Donald Trump is an unreconstructed misogynist and a threat to women’s rights. But it is outlandish to attribute the US election result to sexism. Attempts to do so are designed to excuse Clinton. Van Badham, who recently wrote a piece praising Clinton without qualification, wrote of her hero’s defeat:
“Every little girl in America has just been told that if you work hard, be good and make nice you still can’t be president but your abuser can.”
Clinton was never good and nice, she did not lose the election because she is a woman, and losing an election is not violence against women.
Racism is also deeply entrenched in the US, but people did not primarily vote for Obama because he is Black, nor did he lose an election because of his skin colour. He won because people believed he would bring economic and social justice.
Clinton didn’t offer even the pretence of raising living standards. She was openly and proudly the candidate for Wall Street, campaigning for and embodying a continuation of the status quo that people are rightly disillusioned with.
There was nothing progressive about her campaign. The only arguments made for her by her entourage of right wing and liberal champions were: 1. She is the status quo. 2. She is not Trump. 3. She is a woman.
This is hardly the stuff that inspires little girls, or boys. In fact, the system that she so extravagantly defends is responsible for crushing the dreams of millions of kids who grow up in poverty. Public education and health care are in permanent decay, the police torment and murder Black kids, and the minimum wage is below the poverty line.
Trump’s win was not inevitable. Clinton’s campaign enabled it. Before capitulating to Clinton, Sanders mobilised an extremely popular left wing campaign for wealth redistribution and an end to the worst rorts of the “billionaire class”.
To fight the latest member of the billionaire class in the White House, we need to learn the lesson from this election. Trump will not be defeated with the politics that Clinton offered: neoliberalism with a twist of power feminism.
Instead we need campaigns to defend women, immigrants, Blacks and the working class that begin with a rejection of the capitalist establishment.