Is it harder for a female candidate to get elected in America than an African American male, or just harder for Hillary Clinton to get elected than Barack Obama? Jury's out, but Clinton, in an interview with the Washington Post, chalks her probable loss up in some part to misogyny. Here's Hillary in her own words, speaking to Post reporter Lois Romano, who is very sympathetic to the candidate.
LR: Do you think this has been a particularly racist campaign?
HRC: I do not. I think this has been a positive, civil campaign. I think that both gender and race have been obviously a part of it because of who we are and every poll I've seen show more people would be reluctant to vote for a woman than to vote for an African American, which rarely gets reported on either. The manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable or at least more accepted. And I think there should be equal rejection of the sexism and the racism when and if it ever raises its ugly head. But it does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by comments and reactions of people who are nothing but misogynists.
LR: Isn't that how it's always been, though?
HRC: Oppression of women and discrimination against women is universal. You can go to places in the world where there are no racial distinctions except everyone is joined together in their oppression of women. The treatment of women is the single biggest problem we have politically and socially in the world. If you look at the extremism and the fundamentalism, it is all about controlling women, at it's base. The idea that we would have a presidential campaign in which so much of what has occurred that has been very sexist would be just shrugged off I think is a very unfortunate commentary about the lack of seriousness that should be applied to any kind of discrimination or prejudice. I have spent my entire life trying to stand up for civil rights and women's rights and human rights and I abhor wherever it is discrimination is present.
Of course, the Clinton campaign's failure to organize in caucus states (and so on and so forth) was at least as influential as sexism in allowing the nomination to slip out of her hands. It's also frustrating that Clinton insists upon comparing sexism to racism instead of acknowledging that both continue to be major problems worldwide. But some of what she's saying here is quite important and, coming from the lips of a presidential candidate and U.S. Senator, almost unprecedented. To admit that sexism is at the core of religious fundamentalism and the ideology of terrorism is to begin to realize that feminism is a powerful solution -- not just to "women's issues," but to foreign policy problems, national security threats, and so much else. I think what we're hearing here is a candidate unbound, able to speak freely because she knows she's almost finished with the race.