Being Critical of Hillary Doesn’t Make Me a Misogynist

I’m an Independent and New York State resident who voted for Bernie in the primary (after changing my party affiliation to Democrat temporarily) and then Hillary in the general election.

I voted for Bernie for two wholly-rational reasons based on indisputable facts:

1) His plans for America, assuming they passed through Congress, would have improved the lives of the middle class in specific and quantifiable ways:  College students would have carried less debt, the minimum wage would have been raised, unions would have been strengthened, all Americans would have been guaranteed affordable health care, and creditors would have been penalized for predatory lending.

2) His campaign wasn’t tainted by money from special interests.

This is not to say I thought Hillary was unqualified for the job, or any less qualified than any other moderate Dem.  In fact, I’ve never criticized her for anything except being status quo:  an establishment Dem entrenched in special interests with nothing much to bring to the table that Obama hadn’t brought already (aside from breadth of political experience and the fact that she’s a woman).

And then when Bernie lost the primary, I voted for Hillary in the general election because, like everyone else who bothered to pay attention during campaign season, I knew that a Trump presidency would be disastrous for America.

Yet no matter how many times I’ve explained my wholly-rational position to Hillary fans, I’ve been insulted over and over again and called a “Bernie Bro,” a “socialist,” and a “misogynist.”

I expect these kinds of stereotypical snap judgments from lots of conservatives, but not from people who are supposed to be open to new ideas — who brag about being able to understand politics, use logic and reason, and detect fake news better than the people they call “Deplorables.”

The thing is, I’ve been teaching and writing for half my life, and a big part of my work has involved highlighting women’s struggles: I write about women’s issues for feminist journals, specialized in women’s history for one of my degrees, and devoted years to researching nineteenth-century immigrant women’s labor.

More importantly, I’ve made it my mission to help my writing students, the majority of whom are women, find their voices. So many of them have written brutally-honest pieces for my classes that describe crisis moments in their lives (including rape and abuse) that they’ve never told another living person about.

I value that trust immensely. It is, as anyone in my profession will attest to, one of the greatest honors of being a teacher.

So, I’m sure you can see why it might make me angry to be called a “woman hater” by people who don’t understand a damn thing about me or what I do.

Sorry, Hillary fans: You don’t get to control my narrative. I can criticize Hillary, promote Bernie’s platform, and still not be a misogynist. And as unfortunate as it is that Hillary’s chance at the presidency was sabotaged by Russia, gerrymandering, and any number of other factors, I don’t have to support her, or Kamala Harris, or any other woman in politics simply because I’m a woman too. And I refuse to be shamed for my choices.

I mean, doesn’t it seem hypocritical for liberals to berate other liberals for expressing their carefully-reasoned, evidence-based convictions?

You’d think so, but here’s what typically happens when I get into discussions with Hillary supporters, especially women, on social media:

Inevitably, they’ll ask me, “So if you wouldn’t vote for Hillary or Kamala Harris in 2020, who would you vote for?”

Of course, they’re hoping I’m going to answer “Bernie,” so everyone commenting on the post can jump on the “Bernie’s-a-rich-white-guy-socialist-with-a-lake-house-who-colluded-with-Russia-doesn’t-care-about-anyone-but-himself-hates-women-and-minorities-sabotaged-Hillary’s-presidency-wants-to-hand-out-free-stuff” train.

Think I’m exaggerating?  Take a look at this Tweet from Politico and the comments that follow:

Seriously, some of the nonsense liberals are spouting about Bernie is so far-fetched that it could have come right out of Breitbart.

In the end, all I usually say is, “I’d vote for the most qualified candidate, with the most progressive ideas, who campaigns without taking contributions from special interests.”

Funny how this is always where the Progressive-bashing train comes to a screeching halt. If I press them on the issue, saying, “Why can’t the DNC insist on a candidate like that?” the train jolts back to life, lurching onto a different track altogether – speeding away from the undeniable truth that Democrats, like Republicans, are eminently corruptible.

I’m still waiting for a reasonable answer to that question.

Dems, do you have any idea how stupid you look when you waste your time insulting my intelligence and experience by accusing me of wanting to deny women the same opportunities as men? It makes you look like ignorant Deplorables. Of course I want women to run for office.  But I’m not going to base my assessment of whether someone should be president primarily on which bathroom he/she uses, or because it’s their “turn.”

That’s pure liberal hypocrisy.

In essence, the same Dems who rail against Republican “values voters” refuse to acknowledge that their own values (propping up a candidate entrenched in politics-as-usual) might be holding the country back.

Ultimately, every voter is a “values voter.” But Progressive values address the needs of the 99% — you know, the way Democratic Party used to.

And let’s face it: The DNC has done a spectacular job of ignoring where the country is headed.  Hell, they’re not even doing a whole lot for state-level organizations, while playing defense in safe districts.

The reality is, Millennials will replace Boomers as the biggest population of actual voters by 2024. And millions of them have been awakened to the idea, mainly by Bernie Sanders (still the most popular politician in America) and Our Revolution, that they should hold out for nothing less than universal health care, free college tuition, and massive campaign reform (a mainstream Dem’s worst nightmare).

They will not accept political corruption as business-as-usual, and you better believe they’re watching to see who signs on to Sanders’ single-payer bill because it will show them which establishment Dems need to be voted out.

Millennials have also come of age in a world in which it’s become more common to see women in positions of power – you know, like Angela Merkel, leader of the free world.  This is not to say we don’t have more work to do to ensure equal treatment of and opportunities for women, but it might indicate that millennials will be less likely to vote for a woman “just because.”

No, they’ll vote for candidates who speak to their own values (which have been shaped by different forces than the generations that came before them), women or not. What will matter is whether candidates run corruption-free campaigns, and whether their platforms address climate change, political reform, and tangible improvements to the lives of middle-class citizens.

For what it’s worth, then, here’s my advice to Dems: Start courting Millennials now. The DNC should swallow its pride and get Hillary and Bernie to hold a press conference in which they shake hands, hug it out, or do whatever it takes to unite the party.

I wonder which of them would be the bigger man and woman up? Or the bigger woman and man up?

Well, one of them has been working tirelessly for all Americans since the 2016 election, visiting states Trump won by a slim margin; and the other is out there promoting a book that blames Progressives for losing the election.

But what do I know? I’m just a misogynist.

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