. We are saddled with debt, wages are stuck, and a lot of us are still under or unemployed. We don’t trust the system, the system screwed us, and when it comes to having a choice in an elected official, we want someone who’s as outside the system as possible.
Enter: Bernie Sanders.
The “walking Che Guevarra t-shirt” (thank you for that one, Samantha Bee) looks GREAT. Earnest af. The messy hair, the ever-outraged gesticulations, the suit that is always too big on him and makes him look like an emphatic turtle. His record is steadfastly liberal, even when it wasn’t politically convenient for him. He supports free college, free universal healthcare, $15 minimum wage, and legal pot. If you’re a bitter, broke 20- or 30-something, all of this sounds fantastic.
Is he competent? I think so.
Is he admirable? Definitely.
Can he single-handedly change a completely corrupt political system, full of Congress members that are paid for by special interests and Republicans that have become booger-eating schoolyard bullies who are super successful at preventing national needs from being met? …Not sure about that one.
I still have some Barack Obama PTSD, ok? I saw him on Mizzou’s campus in 2008, and he was magic. I voted for him in 2008 and 2012 and I would vote for him again if I could. I like him. I think he’s competent and brilliant and true. But at the moment he’s got a bunch of lawmakers shitting on him and he can’t do a damn thing about it. And that’s been one of the biggest issues of his presidency: he can’t get some things done. He muscled through health care, which was amazing. But he has an incredible amount of stubbornness and inaction against him, and he has neither the connections nor the power nor the respect to make lawmakers simply do their jobs. The most recent example of this is their blatant refusal to hold hearings on his Supreme Court nomination before a nominee has even been announced. This is insanity.
And this is where I think about what I want in the next president: someone who is powerful.
I want someone who commands respect. Who has the connections, the power, who has played the game and who will grab Republicans by the balls and bring them to their knees. And I can think of a total bitch who can do it who happens to be running for president: Hillary Clinton.
Listen. I don’t like her. NO ONE likes her. She is not likable. She is a political machine. She comes off like a robot, shrill, programmable. If Berine is earnest af, Hill is uptight af. It’s all over her face like a big stain. It’s never going away.
It’s probably a result of spending her whole life in politics, muscling through and succeeding in a boy’s club, of being treated like shit because she’s a woman, and her husband’s affair that was a national disgrace. Wouldn’t you be a bitch too?
We have this problem, I think, where we want important people to be likable, approachable. We want our celebrities to be “just like us” and we want to have a beer with the president. Which is ridiculous. We ask—demand, need—that the president be competent and intelligent and powerful enough to lead the free world. That would make someone an extraordinary human being. That person doesn’t have time for a beer, ok? They’re busy keeping us safe and strategizing about the nuclear mess in the Middle East and stopping North Korea from bombing the globe to bits. I can kick back with a beer at the end of a long day; the president can not.
But we want a likable president. Likability is perhaps the American woman’s biggest handicap. And I think it’s Hillary’s handicap in this campaign.
We women all want to be liked. We worry incessantly about being nice. We’re supposed to be unthreatening and accommodating and above all, pretty. The worst thing of all is to be disliked—to be called (gasp) a bitch. And “bitch” is a label that’s dogged Hillary ever since she was First Lady. I’m willing to bet good money that her disastrous run as First Lady, in which she was criticized for being too involved in politics and not ladylike enough, was the impetus for Michelle Obama’s First Lady plans. Michelle is a crazy powerful, competent and commandeering bitch too, and her handlers have done an excellent job of making her look nice, pretty, purely feminine and completely non-threatening in the press.
Hillary is not likable. Hillary is a bitch. And I’m fine with that. Because I think it’s what will make her a great president.
I admit: I am concerned about her email scandal and her speeches to Wall Street. I really am. But I’m going to get a little Machiavellian here and say that even if she is truly corrupt, she’s just as corrupt as any other politician, and she’s going to be the one to actually get things done. And she’s on the side of women, make no mistake. She won’t let things get worse for us. As Republicans across the country are working their hardest to roll back women’s rights, we need a leader who’s always going to be on our side. And she is.
Bernie, even if his schtick is Mr. Earnestly Outraged, won’t be able to fix the deeply indelible, money-driven political system of power that we have. He won’t fix it and I’m very doubtful of his ability to get anything done within it. No matter all our adoration of outsiders and underdogs, we need someone who can work the system, who intimately knows the system and can calibrate it and tweak it and change it from the inside.
This is why I’m Team Hill. Now if she could just get an endorsement from Beyonce, she’d have this election in the bag.