Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Clinton’

A Woman President?

The nomination of Hillary Clinton for president is a penultimate historic moment. Her election, like that of Barack Obama, would be historic–at least for this country. (India installed a woman head of government 50 years ago, Israel did 47 years ago, and the U.K. did 37 years ago.) You don’t need a sociologist to tell you that women’s situations have changed dramatically in the last few decades.

Just as the election of Barack Obama in 2008 highlighted the vast advances of blacks in America but did not usher in a “post-racial” or “post-racism” era, so the election of Hillary Clinton in 2016 would highlight the vast advances of women in America but will not end the tensions about women’s proper roles. Almost all Americans today say that they would vote for a woman for president, but many of them retain reservations about the gender equality such a vote implies.

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I spotted a bumper sticker as it passed through Berkeley on a blue Camry the other day. It read “McGovern-Shriver 1972.” It was a fresh sticker, not a 44-year-old relic, the driver’s wry comment on historical memory.

All but the shouting is over preparatory to the Trump/Clinton face-off this summer. (Full disclosure: I, like almost all “observers” excepting Norm Ornstein  and Sam Wang, dismissed Trump’s chances. For one post-mortem on how we screwed up, see here.) With the emotions of the primaries perhaps dampening, it becomes easier to inquire about the amazing age gap between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters.Sanders Clinton

In an April Field poll (pdf) of California’s likely Democrat voters, Clinton won the 65-plus crowd by about 3:1, but Sanders won the under-30 crowd by over 4:1. Age–much more than class, race, gender, or even ideology–differentiates pro-Clinton and pro-Sanders voters. (Full disclosure: I’m with her, as you would predict from my age.)

Why the canyon-sized gap? Maybe the Sanders vs. Clinton messages–boldness vs. pragmatism, frankness vs. calculation, independence vs. establishment, etc.–divide the young from the old. Maybe voters’ personal interests–say, student debt vs. protecting social security–do. But it is striking that age separates the two camps much more than how far left people say they are, their policy choices, or their social positions. One important explanation, I’ll suggest below, is historical memory, as captured by that bumper sticker.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Considerable attention has come to the video of Hillary Clinton’s conversation with Black Lives Matter activists. In it, Clinton responds to a spokesman’s plea for her to lead a change of white “hearts” regarding the treatment of blacks. She responds, after acknowledging the historical and contemporary grounds for complaint, by saying, in effect, that one can do all the consciousness-raising possible, even change a lot of hearts and “get lip service from as many white people you can pack into Yankee Stadium and a million more like it who are going to say: ‘We get it, we get it. We are going to be nicer,’ [but] that’s not enough….” Without a pragmatic program for systemic change and without practical politics to attain those programs, it’s all for naught. Develop a program, she says, or “we’ll be back here in 10 years having the same conversation.”Hillary Black Lives

Clinton’s position reminds me of a comment that left- and gay-activist, former representative Barney Franks wrote about political activism: “If you care deeply about an issue, and are engaged in group activity on its behalf that is fun and inspiring and heightens your sense of solidarity with others, you are almost certainly not doing your cause any good.” A bit hyperbolic, as Franks is wont to be, the point rings true as a lesson from decades in realpolitik. Expressive politics–feel-good, self-affirming, and heart-addressing demonstrations–usually don’t yield results. Nor do over-the-top demands. “Incrementalism is not the enemy of militancy; it is often the only effective means of expressing it,” Franks writes.

The exchange between the activists and Clinton echos one that emerged around the Occupy movement.

(more…)

Read Full Post »