Hillary just became the first woman in history to win the Iowa caucus. No matter how narrow a win, for Hillary Clinton to have even a fractional point advantage over Bernie Sanders in a state that is 91% white, where 43% of caucus goers self-identify as Socialist is, ahem, YUUUUUUGE. However a corporate media wants to spin this, Iowa is a state tailor made for Senator Sanders. That he did not win big here must be of concern to his campaign. Also noteworthy, Iowa has never elected a woman to any higher office until Joni Ernst, a fierce Conservative, won a Senate seat in 2014.
Last night, Hillary Clinton did what no woman had ever done. As Esquire’s Tom Junod noted, people forget what a trailblazer Hillary Clinton was and is. The first First Lady to become a US Senator and then win re-election. New York’s first female senator. The first woman to ever win a binding primary (in New Hampshire). She went on to win 22 of them in 2008. She also won 18,000,000 votes, more than any candidate in primary history. A successful Secretary of State, and now, the first woman to win the Iowa caucus. This cannot be repeated enough. Yet, as the Meryl Streep of politics, Hillary Clinton’s many achievements and long tenure in the public eye work against her, making some treat her successes as failure if she doesn’t present a perfect score.
That the media seems allergic to acknowledging Hillary’s accomplishments goes beyond bias. It is disparaging and deleterious to all women and girls. By watching the mainstream media and elite talking heads fail to credit Hillary’s accomplishments, it teaches women and girls that nothing they do will ever be good enough, nor will it ever have the same weight as the accomplishments of a man. If “Bernie” had won by .4 of a point (49.9% to 49.5%) in a state predisposed to his opponent, you bet they’d be crowing about it his “win,” not calling it a “virtual tie.”
Kudos to Ms. Joy Ann Reid, MSNBC correspondent, who showed herself an exception to the pundit pile-on when she tweeted…
And Hillary Clinton is neither a caucus thief nor an accidental victor. Winning Iowa, even narrowly, was a legit boost to her campaign.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 2, 2016
Had Sanders won by .4 or .1 his followers would have declared the revolution was on and being televised. Clinton won this round. On to NH.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 2, 2016
In the corporate media’s hunger to create a horse race to stoke click-bait, or in their pathological need to, at last, have Hillary’s head on a pike, they do damage to their own daughters. It has been proven that when women have role models in front of them, they speak with more authority and excel. Does the media elite really have the right to disrespect 51% of the population in this country to satisfy personal bias or corporate controlled narrative?
How will we teach that women are winning on their merit? This was no different in the 2012 Olympics where female athletes brought home more gold than men, but were touted for their “luck” as opposed to male athletes’ “abilities” being trumpeted by predominantly male commentators.
Since pundits have been setting Hillary up for failure for years by drowning us with stories on her, bashing her with innuendo, repeating Republican talking points prior to vetting them, not vetting her opponent even though his promises are fanciful, how can we expect better going forward?
Further, Hillary or any woman reaching as high as she is, still has to combat society’s double standards. In her new article, What Hillary Learned About Running While Female, Rebecca Traister states:
“Here is a truth about America: No one likes a woman who yells loudly about revolution. And no, it’s not just this woman. This is a paradigm; it’s why Mom is the disciplinarian and Dad is the fun guy, why women remain the brains and organizational workhorses behind social movements while men get to be the gut-ripping orators, why so many women still manage campaigns and so many men are still candidates.”
I encourage you to read her article in its entirety, but for now, here my version: Hillary’s fact-based campaign promises don’t hold a candle to a scruffy old man who barks a bunch of idealized fiction that captures the romantic spirit. So Hillary is criticized for being truthful and he gets a pass for pandering to a frustrated segment of the populace that probably made the same mistake last time and the time before – choosing the words they wanted to hear without ever looking under the hood.
By the way, while Hillary’s porridge will always be too hot or too cold for some, if what her angry detractors say is true, that Hillary Clinton is the “tool of corporations,” then a corporate owned media wouldn’t work so hard to destroy her.
Traister concludes with this:
“So here we are! On our way to New Hampshire, a state that inspiring Bernie Sanders is overwhelmingly favored to win. But for one of the first times, in her speech in Iowa, I saw Clinton work effectively to turn the pragmatic ship around, to take what she wants to say — that Sanders’s soaring promises are empty but her more modest proposals might come to pass — and make it sound almost exciting.”
If we ever want to see a woman – this very qualified woman – break through a tired but persistent double standard, it is incumbent upon us to give a second look to, and get caught up in the excitement of, her realistic agenda without letting the pundit class tell us how to interpret what we know we saw…that Hillary won.