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.

Cases: 604687

Reported Deaths: 7643
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1250161780
Ramsey52519898
Dakota46852471
Anoka42789458
Washington27436291
Stearns22561225
St. Louis18146313
Scott17553137
Wright16383149
Olmsted13406102
Sherburne1202795
Carver1067448
Clay826592
Rice8204110
Blue Earth762744
Crow Wing681895
Kandiyohi668185
Chisago620152
Otter Tail586284
Benton582998
Goodhue484074
Douglas475781
Mower470533
Winona461451
Itasca460163
Isanti440364
McLeod430961
Morrison424962
Beltrami407962
Nobles407750
Steele397816
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363853
Carlton353056
Freeborn347133
Pine334923
Nicollet331345
Mille Lacs311854
Brown308040
Le Sueur297326
Cass286332
Todd285633
Meeker263543
Waseca238023
Martin235333
Roseau211221
Wabasha20793
Hubbard196641
Dodge18783
Renville182846
Redwood176539
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena163423
Fillmore157610
Faribault155219
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122812
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine115020
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95518
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48393
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371226

Reported Deaths: 6056
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58274641
Linn21241339
Scott20311248
Black Hawk16180312
Woodbury15241230
Johnson1462285
Dubuque13515211
Dallas1129499
Pottawattamie11233174
Story1072048
Warren583891
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554196
Sioux517674
Webster516094
Muscatine4884106
Marshall487176
Des Moines467672
Wapello4337122
Buena Vista427040
Jasper421172
Plymouth403181
Lee382556
Marion366176
Jones301057
Henry294537
Bremer288761
Carroll287252
Boone268534
Crawford268340
Benton260355
Washington257551
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232751
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama212271
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198935
Page194522
Buchanan194133
Cedar192323
Hardin187544
Fayette186943
Wright186140
Hamilton182051
Harrison179973
Clayton171157
Butler166535
Madison164519
Mills163924
Floyd163542
Cherokee159338
Lyon158941
Poweshiek157136
Allamakee152852
Hancock150334
Iowa149724
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138813
Grundy137433
Emmet135841
Jefferson133335
Shelby131637
Sac130920
Union130035
Louisa129849
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126743
Chickasaw124917
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113523
Howard105022
Montgomery103638
Clarke101124
Keokuk96832
Monroe96431
Unassigned9550
Ida91635
Adair87432
Pocahontas85822
Davis85325
Monona83431
Osceola78917
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7628
Taylor66812
Fremont6279
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56418
Wayne54423
Audubon53411
Adams3444
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