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Rebecca Solnit on anti-Hillary misogyny on the right and left


In the London Review of Books, Rebecca Solnit dissects the appalling misogyny that Hillary Clinton faced during her unsuccessful presidential campaign against Donald Trump. Importantly, Solnit examines not only the misogyny of Trump, his supporters, and the mainstream media, but also that of segments of the pro-Bernie left—the vehement and obsessive hatred of Clinton was by no means confined to conservatives. As Solnit writes, even self-described feminist men seemed threatened by the prospect of a women entering the sausage fest that is the White House. Here’s an excerpt:

Mentioning that [Clinton] had won the popular vote upset many of the men I am in contact with, though they would not or could not conceive it that way. I wrote this at the time: ‘With their deep belief in their own special monopoly on objectivity, slightly too many men assure me that there is no misogyny in their subjective assessments or even no subjectivity and no emotion driving them, and there are no grounds for other opinions since theirs is not an opinion.’ Then these men went back to talking about what a loser Clinton was. There was considerable evidence that we had not had a free and fair election, evidence that might have allowed us to contest it and to stop Trump. But these men of the left were so dedicated to Clinton’s status as a loser that they wanted Trump to win, because it vindicated something that went deeper than their commitment to almost anything else.

Trump was the candidate so weak that his victory needed the disenfranchisement of millions of voters of colour, the end of the Voting Rights Act, a long-running right-wing campaign to make Clinton’s use of a private email server, surely the dullest and most uneventful scandal in history, an epic crime and the late intervention, with apparent intent to sabotage, of the FBI director James Comey. We found out via Comey’s outrageous gambit that it is more damaging to be a woman who has an aide who has an estranged husband who is a creep than actually to be a predator who has been charged by more than a dozen women with groping and sexual assault.

Hillary Clinton was all that stood between us and a reckless, unstable, ignorant, inane, infinitely vulgar, climate-change-denying white-nationalist misogynist with authoritarian ambitions and kleptocratic plans. A lot of people, particularly white men, could not bear her, and that is as good a reason as any for Trump’s victory. Over and over again, I heard men declare that she had failed to make them vote for her. They saw the loss as hers rather than ours, and they blamed her for it, as though election was a gift they withheld from her because she did not deserve it or did not attract them. They did not blame themselves or the electorate or the system for failing to stop Trump.

Image via Variety.