By Thomas Weber
As the shock at Donald Trump’s victory amongst Democrats has turned into post-electoral soul-searching, both Naomi Wolf and Naomi Klein declared that Hillary Clinton’s loss was “not a gender defeat”. For the heroines of the Occupy Movement, Clinton lost because she is Hillary of Wall Street. Theirs is a bizarre argument. It is a classic case in which ideology trumps reason and fact-based analysis.
It certainly is true that Clinton would have won the presidency if a similar number of working class Americans had turned out to vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania as they did in 2012. Nevertheless, the majority of the American working class sided with Clinton, not Trump.
Yet there is a more important point to be made. Had the gender gap not widened by six percentage points since the 2012 presidential election, Hillary Clinton would likely have carried Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. She would thus have won 331 votes in the electoral college, compared to the 332 votes that returned Barack Obama to the White House in 2012.
In short, Ms. Wolf and Ms. Klein are fundamentally wrong in their analysis: at its core, Hillary Clinton’s defeat is neither about neo-liberalism nor about globalization. It is about misogyny. Claiming otherwise is not just wrong but provides flawed lessons as to how the Democratic Party will be able to win future elections. Turning against liberalism and globalization Naomi-style – rather than working on smarter financial regulation, just free-trade deals, and the sexism at the heart of American society – will not pave the way for the Democrats towards winning the mid-terms in 2018 and retaking the White House in 2020.
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