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Why Americans just can't quit Hillary Clinton

Two seemingly contradictory recent Gallup Poll findings sum up what it means to be a woman in the United States who d...

Posted: Jan 2, 2018 12:20 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2018 12:20 PM

Two seemingly contradictory recent Gallup Poll findings sum up what it means to be a woman in the United States who dares to go where only men have gone before: Americans love to think of talented, ambitious women who have overcome obstacles - but the reality of a woman assuming a position of power, particularly over men? That's not welcome.

According to a Gallup finding in early December, Hillary Clinton's favorability rating has never been lower, having fallen to 36%, more than a year after she lost the presidency to a man who had no discernible skills for the job. But in another Gallup Poll, just a few weeks later, she was named as the woman Americans admire most -- for the 16th consecutive time.

In sum, she is subject to a curse that affects too many women in 21st century America: Americans admire but don't much like her. We frequently and consistently elect and hire men to lead us on the biggest stages even if we don't like them, even if they are uncouth, even if they are unqualified. But for women seeking the highest office, talent isn't enough; neither is accomplishment.

And thus far, no one has discovered the precise formula that will make a woman palatable for enough Americans to break the country's shameful streak of never having chosen a woman as head of state.

This disturbing aversion is also why nearly a century after women began gaining the right to vote, we've had so few female governors and US senators and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (no matter how qualified the women who have sought such offices). It is why Donald Trump, with historically low approval ratings, sits in the Oval Office as the most powerful person in the free world and is considered the second-most admired man -- behind only Barack Obama, one year removed from his presidency, who nonetheless topped this year's Gallup Poll for the 10th time.

More telling from Gallup is how Hillary Clinton stacks up against her own husband, whose favorability rating this year is 45%, a drop from 50% last year.

That's right. In the age of #MeToo -- when a male Democratic senator like Al Franken, popular with men and women, can be forced to give up his US Senate seat because of allegations of fondling women before he was in office -- Bill Clinton is still seen in a more favorable light than Hillary Clinton, despite his having been accused of sexual assault before he was president (which he denies) and abusing his power when he had an illicit relationship with a White House intern while he was the president.

In one sense, the fate of Hillary Clinton is similar to that of ambitious members of any historically under-represented group. Their ability to overcome enormous odds is used as evidence that the country is fair and equal, just as long as they don't rise high enough to upset the status quo and come to embody real change.

(An example of this is political conservatives in the United States praising Iranian protesters this week for rising up to challenge authorities over longstanding grievances, even as these same conservatives have chided protesters in US towns and cities for committing similar acts of property violence over civil rights abuses. The message: Iranian protesters are not a threat to the American status quo; black and brown American protesters are.)

But in another sense, these Gallup findings illustrate a struggle unique to women, given that Obama was able to twice win the presidency and remains popular; he's a man, after all. His status quo-breaking accomplishments likely fueled the backlash that gave us President Trump. But Hillary Clinton -- like women before her -- has been unable to break the still highest, hardest glass ceiling.

When Hillary Clinton was a US senator, she was praised for her intelligence, broad knowledge of the issues, abilities and willingness to work across party lines. She was well liked -- but was only one of 100 in the chamber. Americans liked her as secretary of state, too -- but she was reporting to a man.

Elevating Clinton, or any woman, to an office in which every man would have to report to her has been a bridge too far for the entirety of American history. For that, we should be ashamed.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 142311

Reported Deaths: 2472
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin35484995
Ramsey14726372
Dakota10271139
Anoka9344155
Washington636273
Stearns625550
Scott360436
Olmsted340230
St. Louis325874
Wright273116
Clay252944
Nobles234318
Blue Earth21147
Carver18887
Sherburne183122
Kandiyohi18215
Rice170210
Mower154518
Winona133619
Chisago11562
Crow Wing114322
Benton103311
Lyon10306
Beltrami9618
Otter Tail9508
Waseca94510
Todd8967
Polk8364
Morrison8259
Steele8013
Itasca78817
Douglas7744
Nicollet77118
Freeborn7185
Le Sueur6646
Goodhue65111
Martin62618
Becker6214
McLeod6214
Isanti5995
Watonwan5824
Pine5770
Carlton5092
Chippewa4733
Mille Lacs44918
Hubbard4344
Cass4225
Wabasha4141
Dodge4130
Pipestone36617
Meeker3593
Rock3595
Brown3483
Roseau3300
Redwood29912
Yellow Medicine2986
Murray2973
Cottonwood2950
Fillmore2770
Renville27213
Sibley2663
Wadena2643
Faribault2520
Houston2381
Unassigned23853
Kanabec23710
Swift2252
Jackson2211
Pennington2181
Aitkin1982
Stevens1941
Lincoln1930
Koochiching1755
Pope1680
Big Stone1591
Marshall1511
Lac qui Parle1453
Wilkin1454
Clearwater1381
Norman1340
Lake1330
Mahnomen1292
Grant1054
Red Lake822
Traverse590
Kittson530
Lake of the Woods441
Cook190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 122218

Reported Deaths: 1691
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19732289
Woodbury743799
Linn6038133
Johnson602431
Black Hawk5974102
Dubuque550658
Scott487343
Story411118
Dallas357347
Pottawattamie337845
Sioux254417
Buena Vista230212
Marshall212236
Webster196015
Plymouth172831
Wapello158962
Clinton156228
Muscatine153958
Des Moines151611
Cerro Gordo150227
Crawford138714
Warren13137
Carroll120413
Jasper119734
Henry11245
Marion106811
Lee101312
Tama100538
Delaware82713
Dickinson7939
Wright7591
Boone7509
Mahaska73824
Bremer7199
Harrison69716
Washington69311
Jackson6853
Benton6482
Lyon5688
Clay5574
Louisa54415
Winnebago52119
Cedar5087
Winneshiek5079
Hardin5017
Jones5004
Kossuth4970
Clayton4923
Buchanan4875
Hamilton4825
Poweshiek47611
Floyd46211
Emmet45321
Iowa4429
Cass4233
Mills4233
Guthrie42015
Page4200
Cherokee4122
Sac4114
Butler4083
Fayette4064
Shelby4022
Allamakee3999
Franklin39518
Madison3743
Chickasaw3731
Hancock3676
Humboldt3593
Clarke3573
Grundy3406
Palo Alto3292
Calhoun3264
Osceola3020
Mitchell2961
Howard2879
Monroe27212
Union2645
Taylor2602
Jefferson2591
Appanoose2503
Monona2492
Pocahontas2442
Fremont2152
Lucas2136
Ida2122
Adair1971
Greene1930
Montgomery1907
Davis1884
Van Buren1882
Keokuk1731
Decatur1620
Audubon1601
Worth1470
Wayne1373
Ringgold992
Adams841
Unassigned60
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