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: 445047

Reported Deaths: 5955
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin924911470
Ramsey39703735
Dakota32788331
Anoka30811360
Washington20004225
Stearns17775185
St. Louis13546240
Scott1189996
Wright11548102
Olmsted1035775
Sherburne815765
Carver691436
Clay648478
Rice600166
Kandiyohi552871
Blue Earth538033
Crow Wing479673
Otter Tail453464
Chisago449732
Benton416785
Winona386246
Douglas372466
Nobles366746
Mower362328
Goodhue343657
Polk327756
McLeod323144
Morrison310043
Beltrami308746
Lyon299835
Itasca282643
Becker281738
Isanti281141
Carlton278143
Steele27119
Pine265113
Freeborn241320
Todd230929
Nicollet223336
Brown213734
Mille Lacs212845
Le Sueur208515
Cass206123
Meeker198533
Waseca188816
Martin169126
Wabasha16883
Roseau165316
Hubbard148338
Redwood139227
Renville136539
Houston135313
Dodge13304
Chippewa130832
Cottonwood126518
Fillmore12215
Wadena119416
Rock109512
Sibley10797
Aitkin107133
Watonwan10618
Faribault104615
Pennington97715
Kanabec97218
Pipestone93823
Yellow Medicine93314
Murray8655
Jackson85010
Swift83018
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65616
Lake62915
Wilkin6229
Koochiching59010
Lincoln4821
Big Stone4543
Unassigned43468
Grant4257
Norman4228
Mahnomen4087
Kittson37019
Red Lake3164
Traverse2473
Lake of the Woods1801
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 303065

Reported Deaths: 4267
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45335447
Linn17673274
Scott15356163
Black Hawk13648236
Woodbury12945175
Johnson1202149
Dubuque11300149
Pottawattamie8934112
Dallas881171
Story863434
Webster467471
Cerro Gordo462968
Sioux453356
Clinton448361
Warren437538
Marshall425561
Buena Vista391529
Muscatine386177
Des Moines380641
Plymouth348868
Wapello340898
Jasper319658
Lee313530
Marion301752
Jones269649
Henry263230
Carroll253034
Bremer242048
Crawford228122
Boone216217
Washington214231
Benton208544
Jackson190831
Mahaska190736
Tama185657
Dickinson184226
Delaware172236
Kossuth170543
Clay166019
Wright162724
Fayette159522
Buchanan158023
Hamilton157829
Winneshiek154819
Harrison154462
Hardin153929
Cedar151419
Clayton150748
Butler146424
Page143715
Cherokee138127
Floyd137936
Mills136016
Lyon133632
Poweshiek132324
Hancock128824
Allamakee126827
Iowa122822
Calhoun12209
Grundy120026
Jefferson119524
Madison11869
Winnebago118229
Mitchell115634
Louisa114130
Cass112541
Chickasaw110512
Emmet110231
Sac110215
Appanoose109638
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102224
Shelby101326
Franklin101218
Unassigned9210
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82519
Monroe80518
Clarke7817
Pocahontas77211
Ida73830
Greene6887
Davis68721
Adair68620
Lucas6468
Osceola6349
Monona63316
Worth5983
Taylor5919
Fremont5036
Van Buren49412
Decatur4784
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4108
Adams2953
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