President Obama hit the campaign trail on Tuesday to stump for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just one week before Election Day. In urging the crowd in Columbus, Ohio to get out and vote, he trotted out some familiar yet worn-out themes about why he believes the race between Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump is so close:
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that sexism is to blame for the tight race for the White House, telling an Ohio crowd that “Hillary Clinton is consistently treated differently than just about any other candidate I see out there.”
Obama went on: “There’s a reason we haven’t had a woman president.”
The president added that Clinton is “so much better qualified than” Republican Donald Trump. “This notion that it’s somehow hard to choose? it shouldn’t be.”
Got that? There couldn’t possibly be any other reason that guys might not want Hillary Clinton to be president. It just all boils down to sexism, according to a president who, as a candidate, was once accused of being sexist towards his female opponent in the 2008 primaries: Hillary Clinton.
The former Secretary of State confirmed in a 2014 interview that she addressed it directly with him after she ended her campaign.
There are a myriad of reasons why men and women alike may not support Hillary Clinton, reasons that have nothing to do with the fact that she’s a woman: her various email scandals, her trustworthiness (or lack thereof), the Benghazi murders, the way she treats other women, or her questionable tenure as Secretary of State. The list goes on and on.
This isn’t to say that sexism doesn’t exist. Surely there are people who wouldn’t vote for Clinton just because she’s a woman just as there were people who wouldn’t vote for Obama based on the color of his skin. But how much does that factor in to why Mrs. Clinton hasn’t firmly pulled away from Mr. Trump in national polling in the final week?
My belief is that it doesn’t factor in much at all, especially when you consider how the polls tend to yo-yo back and forth depending on what’s being reported by the national media.
Neither Clinton nor Trump is an attractive candidate for various reasons, and I firmly believe this will truly be one of those elections where the saying, “I’m voting for the lesser two evils” will never be more true.
As to Clinton being treated differently because she’s a woman, the president is right – but not in the way he intended. The people who most often treat her differently are other Democrats – especially female Democrats who believe she should be given special treatment and not judged as male candidates are because she’s female.
They are like the self-proclaimed “feminists” who think it’s sexist to express concern over a presidential candidate who collapsed on a New York City street and had to be dragged into a van. Or those who believe the outrage over her massive email scandal is an attack on women.
Hillary Clinton’s troubles this election cycle have little to do with sexism and much more to do with the important issues people care about – something President Obama would understand if he wasn’t so concerned with preserving his own legacy.
Here’s some advice: maybe the president should stop using every opportunity to question the motives of conflicted voters and start looking at those of his own and of his party. He might not like what he finds.
(I wrote this piece, which was originally published at IJR in November 2016)