Clinton slogs through double standards on road to White House
Editor’s note: This weekly series highlights stories of women mentioned in the media. Find previous installments @ thetartan.org.
This Tuesday, the country will once again cast their votes for president, following an election season that has had U.S. citizens up in arms. The decision should be an easy one. After all, when given a choice between a former Secretary of State and New York Senator who has spent a lifetime advocating for families and women’s rights and a business mogul who has faced bankruptcy four times, repeatedly made racist and sexist comments, and is best known by the general public for firing people on reality TV, it is obvious who would be able to better lead this country.
So why does Donald Trump still hold 43 percent in the polls, according to the New York Times? Hillary Clinton is currently leading, sure, but why is Trump even enough of a thought in the minds of U.S. citizens to potentially challenge her?
The answer is sad and simple: there is inherent sexism in U.S. politics, a dangerous double standard that has tainted the political sphere since its inception.
In terms of this election, we are far past talking about issues. Of course, the U.S. population is divided on the issues. Yes, Trump represents the Republican Party and the Republican platform, and U.S. Republicans probably are more likely to agree with Trump’s stances on the economy, gun control, health care, etc. If this was another election, another candidate, a question of Democratic vs. Republican platforms, this could be a conversation about issues.
This year is a conversation is about how a racist, sexist man who runs his campaign through a combination of fear-mongering and outright bullying is actually being considered for president. This is a conversation about how if Clinton had said or done even a fraction of the things that Trump has said and done, she would no longer be considered for president.
Imagine a world where Clinton was recorded on tape saying that she forced herself upon men. Or a world where Clinton had been sued for racial housing discrimination. Or a world where Clinton blacklisted major newspapers from getting press passes to her rallies because they spoke poorly of her in their publications. She certainly would not have 43 percent of the vote, nor be considered fit to run this country by anyone.
Yet somehow, Trump, who has done all of this and much more, is still in the running. Somehow, these scandals are overlooked by almost half of the country. Trump is not held to the same moral standards as Clinton.
In the public eye, Clinton has to pull off a balancing act. She must be seen as strong enough to run the country, but warm enough to be relatable and trustworthy. She has to fight Trump and take power of the debates but she cannot react to the yelling and outright insults that he throws out at her. Meanwhile, Trump supporters applaud him for “speaking his mind” or for “taking charge.” Trump never has to worry about appearing “relatable.”
The difference here is that Clinton is not only being judged for her campaign or for her knowledge — she is also being judged on the fact that she is female. In the minds of a fair portion of the country, she is being judged on if she makes a good president and if she makes a good woman. Trump, meanwhile, does not face this type of scrutiny. He is judged on his presidential potential, of course, but there is no one comparing him to what he should be as a man.
As a country, we are far from being able to vote gender-blind. It will still be years before people will stop marrying someone’s political potential to their gender. But we can start by realizing that, no matter his gender, Donald Trump cannot be allowed to be president.