This election season has revealed a strange reality to me, namely that a large proportion of the American public shares my distrust and dislike of Hillary Clinton. Polls have shown that in almost all age groups except over-sixty five, women prefer Bernie Sanders to her.
I can understand why.
Hillary has an attitude of entitlement that is almost nauseating. Time and again, in her speeches and debates, she makes allusions to her suffering because of Bill Clinton’s dalliances, the most blatant example of which was Monica Lewinsky. “I have worked hard, I have endured, and now I need your support,” is the gist of her argument. It is never about the people, or the country, or the world. It is always just about Hillary and how we owe her something.
As if she is some uneducated, third world dowry bride who would have been stoned to death had she left her husband. As if she had no agency or power or free will whatsoever.
It is this victim attitude of hers that many women including myself find off-putting.
We do not identify with her. How can we? Most of us have been through real struggles, like raising children on our own, making ends meet, fighting patriarchy at home and in public life, striving just to retain a semblance of self-esteem and sanity.
What did Hillary suffer from? Going to Yale law school, finding a gorgeous, smart, and capable man to marry, becoming a Governor’s wife and later moving into the White House? Are these things we need to feel sorry for?
Sure, she suffered the humiliation of the Monica Lewinsky affair, but that was because she chose the Faustian bargain of staying with a man who was publicly unfaithful.
You might say that this was her personal choice, her personal life. If it was, then I don’t want Hillary to remind me of it. I want her to run only on her talents, abilities, and track record.
For all her self-aggrandizement, Hillary can’t seem to inspire or lead. She never talks of her dreams for our glorious country, just analytical details along the lines of how many billions she would need to implement this or that policy. Which is precisely why Bernie Sanders’ stock has risen.
Bill can compensate his flaws with his smarts, charisma, and oratory, but for all her experience in public life, Hillary remains a third rate speaker. Her words do not move. Her delivery is often flat, with emphasis on the wrong words or syllables.
She is just not honest. Take the example of her private email server. At first she claimed that she did not know that it was inappropriate to use it. Really? The head of the State Department didn’t know that her communications were sensitive and needed to be secure?
Then, when the issue wouldn’t go away, she eventually apologized, but long after she should have.
Which brings me to my next point, namely, that she is arrogant. When Anderson Cooper asked her if she needed to be paid $675,000 (for giving three speeches on Wall Street), she replied, “I don’t know. That’s what they offered.”
First of all, knowing that she was running for president, she might have chosen to distance herself from Wall Street. But if she was so greedy, she could at least have been honest about her motivations; she could have come up with a better explanation than “I don’t know.”
Ironically, the Huffington Post has now pointed out that the amount was in fact her regular fee.
Watching her, I sometimes wonder what universe Hillary lives in. She seems to severely underestimate the American public’s intelligence and sensibility.
Several months ago, my twenty-six year old son told me that he was going to vote for Bernie Sanders. Now, I find myself agreeing with him. After all, I had never imagined that an American politician, let alone a presidential candidate, would utter the word “socialism” in a public forum. Bernie might be pie-in-the sky, but a revolution has to begin somewhere, right? If the forces of history are beckoning to us, should we not heed their call?
But then I get cold feet. I worry if Bernie will be able to get the democratic nomination. I wonder if he will ever be able to beat the Republicans in a general election.
And then I think, perhaps Hillary can win. Perhaps she has some secret ability that escapes me.
“Bill and Hillary are seasoned politicians,” a Sierra Club member pointed out to me the other day. “They will be able to fight the Republicans and move their agenda forward.”
Suddenly I saw a ray of hope. I thought that perhaps everything was going to be all right. For, let’s face it, in spite of my reservations about Hillary, I would never vote for a Trump, or a Cruz, or a Rubio, or a Bush.
And therein lies my Hillary dilemma.
Sarita Sarvate (www.saritasarvate.com) has published commentaries for New America Media, KQED FM, San Jose Mercury News, the Oakland Tribune, and many nationwide publications.