Guest Editorial: Young Women Don't Owe Clinton


one quibble: every generation gets told they're lazy, stupid, and apathetic. milllenials are not special that way.
This was a great piece, and this part especially:
They have, in fact, become exactly what we might have hoped for our daughters and granddaughters: confident of their equality. We fought to convince ourselves and our country that we should be equal. They were born with the message that they are equal, and they are fighting for the implementation of that equality.
I think it encapsulates the reasoning behind Sanders' young feminist support quite well. Their confidence in their own equality allows them the freedom to avoid compromising their ideals for symbolic progress.
@3 Yes! Contrast this to the SJWs who seem to defeat their own message by insisting that young women must hand in their feminist card if they don't support Hillary's message of "the politics of the merely possible."
"They see policies promising real potential for jobs and education and health care, and they think it's entirely fair that the very wealthiest should give back some of their spoils to pay for it." Yet they refuse to see that those policies will NEVER get enacted with Republicans controlling the House for years and years, safely ensconced in their gerrymandered districts where they have to play to their conservative base and to hell with what Bernie's supporters think.
"Those young feminists who support Sanders are not naive or disloyal. They are building a new world, and they are demanding a new politics that invites everyone to play. They are, in fact, doing exactly what we feminists of a certain age once wished for our daughters: thinking for themselves, unburdened by gender."

They may not be disloyal, but I think it remains an open question as to whether they are naive....

My 22 y/o self would have been all in on Sanders. My 52 y/o self is more circumspect. One reason for this change is that over the last 30 years I've become a lot more skeptical that a single act -- like voting for Trump or Sanders or Cruz or Clinton -- can change things significantly. Obama almost convinced me that it could. But the reality of his presidency has reminded me that it can't.

Young folks might know the history of the 2000 election, but it's hard to capture what the vibe was back then if you weren't of voting age. I had some of the most intense political arguments I've ever had with close friends of mine that year--people in their late 30s and early 40s, people who are all significantly to the left of center, people I had never had a major disagreement with on politics in 20+ years of friendship. It was ugly, just like it's gotten ugly here in 2016.

I felt then and I still feel today that we had a shot to get a third term for a Democrat, but only if we stayed unified. Unfortunately, we lost unity in our coalition and we underestimated the importance of that unity. I could feel it happening over the course of 2000. I tried to stress it to various friends and I was rebuffed.

So certain people on the left of the coalition, who had held their noses and supported Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, broke ranks and supported Nader. It wasn't a lot of people. Perhaps it shouldn't have mattered. Plenty of blame to go around. Gore wasn't the most compelling candidate to be sure. But in the end, it did matter a lot.

In spite of Gore's shortcomings, if we'd stayed unified, I have every confidence that our side would have won. It was a wasted opportunity and very damaging to the country. Of the 97,488 Floridians who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, I wonder how many had voted for Clinton in 1996? We'll never know for sure, but we do know that Nader received only 4,101 Florida write-in votes for president in 1996, and finished behind the Libertarian candidate who got around 20,000 (that said and to be fair Ross Perot was in the race in 1992 and 1996, so the dynamics were somewhat different).

At the end of the day, I don't care who the Democratic president is. I'd vote for either Sanders or Clinton. I don't think there will be a huge functional difference between either of them in office. I just want a Democratic president. So give me somebody who can win. Right now, I think HRC has a better chance of winning, but perhaps my opinion will change as things go along.

I also wish that more folks, especially young folks, would view HRC's "excellence at the game of politics" as a feature and not a bug.

Why doesn't anybody ever assume that she might end up betraying all of her Wall Street cronies once she gets into office? What if she's been kissing all of these people's asses for decades, playing the long game, waiting for her chance to realize her liberal ideals? Once she has been elected president and made history, won't her long-term legacy be much better if the does something for all the people?

She's definitely a much more conflicted hero than Sanders, but that could be what makes her a more effective hero in the end.
Granted that young and other women need to make up their own minds. And also granted that they do not owe their elders anything, at least in the generalized sense that none of us asked to be born, so we do not owe our parents anything. I wonder in what sense millenial women's votes are "hard earned", but that is a pretty minor detail (or is it? Because if the hard labor was not on their part, might that not have incurred a debt?).
I wonder if you would apply the same "don't owe them anything" logic to reparations? If not, would that be because of the ongoing, structural inequalities which are a contemporary legacy of slavery? And if so, what do you call the ongoing situation of women making three quarters to every dollar men make for the same work?
Your essay also presumes a difference between the candidates' policies which I do not see born out by the evidence: that Clinton's are less liberal, that Sanders' are somehow more substantial.
And we can only conclude that supporters of the latter are not naive if it turns out that Sanders is electable in the general--which most models say he is not.
Look, I like a lot of things about Sanders, and I think your essay expressed well what many people very reasonably feel. But I also think it is bizarre to act as though Clinton should be disqualified by competence. And I would hope that, like Sanders said in his N. H. victory speech last night, we can bear in mind that you can choose either one of these candidates in the primary, while committing to support both of them, come what may.
As for comments about C's supposed "entitlement", that's idiotic. She's running on her accomplishments.
Great piece! Send it to the New York Times for republication. Should be on their front page.
I don't actually think that we (they? I'm 31, am I a millennial?) are confident in our equality: I see online harassment as well as subtle bias against career women, and think we still have a ways to go. However, I think we can afford to wait for a female president, when there are other issues which are more urgent in this fast changing world, i.e. income inequality, immigration, climate change. I understand that "women of a certain age" don't feel like they have the luxury to continue to wait, and I feel grateful to them for the change they accomplished, so I'll understand if they vote for Hillary, and be excited for her and them. But I do not appreciate being told who to vote for in such condescending terms!
This is what it looked like to me, too. I read the comments, looked at my very young daughter and thought that she wouldn't buy that argument either. My kids take some things for granted, and that's a good thing. They expect to see a path to progress, not a maintenance plan.
Clinton dismissed the ideas that are attracting voters to Sanders because she does not agree with them. Fine, but demanding voters over look policy to vote for somebody else is a losing argument.
Elizabeth Warren, first female president. It's coming.
Clinton is too good at politics so she'd make a bad politician?

Um... ok?

She "counsels moderate change" and is abandoned for Sanders' grand plans.

Great! Because as we all know, the President can simply wave a wand and instantly install whatever policies they want.

It's a good thing our government doesn't have a branch that actually writes the laws, or another branch that can strike down laws... nope! Whatever the President wants, that's exactly what happens!
@11: ugh. unless she's going to be Sander's VP pick and he drops dead in office, no it isn't coming.

she'll be 67 this election day, which makes her 71 in 2020, 75 in 2024. more importantly, SHE DOESN'T WANT TO BE PRESIDENT, and has said so repeatedly. I take her at her word.
@7 I'd like to see these models that you claim exist which supposedly mostly show that Sanders is not electable. He got the vote of 84% of people under 29 in New Hampshire. If us young people are wild about him and go out and vote (also keep in mind that we are the largest generation) then he will win.

@11 Hell yes! Run Warren Run! 2020 or 2024!

Also, people need to stop saying that there is virtually no difference between Sanders and Clinton in terms of policy. Fucking go look up neo-liberalism and look up democratic socialism and you'll find that the economic differences between those 2 ideologies are huge.

Just to give an example of differences between Hillary and Bernie.

Clinton is apparently now against universal healthcare and thinks we should expand the Affordable Care Act to cover everyone. Privatized medicine is shit and the ACA was only a bandaid. It doesn't address the long-term issues in the healthcare system. Costs are continuing to go up at an alarming rate and the only solution is single-payer healthcare (Medicare for all - which Bernie has an actual vetted plan to implement).

No doubt, the obvious elephant in the room is how useless congress is right now. The only way to get any of this shit done is to have a massive change in congress. Just putting democrats back in isn't enough. If that were enough we would have gotten a lot more shit done from 2008 to 2010. We need new, younger, socialism embracing people to be in charge of shit in this country. Do you really think Hillary is going to be at the front of a wave of massive change? I think it's a lot more likely that the person who identifies as a democratic socialist -- who is actually getting millions of young people excited about politics again and donating and participating in the campaign -- that is the only way we're going to bring about the change in congress needed to fix our government. If these people who are energized about Bernie get people elected to congress in their states by a massive young voter turnout, things will change.
@1, @11: If Sanders should sew up the nomination and choose a woman running-mate, I'd much rather see Elizabeth Warren than Hillary. At his age, having a suitably left-wing veep in the wings to take over to continue the struggle wouldn't be a terrible idea. Even if he's wildly successful the first term, he may not be physically up to a second term, and VP Warren would be a natural to succeed him.

That said, should Hillary sew up the nomination, all you damned millennials, hipsters, nihilists and stoners better wake up and fucking work your asses off getting out the vote for her, because a Republican winning the White House would be the fucking end. At least Hillary wouldn't make things any worse, and she's no dummy. Having seen the strength of Bernie's message, she might drift more in our direction.
I'm 59 and grew up with that Gloria Steinham feminism, but I must have missed hearing that I should support Hilary because she's a woman. I just think of her as a candidate, not a woman candidate. If she's nominated I'll be okay with voting for her. Her election would be a milestone, like the election of the first black man. But Obama's race is not the most important thing about him, and neither is Hilary's gender. I prefer Bernie, even though he's another white guy. and I don't think think that makes me a bad feminist.

Also--OF COURSE young feminists owe a debt to those women who fought for the very advances they now enjoy! But payment of that debt would not take the form of voting for any particular candidate--rather they should live the free and fearless life we always envisioned for them, and keep fighting for equality. Most important, VOTE, or you will find yourselves fighting for the same rights that were won a generation ago. (The recent Planned Parenthood war is a chilling reminder of what women could lose if they're not vigilant.)
Being a woman only hurts Hillary here. She gets classic sexism stacked against her and then a heap of some feminist backlash criticism--evident in the author's misunderstanding Steinem's and Albright's comments (Albright's is a play on words and Steinem's are taken out of context).

Rights for any minority or disenfranchised population have only been granted by the stroke of a pen after blood and sweat was shed to gain them. This is not the case when taking them away (see the Supreme Court's stance on voter's rights policing in the south). The author fails to realize that Sanders won't give you anything you can't achieve on your own, but Trump/Cruz/Bush/whoever WILL take them away from you.

Setting a social and economic agenda is really only part of a President's job. In 2016 I'm electing a Democrat who can beat the Republican nominee.
Hi Shasta,

(Apologies for the length of this post - wonder if this will get 'truncated'.)

I'm a feminist, age 50 - no need to repeatedly use that silly term "of a certain age", is there?

I'm not sure where to begin with your piece here. But I really didn't like it.

Firstly, you say: "During the years when feminism was a dirty word" ... girl, I don't know what world you live in, but it's still a dirty word. The percentage of young women, especially, who call themselves feminists - even when they are! has been quite low for decades.…

"Less than half of millennial women identify as “feminist.” Among millennials, just 47 percent of women identify as a feminist, and less than one-quarter (22 percent) of men associate themselves with the label. Overall, 35 percent of millennials identify as feminists, while 65 percent do not."

That's the definition of a dirty word - when no one wants to self identify with the term, surely?

Next, you say: "Unfortunately for her, the old rules are starting to look a lot like cheating to a generation that has been stripped of opportunity."

Would the fact that Obama was equally good at 'politicking' be held against him? Should it be, when running for political office?

You fail to say exactly what you mean about young folks being 'stripped of opportunity', btw.…

Thus far, Millennials are on track to become the most educated generation in American history. Although we are still behind Generation X in the number of college graduates (19 percent of Millennials have a college degree compared to 35 percent of Gen X), according to a February, 2010 Pew Research Center survey, 40 percent of Millennials are still in school, and of those who are of college age but not in school, 30 percent say they plan to go back at some point to get their degree. Furthermore, 90 percent of today’s high school students say they plan to pursue some sort of education after high school."

I know this group cries an awful lot about tuition debt - so did mine. My friends and family members who actually graduated owed $800 a month in loans, some of them, but bear in mind that people with college degrees earn on average over a million dollars more over their lifetimes than people like me, who didn't graduate (because I and many of my friends simply could not afford to keep going running up that debt).…

"Those with bachelor's degrees, no matter the field, earn vastly more than counterparts with some college ($1.55 million in lifetime earnings) or a high school diploma ($1.30 million lifetime), indicating that no matter the level of attainment or the field of study, simply earning a four-year degree is often integral to financial success later in life."

So give the kids time. Lots and lots of people of all ages are 'saddled with debt'. I was and still am in a way - my mortgage is one example - can't possibly afford a new car and mine's 11 yrs old - I certainly live paycheck to paycheck as do many millions of people of all ages.

As far as this (or any) generation volunteering to go into the military in Iraq - their choice entirely - there is no draft - and then "coming home to poverty", do you think the Vietnam generation came home to wealth? Volunteering for the military is in no way a guarantee of wealth and riches once (if) one gets back. And people who volunteer to serve are no more deserving of wealth than any of us surely? You certainly get all the accolades in the world for being a 'vet', your whole life, and plenty of benefits from health insurance to cheaper to free college tuition, to much better deals on car and home loans than most of us will ever see. But again, where is the correlation between young people and poverty that is any different from when I (and you) were young and working for minimum wage and had 3 roomates? Most people don't stay in minimum wage jobs all of our lives - we can't afford it. Gives the kids time for god's sake.

It especially pains me to say this as a liberal, but I certainly disagree with you that Occupy accomplished much at all - certainly not dozens of concrete things such as debt forgiveness. The concept and practice of debt forgiveness has been around for decades. The hipsters in the park hardly invented it. I wish Occupy people had maybe tried running for office instead of sitting on their asses holding up signs and beating bongos in public parks, only to be dispersed by the cops, and fleeing back from wherever they previously lived. I knew half a dozen people in the Occupy group here in Portland, Maine - and visited the park they took over several times. I can tell you that none of them had any concrete ideas for what exactly they were trying to accomplish beyond sloganeering. It was so disheartening, disappointing, and embarraassing. They actually expected to live for free on public land - exactly like the Oregon militia! - for as long as they wanted. There was no plan B at all. The whole thing was a joke and a failure, which is a shame. They had a lot of energy, obviously, and drive, and it went nowhere, essentially. It made me embarrassed to be a liberal.

Millennials don't joint unions? Union membership is largely a thing of the past for all ages groups. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:…

"The union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions— was 11.1 percent in 2015, unchanged from 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers."

You said: "We expect most men to oppose us or patronize us." I guess I and my women friends of all ages (sisters, cousins, friends and their daughters and granddaughters) encounter men who are anti-feminist on a fairly regular basis unforunately, if that is what you mean by 'oppose'. But we hardly expect men to patronize us. Where are you getting this notion from? I guess I expect men - and women - to treat each other with respect and like equals. I don't look at a man and think, oh, here comes the patronizing bullshitter.

You say: "Here's the truth: Young women owe us nothing." Seriously? This is like saying to the Black Lives Matter kids that they owe nothing to the 60s civil rights movement. You think they'd agree with that sentiment? I'm thankful as fuck for the people who fought for my right to NOT live in the world my mother and her mother did - are you kidding? My grandmother had 15 kids - 15! She was a slave to her husband and as a Catholic had no option for contraception nor the ability to say no to the man who kept impregnating her ever year, like a fucking Duggar! Their next door neighbors had 20 children! Of course I'm thankful I'm not the equivalent of a breeding farm animal. All women today should be. My mother had 2 choices - teacher or nurse. She was an 'old maid' when she married at - gasp! - 30 back in the late 1950s. After my dad died and left her with 3 kids under the age of 10 she went back to working outside the home into the pink collar ghetto in an office. She made absolutely shit pay for years and years and struggled like crazy financially and otherwise. The opportunities for employment for women - even college educated women - with young kids at home were severely limited. While at the same time, a man who dropped out of high school would have made more money than she did over his lifetime, on average. It's a different world today for young women thanks in large part to the Gloria Steinems and Albrights and the women who preceded and came after them agitating for the rights that young women take for granted today (abortion, contraception, the right to speak one's mind around men, divorce and property rights, actual laws against domestic violence that are actually enforced - there are an endless list of differences that the prior feminists fought for that make the lives of younger women indisputably better and richer today.

At the same time, in response to you saying this:

"[Young women] have, in fact, become exactly what we might have hoped for our daughters and granddaughters: confident of their equality."

Equality? I'm sure you know that women still earn less than men for the same jobs, and what a difference that makes over our lifetimes. We are still raped all the fucking time. We are still battered and killed by men at frighteningly high percentages, all over the world. In 2015 there were how many dozens and dozens restrictions put into law here in the supposedly evolved US with regards to our ability to end a pregnancy we do not want?? We live in a time when at least one presidential candidate openly talked about his opposition to contraception. It's a mad, mad, and still very, woefully un-equal world for women - young and otherwise.

You say "Steinem is one of the heroes who moved culture so effectively that her work eventually outgrew her." Really? No need for the type of agitating for women's rights that she still does every day (at age 81!) anymore in your opinion? What an astonishingly arrogant statement. Are you Bill O'Reilly masquerading as a Stranger writer? I wonder, would you say the same thing about any 60's black (or Native American, or gay) activists alive today? That MLK 'moved culture so effectively that his work eventually outgrew him'?

You say that today's young feminists want to know what Hillary will do for them and that they will not vote for her based on her gender. I agree on the latter - but when Hillary ends up the candidate, are you saying they will sit out this election because this year's Ralph Nader - surprise surprise - didn't pull in South Carolina, Nevada, etc? They will allow Trump or Cruz to win? Two men who could very easily be in the position of nominating at least 1 supreme court justice? Think tipping the balance of the court further to the right won't impact young women - all of us who care about liberal causes just a smidge?

You say "Her campaign refers to the black vote as a "firewall," while black voters increasingly question what she's actually offering."…

Sorry, but what the fuck are you talking about? Here's the headline:

"Hillary Clinton Is Overwhelmingly Popular Among Black Americans"

"Eighty percent of black adults have a favorable impression of the Democratic front-runner and former secretary of state. Even when taking into account the percentage who view Clinton unfavorably, she still has a 68 percent net favorability rating among black Americans, a group that analysts at the Cook Political Report have called the "overlooked key to 2016.""

And you say, finally: "Those young feminists who support Sanders are not naive or disloyal. They are building a new world, and they are demanding a new politics that invites everyone to play."

All young generations in the modern age agitate and try to change things, generally speaking. I did, you did. We made some gains, and lost some. It is ever and thus. "They are building a new world" - if they can build it via Bernie - who simply has no chance to become president, sadly - or their own selves being lifelong activists, and/or running for office and making concrete changes, not just sloganeering, no one who cares wouldn't support them. I would and do. You would and do. The political reality is that one must work WITHIN the present system simply because you need 60 votes to override a filibuster. Obama has said the GOP filibustered 500 bills. This is unprecedented. How many of Bernie's bills would they filibuster from the get go? How many would be absolute non-starters in today's political climate? 80%? 90%? What exactly would or could Bernie get done? I love the man and if he's the candidate (which he won't be) I will vote for him, but after 8 years of watching what Obama has gone through, I think I know how this story ends.

I understand the romance and drama of being for Bernie - of the idea of a 'revolution'. It feels good voting your conscious. I know - I was one of those naive, tragic 2000 Nader voters. Then came two disastrous W terms - 8 years of absolute hell, 2 wars, etc etc. I and many, many dems learned a right painful lesson. That incremental change is still change. Obama isn't as left wing as I want him to be - dems are far too moderate for my liking - but the reality of having to win the wide swath of the south and the flyover states is there and will continue to be there short of us actually dividing the country up - which I would support! (Build that huge wall they are always going on about and wall 'em all in with all their guns, yes.)

So from one middle aged feminist to another: Please quit the pandering to the kids. It's okay to tell them they're being silly, if not bratty, just like their Occupy brethren. It's okay for them to appreciate what others before them accomplished and to point out that they should not take it for granted. Of course it's okay to vote for someone regardless of gender. But gender does make a difference - one's lived experience - just as race does. Would anyone claim that Obama has a world view the same as any man who grew up white? Of course not. That he didn't come to office viewing the world through the prism of a black man, and that means inherently differently than all prior presidents? Would anyone actually argue that that makes no difference at all? Ironically, I'm not even that wild about Hillary. I wish she, like Obama, was much more liberal. But she has fought for women's and children's causes all her entire life. She has had to go thru the world as the half of the population that is discriminated against in ways (like Obama) that the other half can't begin to understand and has no chance of experiencing. We have had 200+ years of presidents who have not. So while I don't agree with her (or Obama) on everthing, yes, it does matter to me that she is female - just as it matters and mattered to millions of black folks that a black man became president. No one would argue with them, surely.

@12: Word.
@18 that's a lot of a comment and many good points. what bothers me is that some voters get caught up in red herring issues which cloud what is really on the line here. if i voted my conscious I'd write my own name down for president. however, i have many good reasons not to be so foolish.
Good piece. A few thoughts:

"Clinton is that female politician who has proven herself adept in D.C. for decades, brushing off scandals real and imagined, and paying her dues."

And don't underestimate that power. People have been trying to stop her for decades and looking who's still standing? That's resilience, craftiness, and a spine of steel.

My problem with Clinton is her ever-evolving attitudes. It shows growth and maturity to realize that some stances were wrong or you were on the wrong side. But that spine of steel is nowhere to be found when she's trying to get elected. It's unnerving.

No one has to vote for her because she's a woman. Screw that - we'll have a woman president and maybe one that doesn't have so much baggage attached (yes to Elizabeth Warren.)

And that baggage, oy vey. Those of you too young to remember the young Clintons may not realize how much the Republicans hated them. It's like the GOP saw them as the couple who would destroy this country. (And Bill was seemingly the first black president until Obama finally came along.) The GOP came at them and them.

So that logjam, that "no way I will work with a Dem" attitude in that place? It will not get better under Hillary Clinton. It will just be the same old, same old because, like Obama, they don't want to see her succeed and damned if they'll do anything.

Meaning, they will hurt this country in order to slam the door on getting anything done. As they have done with Obama.

Too much baggage.
@21: Not sure what you mean by ever-evolving attitudes, but I don't necessarily see that as a defect all the time. After all, in a democracy, you have to be flexible to what's popular (if that's either against or for how you actually feel).

Clinton does have baggage with the Republican party, but a lot of that was sexist and completely manufactured. Hard to hold that against her as a candidate. Also, it's hard to imagine the Republican's going against Clinton MORE than their efforts against Obama and don't see how Sanders would change that.
Testify @18. I especially admire you for owning that your Nader vote in 2000 and what you learned from it, rather than trying to argue (as so many have) that Nader didn't negatively affect the outcome of 2000 election for the Dems.
@12, @13, and @16: Yes.

Clinton would make an excellent President. However, even though she's been in public life for the last 40 years, I still don't know what the hell she cares about, except getting elected. And I don't know how to correlate those two statements. Maybe I just think she's so much better than any Republican that there's no question that if she's nominated and doesn't get elected, it will be devasating. But that would be true of if any other Democrat would be nominated and wouldn't win.

I almost wish Bernie wasn't in the running. He's a purist (or at least seems that way to his fans; those of us who simply like him know that someone who's been in the Senate as long as he has is either no purist or simply hasn't done a damn thing in Congress) and he's also likeable, even to people who don't like his politics. Clinton is as far from a purist as you can get, and she's an opportunist. We know she's been after political power all her life. That's natural to her, as it is to Cruz, but it's not attractive in either of them. Cruz's base are believers; Clinton's hoped-for base is one whole gender, and that's just not going to work because we happen to be individual; even women "of a certain age" (good lord, what a ridiculous phrase) who've respected Steinem et al. all our lives don't take orders from them on voting.
I'm afraid that Bernie, who I think is unelectable because there just aren't that many real Democrats left in America, is ruining Clinton's chances. If the Dem convention picks Clinton even though Bernie has a lot of delegates, his supporters will be really pissed and may stay away, or vote for Jill Klein. That would guarantee a Republican win.

You're denying that college costs have skyrocketed?

And your answer to income inequality and lack of jobs that pay a living wage is: they're still going to college?

They're still going to college because they need a degree to earn a working class living!

Fucking old people. My dad's experience with looking for work? Tour in navy, joined the fire department back when you just needed to show up. That doesn't work anymore.

Working class jobs with security that paid enough to live on are gone.

A fire department hiring these days gets forty thousand applications for a couple hundred jobs.

@25 I'm an oldster and I agree with you whole-heartedly. And we oldsters are probably in denial because we can't imagine solutions that that don't challenge the foundations of our emotional comfort about how the world works.

Finally, I suspect Gloria Steinam has a very poor understanding not only of what younger women think, but also HOW they think.
@25 As a fucking old person, please allow me to agree with you and amplify your remarks.

Employment when I was young was a cake-walk for most people. I always had part-time and summer jobs and could save money, a necessity since my parents were always nearly broke. I stoner-ed my way through college and came out with a theater degree in 1975, at a time when rundown tenement apartments were readily available in the Big Bad City for $100 to $150/month and the minimum wage was $2.30, so you could actually live on it. (Oh, and with zero college debt. State University tuition was $400 per semester, and the top 10% of high school grads were given scholarships.) Took a civil service test and got a job pushing paper in a purchasing department. Quit that job after a year to take a completely unrelated selling job at about twice the pay. Hated it, though and quit after two years.

There were no worries back then about finding work, and my apartment was so cheap, I had easily saved up a couple years' living expenses, so I just screwed around for awhile. Took a self-directed bicycle tour of southern England, met my wife, she moved here, we bought a house in a run-down neighborhood in Brooklyn from our savings. I temped doing word processing for awhile at $12/hour (in the '80s when that was very decent money) and ended up working for a big brokerage, purchasing PCs for brokers. One thing led to another, to another, and after 20 years I was able to retire from my senior software developer gig. With nothing but a fucking BA in theater!

No one can do that anymore, or afford to live like that, and it breaks my heart to see kids buried so deep under this economy that down looks like up. We absolutely DID have it easy and I guess most oldies still don't realize that.

Bernie does, though. I just wish he would remind us that we used to have pretty much what he's proposing now. It was never impossible until the Republicans made it that way.
So glad to have read this article plus ALL of the comments this morning. Very clarifying.
@12 & 19 Sanders is making it very clear to his supporters that electing him is just the beginning and that it will take a lot of fighting beyond the presidential election to implement change, yet either because you aren't paying attention or because you only hear what you want to hear, you feel that you have to repeat that he can't implement change alone as if it were a blind spot of his and his supporters weren't aware of it. Why?
"Here's the truth: Young women owe us nothing. They do not owe Clinton their hard-won vote, and they do not owe we feminists of a certain age a period of servitude."

Here's another truth: Young women owe it to themselves to support a candidate that has fought to get them as far as they've come today, and will fight to get them the rest of the way to equality. They're not there, yet. Trying to do elect a candidate that will hand the White House to the GOP is a major mistake. Bernie is just not going to be able to win the majority of voters. More people are scared of the term Socialist then you realize.

It's been a long battle, and the fight is not over. Hillary is the one who understands the struggle. She's the one who will continue the fight. Men won't do that for you.
Comparing Bernie to Nader is either asinine or disingenuous. Bernie isn't running as a third party candidate. So if he doesn't secure the nomination, he won't siphon votes from anyone. Also, to that end, claiming that Bernie is somehow incapable of working within the system completely ignores the fact that he chose, as an elected Independent, to instead seek the Democratic nomination via "the system." Questioning Bernie's realpolitical chops is also looking like an increasingly asininie/ disingenuous claim to stake. If he truly was the unelectable goofy uncle to Hillary's savvy political tactician, we wouldnt be having this conversation. She has consistently shown herself to be flat-footed as a presidential candidate.

Also, to #18. First- fuck you. Second- when you were my age George H W Bush was being sworn into office as a third term for Reagan, so pardon my generation if we look elsewhere for political wisdom. Kindly fuck off. Third- the "hipsters in the park" drew attention to the cause and effect of the second worst financial collapse in our history. The Bundy's drew attention to the cause and effect of arsonists being prosecuted? Please. Fuck. Off.

They say all politics are local. So consider Kshama Sawant. First, she was widely expected to fail miserably as a city council candidate, but she rode a young, idealistic constituency to a win. Then she was predicted to fail miserably as an actual city council member. Instead, her singular campaign demand was swiftly fulfilled.

Did anyone really give a shit that an Indian-born woman was elected to public office in the 3rd most important city west if the Mississippi? Nope. Were people pretty jazzed/ surprised to see an out and out socialist outperform expectations? Yes.

Does anyone really give a shit that Bernie has already gotten closer to the White House than any Jew in history? Nope. Does a significant chunk of people like the ideal of a socialist in the White House? Yeah.

So, explain to me again how women my age are the naive ones for putting identity politics aside and instead voting on the basis of political politics? Seems to me that pragmatism can mean different things to different people.

This is simply one of the best reads I have come across in a long time. Fantastic piece, Shasta.
I'm curious, what age is the author? It is relevant when she's discussing other women of her generation. Saying "of a certain age" doesn't really answer that question for me.
For the person who wondered how many people voted for Clinton in 1996 and Nader in 2000, well, I was one of them AND I lived in Florida at the time. Bush did not win because I voted for Nader, Bush won because the Republicans cheated and our electoral system is fucked. Everyone seems to forget a private company from the state of Texas purged the voter rolls. Gore won one person, one vote. The electoral college and the Supreme Court gave Bush the election.
While I was in the voting booth a poll worker, a guy in his sixties, said "excuse me sir", and grabbed a set a keys that were left in the voting booth. Well, turns out these were the keys to the fucking ballot box! Why are the keys to the ballot box just lying around? Oh, and I had my head shaved at the time, but Im a goddamn woman. This isn't something I saw on TV, I was fucking there. Complete and utter incompetence. Then in 2004, Florida got electronic voting machines and early voting. I stood in line for an hour and a half to vote early and have no confidence my vote was recorded accurately. The machines had the ability to create a paper trail, but in my precinct at least, the paper back up was not being used.

@18 "So give the kids time. Lots and lots of people of all ages are 'saddled with debt'. I was and still am in a way - my mortgage is one example - can't possibly afford a new car and mine's 11 yrs old - I certainly live paycheck to paycheck as do many millions of people of all ages."

So you're 50 and have mortgage and an 11 year old car?
Well, guess what, Im 39 and am still living in an apartment and have a 16 year old car.
And I have a Bachelors Degree! So fuck your 'give the kids time'.

"I understand the romance and drama of being for Bernie - of the idea of a 'revolution'. It feels good voting your conscious. I know - I was one of those naive, tragic 2000 Nader voters."

Wow. Go fuck yourself.

@29 Ditto. People need to vote in EVERY election, not just tor President. We need to get rid of the electoral college, the caucus system, super delegates. We need one person = one vote.

Hey @31 Hersh, thanks for the double 'fuck yous'! Much appreciated! I disagree with you, and with the author as noted, but thanks!

And @25, Mag - of course college costs have skyrocketed and so has the cost of living generally, while salaries have not kept pace, for sure. We are all in the same boat is my point. I struggle and did as a young person. My parents struggled. My older brother, age 55, lost his home 3 years ago and was forced to declare bankruptcy, and move from his house with his wife and daughter, into an apartment. I have been laid off 4 out of the last 5 jobs I've had, and I'm in a white collar/pink collar office position, not a manufacturing job being shipped overseas. My 53 year old sister was laid off 3 times in a row - she was an executive assistant in the financial services sector in Boston and the crash in 08 upended her entire life (inability to get a job in Boston because of competition from 20 somethings with fresh college degrees who have roommates or live with their parents still, and can afford to live on under $25k accordingly, repeatedly killed her chances of getting employed there at anywhere close to a decent wage commensurate with her experience and chops, despite over a year and a half of damn hard looking. At the same time, the apartment she loved and had been living in for 8 years came up for sale for the first time since the building was built in 1975 - it was her absolute dream place and they offered it to her for sale, but she could not get a loan due to no job, so lost her job and her 'house' at the same time. She ended up having to leave the state entirely - her home - to find work elsewhere, for a hugely lowered salary.)

The one new car I ever owned cost the same amount -- literally - than what my mother paid for a house when I was 10 years old. While lots of things that were once considered basics (college, a house, a car) have skyrocketed in price, this hardly impacts only young people, and this has been going on steadily for a couple of decades now, as is well documented wherever you choose to look. I have to live and work and have a roof over my head, too. And once you have a college degree, as I mentioned, over your lifetime you make on average over a million more than I do, so that period when you're paying off your loans is well worth it. Whilst I, who simply could not afford college beyond the first year, sit here making over one million less over my lifetime than a kid with a degree will.

Again, it's been bad for a few decades now - young kids do not corner the market on the insanity that is the true disappearance of what was once the 'middle class'. The life I and my brother and sister live right now - people who grew up middle class - is really what would have been considered working class to nearly poor when I was growing up. And we, again, are all in our 50s.

Mage, you say "fuck old people" and point to your dad having it real easy looking for work at one point after being in the navy. (My dad was in the navy as well btw, during WWII.) (Can't help but wonder btw how 'easy' your dad feels his life was.) Me and my middle age siblings and your middle aged to 'old' relatives and neighbors live in the same world that you do. We all need to work, and pay our debts and try to afford to keep a roof over our heads. People my age have the added burden of age discrimination in the workplace, and our wages - certainly mine - have dropped significantly in the last several years - doing the exact same job, while my property tax, homeowner's insurance and all other bills have skyrocketed. Struggle, debt, difficulty, is not exclusive and never has been exclusive to young people. That's my point. I certainly can't afford a house on the street where I grew up in Boston - I'm talking dumpy two-families in Brighton, MA. One for sale right now on my street (Priscilla Road - you could look it up) is right now $1.2 million dollars. This is on the same street where my mother sold her 2 family in 1975 for $25k. By the time I was in my early to mid 20s, the cost of the houses on my street were well beyond my reach, and skyrocketed from there, and never stopped skyrocketing, in part because the higher the tuition costs, the richer the college students flooding into Boston which drives up the rents and housing costs. Ordinary working class people like myself are and were driven out, never to be able to afford to return.

So, for you to apparently assume we are all 'rich' because we are 'old' - to assume we don't struggle and live in the same 'disappearing/obliterating middle class' world that you do is just silly, and misinformed.


@29 Hatrack, thanks for the 'fuck you', as well! Much obliged! You have outdone me by owning an older car than me! Congrats!

Yes and yes. Here is my take on it:…
I would also note that millenial and gen x women are still fighting a fight. It's from an insurgency and so it's not as effective on national scale but it's still doing a lot of damage to young women who are increasingly leaving spaces where their voices are being shouted down, exasperated, recouping with other women their age. Finding private spaces to deal with the intolerance. We're still out here, working twice as hard to get ahead languishing in obscurity for doing the same amount and quality of work, but, we're together in another sense and that shouldn't be ignored. The reasons we see these women going for Bernie is because they understand he'll do right by them, possibly to a lesser degree than Mrs. Clinton but he'll make sure he's a good steward. He listens to criticism. He changes his view. They see someone in Clinton who they'd like to support but find her views not quite modern enough, not quite radical enough to fill the needs they have while working to provide for their family. More women are out there working in a career, we have to, absolutely because noone can get a salary that will keep a family in a house, with a car, and good food and medical care and pay for our student loans. It's no longer something that will help the family and get some extra spending money, it's the only way we can all afford to live. Families require more shared work than ever before and that's not changing any time soon and it's only getting worse. And even with both of us working our hearts out, we aren't able to reach into middle class, less of us have homes, more of us are renting, and all that money goes to other people who continue to get richer off our lack of... success is not the right word... opportunity, probably. Sanders speaks to that so that's why many young feminists are turning away from Hilary. It's not that we don't want a woman in the white house, we do, we just need more. And we've come to know what needing, truly needing more, means for our families.
This article skirts the main reason why I, a (usually) feminist man, do not and will not support Hillary: She is a member of the Establishment, and has a vested interest in the staus quo. She does not represent women OR Americans; she's in it for herself. And is not above playing the "Oh look I have a vagina too" card in order to try to get your vote.
While I agree with the author's statements that women of a certain age have had to work twice as hard to be seen as competent (I'm assuming she's 40-ish), I don't know how she can argue that things have changed for the current generation in that respect. Based on every article I've read on the subject, it seems that there is as much under-representation of women in leadership roles, and in the tech and science industries as there was in the 90's. Women have to play the same exact games now as then.

Bernie has so much male privilege that is disappointingly being ignored by a generation of women that is usually so quick to recognize that. A female Sanders would be laughed out of the room or at the very least have her ideas critiqued way more harshly for being a grumpy woman with disheveled hair yelling about revolution and socialism while making idealistic promises like free education for all.

I like Bernie, and I like Clinton, as well, and understand that she has to take the conservative approach because of her gender. But look at how successful republicans have been using that same strategy.

I also don't think you can argue that identity politics don't matter as much to this generation. If Obama were running against Sanders, I'd be surprised if Sanders were more popular with young blacks despite Obama's more moderate views. Remember how many articles were written about the symbolism of electing a first black president? To think that this generation doesn't care about identity at least as it pertains to race is odd considering the BLM movement (and Beyoncé worship, for that matter).

The real issue is that women do not band together and support other women in their fight for gender equality the way gays and blacks and other marginalized groups do. There has always been a lot of in-fighting among feminists, and like another commenter said, fewer than half the women in this age range even consider themselves feminists despite the fact that we have all faced gender discrimination. I think the issue is more complex than this author seems to believe.
I've been saying this for 20 years. I'm a GenXer. I started working in the 90s. Women of Hillary's generation were utterly condescending to me, my peers and younger boomers. They expected us to worship them because they allegedly paved the way for us to be in the workforce. They never asked me if I wanted to be in the workforce or be a stay at home mom. No I never wanted to be a stay at home mom but they scoffed at that even being a choice. They called me a baby. They were not nice (I can say worse). I'm in my 40s now. I remember. I owe them nothing. My mom was working while they were still in school. Anyone who watched Mad Men know women were strugglin for equality before Gloria Steinem ever burned a bra. There is a reason Bernie is polling 70% with women 45 and younger. I dare to say it goes up to 50 because in 2008 women I knew were 2 to 1 for Obama. A woman has to earn my respect just like a man does. I am not voting for someone with a vagina any more than I am voting for Ted Cruz because we are both 40something Irish/Hispanics but yeah if I vote identity, I would have to go with Ted or Sarah Palin --- post boomer career woman.... I bet Hillary's surrogates are suddenly glad I have a brain.
There was a great article in Harper's by Susan Faludi called "American Electra: Feminism's Ritual Matricide" that sums up the problem for Clinton and women's equality as a whole, in which she argues that while feminists have fought productively for men to "give women some of the power they used to give only to their sons," it hasn't been able to figure out how to pass that power down from woman to woman, which has crippled women's progress in every respect:…
Thank you! This is everything I've been hoping to hear from feminists of my mother's generation, and I completely identify with the picture you paint of millenial feminists today, and why we overwhelmingly support Sanders. I just want to print this out and hand it to people.
Only under Socialism ( original meaning) are women protected from misogyny.
@45: Legally, that is!

Guess I'm a bit disappointed that the author of this article didn't even comment on the fact that her arguments, one by one, were so easily and handily refuted. Not even a peep in her own defense of her incredibly weak, generic, platitude laden, reference-free article? Hopefully the Stranger won't bother inviting this "writer" back.

@velvetbabe, thank you for smart, thoughtful, concise comments.
And the disrespectful fuck you replies from some only strengthen your arguments.
@18 The things you list - the struggles...that seems to be what this is about. Why should we accept that? Why aren't we doing better? Why accept the 1% who buy our elections and the outrageous economic and social disparity? Why is it a surprise that some people don't like Hillary when they hear about the money that supports her campaign? The money that goes to the rich as the poor get poorer. I'm not bashing her. I have a lot of respect for her, but I can see why there is distrust. And even with those day-to-day struggles you mentioned, we are still so privileged compared to so many others our country. Shouldn't we be demanding better for them? And @41, you really think you can speak to the Black identity experience? If you're white, you can't. And you can't compare white women to anyone of color and how they may feel or think. Privilege. And all groups have differences within their ranks - feminists, LGBT, everyone. That's just human. And to anyone who wants to whine that another generation speaks poorly of you, has a stereotype view of you, blames you, shames you, is responsible for the rotten, miserable life you have...remember that every generation experiences that. I personally have been criticized by four different generations in my family. Millennials - you don't know it yet, but the next new generation is going to think you stink, too. No win, so everyone suck it up. I know that's harsh, but people are rotten and self-absorbed. Generational differences, while hurtful and problematic - to me - fall below the hurtful words and actions of racism, misogyny, etc. We need to challenge and speak up about these things. When the generational crap really starts eating at you - walk down to a homeless shelter or a free medical clinic or a rape counseling center. Perspective can be humbling. I'm not worried if Bernie or Hillary wins. I feel proud that we are so much better off this election cycle than the other side.
@14 private medicine is not shit, in my opinion. Our Medicare IS private medicine with the bills paid by a single payer, our government. Yes, costs need to be controlled, but our medical community is fabulous. What is shit in this country is private insurance. There is a difference. I'm not interested in having my government take over the medical community.
@48 and @49, thanks for your kind and reasoned comments.

NOW THAT SCALIA HAS DIED, it's officially GAME OVER FOR THE BERNIE DREAMERS. This is emergency - much moreso than before - seeing as the repubs are, of course, ALL openly admitting they will prevent the nomination of any supreme court candidate (that Obama nominates) until 2017. They are obviously expecting a repub winner this November, and considering that they control the house and senate, they will of course nominate another Scalia or Thomas to ANOTHER *LIFETIME* APPOINTMENT. In other words, right when we've gotten rid of the likes of Scalia, the motherfucker will be replaced with another guy just like him, or like Thomas, or perhaps someone even worse, if that is possible ... FOR LIFE. And who knows how much longer 82 year old cancer survivor RBG will live?

So, millennials: it's time to WAKE THE FUCK UP. If you continue to help erode support for the candidate with an actual, genuine chance of defeating Donald Trump et al, because it's so damn cool to 'feel the Bern' - and if you decide, once he is out of the picture in the coming weeks (newflash: the south and Midwest aren't Bernie territory and never will be) that because you didn't get your way you will instead pout and fold your arms across your chests and sit out the election (as you usually do - only 19% of those aged 18 to 29 voted in 2014) rather than USING YOUR NUMBERS to help swing this election of all elections away from Trump, Cruz, Rubio etc., then you must understand that you will be fucking over your OWN causes and interests (as well as the rest of us dems) in a MAJOR way.

Elections do indeed have consequences, but even moreso than elections, lifetime appointments to the highest court can fuck you over very very badly. Do not help allow it to happen.

Missing from all of this is Cintons amazing History. Starting with being a Goldwater girl, to ushering in her husbands destruction of our economy with the ending of bank regulations. Than the welfare destruction, remember Hillaries comments on super predators? Some of you will claim you can't pin this on her, bull she was out there lobbying hard. Than we have the man who was notorious for going after anything that was female and moved, as someone who ran 250 person fundraiser I was warned to stay clear of him. His wife blamed all of those women never her groping husband.
The real reason I will not vote for Clinton is she is a neocon.
To start with take the time and see who she hangs out with. Hint war criminals
Take a little of your time and see how she voted on going into Iraq, than what roll she played in Syria. After that check her record on Central America and South America. Hati, is another place which also deserves your time and brings up the Clinton foundation.
While she was sos she dealt more arms than under Bush and to countries not even Bush would sale arms to. Why would she do this? Well her foundation got huge donations from the countries and the arms dealers. This family is corrupt to the highest degree.
Hillary does not care about women or children she cares about Hillary and power.
I will not vote for neocons. The fact is Hillary will not keep the status of this nation stable she will find away to start more wars and will insure TPP is passed as well as TTIP. Want to watch our economy crash?
So no Hillary is not the lessor of evils she is truly EVIL
@53 - Curious who will you vote for if Bernie is not the candidate? It's either going to be Hillary the person who see as "truly evil", or people who are surely evil-er than even that devil-woman, such as Trump, Cruz, Rubio, et al.

Please do tell - who will you vote for, or are you going to sit this one out and let the rest of us decide?
Jill stein
And oh don't give me the Nader bs if this is who the "party" crowns they and all of us will live with the results. When it comes to war, trade, jobs, and healthcare there is really no difference in the evil.

Thanks for the response, Shermy. I have to ask, when Jill Stein doesn't win the election - when she is not able to affect any change on that level - for example, when she isn't able to nominate a supreme court candidate now that Scalia has died and RBG is likely to in the coming years given her age - that would be 2 lifetime appointments to be filled - will you still feel that if Donald Trump was in there vs Hillary, that there would be no difference between them at all in say, the candidates they would choose? Cruz and Hillary, Cruz and Rubio would choose the same types of candidates with the same agendas?

I know you don't want to hear about Nader, but as I posted earlier, I was one of those naive, pie in the sky 2000 Nader voters, and when you say "there is really no difference in the evil" you *are* exactly quoting the Nader-ites from 2000. "There's no difference - they are all equally evil and bad" was the Nader-ites mantra. It was said constantly - I remember - I was there. W, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, rode that notion to the bank for 8 years and we were all taught a damn good and swift and painful lesson.

You obviously don't like Hillary, but there IS a major difference between her and the impact she would have on the country vs ANY of the republican candidates out there. I'm not naïve enough to think that anyone running for president is a pure, never-lied-to-his/her-mother angel. I think there is a certain level of bastard - a certain level of political machine - in all of them, unfortunately. But while there are only bastards running, I want to try to make damn make sure that the biggest, most idiotic, most catastrophically destructive, least informed idiot bastard doesn't get in there, ever again, if I - If any of us - can possibly help it.


PS - no difference in their views on healthcare? Seriously? Have you listened to any of the republican candidates and their views on Obamacare? Let alone Planned Parenthood and abortion? Their notion of "health insurance" is what was the status quo, and a little thing called "health savings accounts". In a country with a negative average savings rate.

Do you think the worst decision the court made was citizens United? If so tell me why the Democratic Party has done nothing to change it? Remember Obama had the people and the house and senate not a word from any of them. Joe Biden gave us Clarence Thomas the worlds dumbest jurist, that he could have stopped and didn't.
The courts are another tool the DNC use to continue the Oligarchy along with choice and guns
The republican oligarchs use the environment, guns and abortion for the same reason to make us pick the Wall Street candidate. I stopped playing the came after working for Clinton and your scare tactics will not change that.
Healthcare run by the insurance industry is a farce and it is so expensive now with the cost continuing to rise and big companies like Blue Cross bailing out of ACA I would not try to use that as your hammer either.
Just in case you didn't remember Gore won and he did not fight to keep it.
FYI a large chunk of the wall street Dems supported the war in Iraq, they can't find enough reasons to not spend more and more money feeding the mic and voting for TPP TTIP. Let's just say the Democratic Party left me years ago.
Hi again, Shermy,

I never mentioned Citizens United, and I'm not saying the dems are perfect or that I didn't wish they were more liberal or that I'm in love with Biden or even Hillary. Of course as a liberal I wish the likes of Bernie could be president, I wish we had single payer already, I wish there was no corruption or tax breaks for billionaires and that my president was a gay trans black disabled female - (not even kidding there - it would be fucking awesome).

What I am saying is that these are (except for the latter) utter pipedreams in the present/not so present political climate/the reality of the modern U.S (and most other countries), and that if we wait around until we become Finland or Norway - if we sit by and allow the more 'evil' of the two 'evils' to waltz into office in part because we sat on our asses and complained and did nothing else - then we get and have to live - all of us - with the consequences, ie the worst of the two evils in office, doing things that have real, actual every day consequences, such as nominating 1 or 2 more Scalias.

The lesser of two 'evils' is just that - less 'evil'. Not perfect, not ideal, not Mother Theresa, but by defintiion less 'evil.'

But obviously you have made up your mind that Hillary and the dems are Satan and equally as Satanic as the repubs. I get that. While the dems aren't ideal and there is plenty of corporate money and whoredom all the way around, it's still important, given the track record in recent years of what the dems platform is and what most dem party members support vs what the repubs believe and do, to vote with the folks who are more on my side - the side of minorities and women and homos and Planned Parenthood - than not.

If HRC gets nominated, all that can happen is less loss of ground. I'll work for her to stop the Right, but there is no good reason we should have to settle for just stopping the Right. By itself, stopping the Right is barely anything.

We both know that nobody can govern as a transformational progressive after running as a hawkish centrist. And that any chance of any social gains will stop if HRC keeps us intervening in the Middle East and Ukraine, places where nothing progressive or feminist can ever occur.

We need someone with the spirit of Bella Abzug or Shirley Chisholm to be the first female president, not a hawk. A hawk can't do anything that benefits women, POC or anyone anywhere who's powerless and voiceless.

War kills liberation.