I spent the summer of 2015 chronicling the avalanche of attacks against Hillary Clinton at #HillaryMen. My co-founder Tom Watson and I dedicated ourselves to the task of wading through the myriad insults, smears, character attacks, negative frames, sexism and misogyny that have marked the 2016 presidential race.
In November, we put HillaryMen on hiatus as I embarked on a major project with David Brock to build a new media platform for Blue America.
Meanwhile, the attacks against Hillary have taken a disgusting turn. In the past week, GOP candidates have dropped all pretense and embraced gutter politics.
Chris Christie: “I’m going to drive straight ahead, run her over, and get right to the WH.”
Donald Trump: “She was going to beat Obama. She was favored to win and she got schlonged. She lost. She lost.”
This comes against the backdrop of a media frenzy over Hillary’s bathroom break during the most recent Democratic debate.
Think about it – in a single week, one of the most powerful, accomplished and admired women on the planet is exposed to threats of violence, derided in sexually explicit terms, and subjected to in-depth analysis of her toilet habits by the media. Does anyone really believe sexism isn’t alive and thriving?
For the larger context, read this stunningly insightful piece by Sady Doyle on why Hillary has “no room to breathe” as a woman seeking the presidency:
I’ve come to believe that, in some ways, saying nice things about Hillary Clinton is a subversive act. I spent much of this year working on a long project on how women are demonized in the media. Hillary Clinton was a fairly large part of that story – she had to be; if you want to talk “women that people hate,” she’s kind of unavoidable – and I spent a while sorting through Clintoniana, dating back to the early ‘90s, to find nasty things people had said about her, or common narratives about her personality. It wasn’t pretty – the worst stuff for Hillary was way worse than I’d expected, and there was way more of it than I expected to find – but it was also illuminating, in some key ways. I got a better sense of the pressures that she has to live with, and how they’ve informed her decisions.
Hillary Clinton is the impossible woman. The pressures she lives under, every moment of her life, are so numerous and so all-encompassing that she barely has room to breathe. She doesn’t have an inch of leeway, a single safe option; there is no version of Hillary Clinton that won’t receive visceral hatred, and loud, personal criticism.
So true. So sadly true.