If you are one of the women bitter about Barack Obama being the next President of the USA, then here is some comforting news for you. Hillary may be President in eight years.
If America can elect Barack Obama to be the President, then it certainly can elect a woman to be one too. Discrimination against women in American society is not more severe than it is against African Americans. Women are the majority of the electorate. Male African Americans don’t have that advantage. But an African American male has competed directly with a white female and has won the race for President. Discrimination against women cannot be why that happened.
But American culture can be blamed for having an important role in Hillary Clinton’s defeat this year. Traditionally in America women have enjoyed being considered the kinder gender. Even today women are expected to be more kind and nurturing than men. But it is difficult to imagine nice people surviving in the mean and dirty world of traditional American politics. Voters have been skeptical of candidates that may not be mean enough.
There are at least two ways to help women and nice people in general overcome the electorate’s doubts about kind people being effective in politics. Either kind people must give up being nice and become as mean and dirty as the men who have traditionally been political leaders in America. Or people’s perception of American politics as a domain only for the mean must change.
Americans seem to be losing their tolerance for mean politicians. That is why Barack Obama’s campaign theme about ‘Change’ and ‘Hope’ has been so important for his victory and Hillary Clinton’s defeat. He concentrated on giving voters the impression that he is a peaceful, clever, and thoughtful candidate. That is a stark contrast with the macho rhetoric of Republicans. Barack Obama portrays himself as a ‘nice’ guy who is capable of making government nice too.
Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign has concentrated on proving to voters that she can be brutal enough to fight fire with fire. She portrays herself as ‘experienced’ with politics as usual. She would have given the Republicans a strong dose of their own medicine. Americans are not hoping for that.
Fortunately for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama has offered her an opportunity to redeem herself by becoming Secretary of State. She can remain in the national spotlight while her persona is transformed for the better. Rather than merely being just another ambitious mean person, Hillary Clinton can show that she is someone who can really help make the world a better place for Americans.
Barack Obama has given many people the hope that he can transform American politics from being a mean process into one that welcomes kind people. If that happens, then women and other people associated with kindness may have a better opportunity to succeed in politics than they could have hoped for otherwise. And Barack Obama may helped Hillary Clinton become a better champion.