Hillary Clinton couldn’t resist referring again to her historic defeat while addressing the graduates at Yale last week. This brought to mind her remarks at a speaking event in India in March, which can still rankle.
At that time, she declaimed that Trump’s “whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards,” and added for clarification: “You know, you didn’t like black people getting rights; you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs; you don’t want to, you know, see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are—you know, whatever your problem is, I’m gonna solve it.”
In this assignation of bigotry to, you know, the white working-class Americans who voted Trump, she makes clear that she just doesn’t listen, and didn’t get the message these voters were sending to the Democratic Party.
This is the party that was supposed to be looking out for them, that always boasted it stood for the “little guy,” for the good jobs, fair wages, and tight labor market favorable to working families. Clinton is also giving these voters additional reasons to steer away from that party in the future. You can’t trust the Democrats who pretended to be horrified by her words. Her view is theirs, too. They are panting for the demographic shift they believe will give them the permanent majority. After all, Hillary also claimed she regretted her “deplorable” remarks, (or was that only because they helped cost her the election?), but here she was, repeating them again.
An Opinion-Sharing Global Elite
Her remarks echoed those of snotty British writer Martin Amis, who pronounced on Trump supporters in a discussion with Ann Coulter as the 2016 returns were coming in on election night. Like Hillary, Amis spoke with sneering condescension. “The fallback position of every white man [in America] is,” he asserted, “I may not be much, but I’m better than any black man in this country, and they look at Obama and they suddenly realize that they’re not anymore. And the whole prestige of being white, working class, heterosexual has melted away from them. They’re called the left behind.”
The discussion moderator naïvely wondered if Amis might be speaking sympathetically of such people, and their feeling of being left behind, but the author in effect denied that idea when he approvingly cited none other than Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” to support his position. Unfortunately, the stereotype of the snobby Brit still rings true today, as it did in the past, when the young George Washington encountered it in the colonial militia—part of the reason we’re an independent country now. But in this context, the echo of Hillary in Amis’s remarks made you think of the two of them less as citizens of two separate countries than as members of an opinion-sharing global elite.
Recovering from her loss has been hard for Hillary, who was used to decisive electoral victories, both for her husband and for herself. But an interesting aspect of her Senate victories emerges when we look at the electoral maps of those races, readily available on the Internet. Of course, she did win the New York seat in 2000, and by a more than comfortable 55 percent (following a campaign “listening tour,” in which she, well, listened for a change, instead of voicing condescending opinions). But the voting map of that race surprisingly shows most of the state as red save for the pockets of urban and university-area concentration, and even some of those areas are only light blue. Given pretty reliable minority support for Democrats, do those red areas represent non-college white voters, the same group that may have cost her the election years later, in 2016, when they turned long-time blue states red?
But then by 2006, Hillary had turned most of the state deep blue, and won by an even larger margin, 67 percent. No doubt at that point she was able to benefit from the advantages of incumbency, the sense that she was doing well enough as a senator, and the relatively weak, unknown candidate who opposed her. And evidently, the deplorables had no trouble voting for her when they thought she was the best candidate available.
Clinton’s Never-Ending Blame Game
Thinking of her Senate victories, Hillary has remarked that she might have done better seeking national office in a parliamentary system in which a politician is elected by a local constituency and can still gain the top job. She may have a point. Come to think of it, the outstanding women heads of state in the 20th century who spring directly to mind, such as Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, and Margaret Thatcher, all arose in parliamentary systems.
Another reason for Hillary’s defeat: The Founders didn’t create a parliamentary system.
But Hillary was not done finding things to blame. More condescension emerged in her remarks in India, when she attributed the white married women’s vote to their acceding to the interests of their husbands and sons. Single women voted for Hillary 62 percent to 33 percent, (interestingly, single men were more divided, although the advantage went to Hillary, 46-45.), and minority women went big for her, too.
“White married women” wasn’t a specific category in the exit polls, but, based on results in other categories, Hillary is no doubt right about losing that constituency, and her analysis is typical of how feminism denies women the integrity of their own lives. In the atomized society modern liberalism wishes to create, everything is politicized, and nowadays politicized according to group identity. But marriage and family are pre-political, and marriage is bigger than the two individuals involved in it, and more important than whatever current politicized classifications can be ascribed to each of them.
So, when the Guardian reports that Oregon State professor Kelsey Kretschmer’s research into women’s voting patterns finds that while “single women tend to cast votes with the fate of all women in mind,” married women “vote on behalf of their husbands and families,” we can only respond, well, of course married women vote with their families in mind! That’s what they are supposed to do!
Naturally, the researchers have to give a reductively economic and victimological explanation to their findings: “Women consistently earn less money and hold less power, which fosters women’s economic dependency on men,” Kretschmer and her co-authors write in their study, sounding a little like Marx and Engels. “Thus, it is within married women’s interests to support policies and politicians who protect their husbands and improve their status.” To put it another, less insulting way, however, it is in the interest of these women to support policies that are favorable to the flourishing of two-parent families, like the one of which they are a part.
Maybe some women are wondering if feminism is really to their benefit if it isn’t to the benefit of such families. For example, a system of preferences for women for slots and scholarships in engineering schools might actually be depriving better-qualified men, who in turn might one day make satisfactory husbands and fathers and even, dare we say it, good providers.
And are we so sure “that single women tend to cast votes with the fate of all women in mind”? How noble! Are they really thinking of the abstractions of sisterhood solidarity when they vote Democrat, or are they thinking of needing government for their advancement and support, whether through preferential treatment or welfare?
Overall, men went for Trump 52-41, and women for Hillary 54-41. But within each group—white, black, and Latino—men and women voted alike in 2016, if not in identical percentages. Maybe God’s plan for men and women to be complementary (male and female created he them, etc.) is still operative, confounding the feminist design to put them at variance.
Photo credit: Laura Buckman/AFP/Getty Images