Who would you rather have running the country? The most qualified presidential candidate ever to run for office who happens to be a woman... or (check all that apply):
__ a racist.
__ a bigot.
__ a misogynist.
__ a tax dodger.
__ a billionaire who's declared bankruptcy multiple times.
__ a man who has never held public office.
__ a man who makes fun of disabled people.
__ a man who "grabs women by the pussy."
__ a man who might not be able to read.
__ all of the above.
Anyone but a fucking woman, said America. Anyone. Literally anyone.
Of course, racism has as much to do with the outcome of this election as sexism. But many women were proxies for misogyny directed at Hillary Clinton. They encountered it firsthand—lectured by mansplaining "friends" on Facebook about what a bitch she was, told what a liar she was despite the fact that her e-mail scandal amounted to nothing. Women listened patiently to false equivalencies: "They are both terrible," family members would say, not grasping that equating a liar, a con man, a bigot, a racist, a tax dodger with a woman who had a private e-mail server was the result of centuries of baked-in sexism and misogyny.
No wonder women felt so harassed that they joined one of the many secret Hillary Clinton Facebook groups to find a safe space to talk about the election.
When you are a member of a marginalized class of people experiencing homophobia, sexism, or misogyny, trying to explain to people who are not a member of that class of people—or even worse, who are but who don't understand it—that it is already happening is like being the only person who can see a ghost in the room. It's there, it's talking to you, it's plain as day, but reasonable people insist that you must be crazy—or worse, just wrong.
You can listen to Michael Moore speak at length about how the Democratic Party didn't connect to its base of working-class blue-collar men in the rust belt—or how Clinton didn't campaign enough (or at all) in Wisconsin and Ohio and Pennsylvania. You can agree that perhaps Clinton didn't do enough to connect with Joe the Plumber, and Joe the vice president would have done better there.
But you are missing the key point: Clinton can't connect because men like that are predisposed to not like women like her. Women from those parts of the country don't like women like her. Clinton represents everything we have been taught women should not be: strong, smart, powerful, independent, loud. That is sexism.
For many women, it's still so painful to know what we came so close to achieving and how far away we still are. It's so painful to know that the Bernie bros have only been vindicated by her loss, able to huff, "I told you so," even though they themselves have absorbed 20-plus years of conspiracy theories rooted in sexism and fear of female power. When the next female presidential candidate is introduced, hopefully sooner rather than later, all of us—men and women—need to listen to Clinton, who urged her supporters in her concession speech to stop hiding "in secret, private Facebook sites... I want everybody coming out from behind that and make sure your voices are heard going forward."Read the full feature The Resistance: How to Defeat Donald Trump's Plot Against America