Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Problem with Sexism

I was at an event last night in New York City surrounded by middle aged and beyond women to discuss that state of gender equality in the country. It was just one of those things for work. While the discussion ranged from the thoughtful to the absurd, the one point that most stuck with me was the complaint - universally accepted as truth among this crowd - that Hillary Clinton's campaign was the victim of sexism, particularly from the media.

Admittedly, I'm male and a partisan for the other side, so I can't even claim to be a neutral observer or evaluator of this claim. That being said, I think it's a disservice to the real sexism that exists in the country (wage gap, etc.) to blame Clinton's campaign failure on unfair media bias.

The reason that Clinton lost the campaign was bad strategy. She focused just on the big states and, if you'll recall, didn't win a state for about a month. Male or female, it's hard to complain about the bad press you're getting when that's the state of affairs. At the end of that stretch, Obama was clearly way ahead with no realistic hope for Clinton to catch up. Is it sexism to say that she should drop out when she can't win? Wouldn't it be sexist to not say it just because she's a woman?

I don't know. I'm willing to believe that there were elements of campaign coverage that were different because she is a woman. However, I don't believe those elements were as decisive as her followers would have us believe.

Also, has anyone else noticed a certain "The South will Rise Again" quality to many Hillary supporters recently. I keep hearing people refer to her campaign in the present tense and point out that she just suspended her campaign, she didn't concede. She's still retaining her delegates. This worries me. Not because I think she'll actually be able to snatch the nomination away. Rather, because it's a major hurdle for party unity when a good portion of the party is still waiting for the other candidate to come back.

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