EDMONTON, Alta. June 6, 2016/ Troy Media/ – At long last, Hillary Clinton is targeting Republican Donald Trump, opening a new front in her campaign to become the first female president of the United States.
Although her battle with Democratic contender Bernie Sanders is not technically over, Clinton has already moved on from the Democratic primaries to the bigger contest – and in doing so, she has elevated her game and her prospects considerably.
Trump is certainly vulnerable and Clinton is going directly for the jugular. Trump’s business background is very checkered, a fact largely ignored in the Republican nomination process. However, Clinton has already used Twitter to describe Trump’s university venture as a “scam . . . a fraudulent scheme used to prey upon those who could least afford it.”
And on Trump’s suitability for high office, the former secretary of state let loose with both barrels: “He’s is not just unprepared; he is temperamentally unfit.” And, “We cannot let him roll the dice with America.”
Her criticisms of Trump are serious and on point – and represent some of Clinton’s finest campaign moments.
Predictably, Trump shot back with insults about Clinton’s style, lambasting her for reading from a teleprompter. This seems to be standard operating procedure for Trump. He avoids or trivializes the serious issues and then launches personal attacks, for example because Clinton is a woman.
In truth, if Clinton were a man she’d be home and dry by now.
She has all the qualities of a future president. She has a distinguished career in high office and is battle tested in high-risk, high-stress situations. She’s been in countless election battles and is a seasoned pro in managing Washington’s backrooms.
Both Sanders and Trump are relatively inexperienced, radical and obtuse. And Trump lacks even basic common sense.
So why are Clinton’s polling numbers stuck in the doldrums?
Certainly her ties to Wall Street are becoming a liability, but the bigger issue is gender. If she is going to be successful, she will have to overcome a growing bias against women and make a virtue out of being a new kind of female leader.
Feminists have been fighting inequality for decades, after an earlier generation of women fought for and won the right to vote almost a century ago.
In the years after the Second World War, feminists built on that success and carried the struggle to all areas of life. Wave after wave of protest and action meant the movement began opening educational opportunities for women and gaining equal access to the male-dominated job market. More recently, the movement has widened its approach, taking on all forms of discrimination, including the difficult issues of violence toward women, human trafficking and the “pornification” of women in the media.
From the historical perspective, there has been tremendous progress on women’s issues. Not so long ago, there were very few women in post-secondary education. Today, the majority of post-secondary students are women and they outperform men across the board. In the United States today, 38 per cent of women have college degrees, compared to 31 per cent of men.
There has been a revolution in the American workforce. In 1950s, only a small proportion of women participated in the workforce. Most worked in support roles or were waitresses, primary school teachers and other traditional female roles. Today, women make up almost half of the American workforce and play increasingly important roles in the traditional preserve of men: the professions. Women make up the majority of young lawyers, accountants, economists and engineers.
So the feminist glass is nearer to half-full than half-empty.
The political opportunity created by Trump’s blundering has opened the door for the Democrats in key demographics like Hispanics, blacks and Muslims. However, many of these communities traditionally harbour biases against the feminist agenda, a factor that is undermining Clinton’s campaign.
Trump says he wants to make American great again. The road to victory for Clinton is to remind everyone that America is still great, and what makes it great is the American people’s ability to break down barriers and create a world where everyone can achieve their goals.
If she continues to pounce on Trump’s weaknesses while championing all that has been accomplished toward equality, Clinton will be elected the first female president of the United States in November.
Troy Media columnist Robert McGarvey is an economic historian and co-founder of the Genuine Wealth Institute, an Alberta-based think tank dedicated to helping businesses, communities and nations build communities of wellbeing. Robert is also included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.
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