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Clinton Getting Tough With Trump Isn't Going to Be Pretty

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 16/03/2016 Kathleen Reardon

If Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic presidential nomination, her supporters will need to be on guard for cheap shots about such irrelevancies as her wardrobe, voice and femininity.
Not because she can't take the heat, but because things are bound to get much worse. It's one thing to be judged by how you speak and respond to a Democratic competitor who is civil by nature -- and quite another as you take on a mean, bombastic hatemonger. When you're battling such an adversary, you can't pause to set a lovely table.
Gender stereotypes that enable criticisms of Clinton will continue to exist. We can expect more months of T.V. commentators criticizing her voice, and to the supposedly clever yet disparaging adjectives they will use to make her appear overbearing.
Donald Trump will take no prisoners in his attacks on Clinton. Barbara Res, who worked for Trump as an executive for 18 years, told Christiane Amanpour that he has become increasingly negative toward women over the years. "The thing about Donald is that he can sense weakness," Res added, "and when he senses weakness he will overcome you. There's no question about it. He has that sense of smell." Of her years with him, she said, "You had to be a killer with him otherwise you would get killed by him."
Of course it would be unwise for Clinton to try to top Trump in rudeness and crudeness. While many media pundits might want to convince you that Hillary won big on Tuesday for one reason or another, an awful lot of voters across the board realize that Clinton has the experience, persuasive skill and toughness needed to battle with a man who goes for the jugular.
Clinton is not as polished as some politicians. In her own words: "I am not a natural politician in case you haven't noticed, like my husband or President Obama, so I have a view that I just have to do the best I can, get the results I can, make a difference in people lives, and hope that people see that I'm fighting for them and that I can improve conditions economically and in other ways that will benefit them and their families."

Rough around the edges she may be, and there will be times when even her staunchest supporters will wish she'd said something differently or better. But if you want authenticity in a presidential candidate, then you have to take some real people traits along the way.
Many women still worry a lot about whether they're coming on too strong. We fail to realize that we all get labeled. You might as well have some input. Stand up for yourself. Reframe the debate. Recognize when to smile and when something simply isn't funny. Clinton does these things. She takes the arrows and remains standing. She tweaks her style when possible, but is a fighter by nature. You have to be one to get as far as she has gotten.
Worrying every moment about whether you're being sufficiently sweet is the last thing she'll need to do up against Donald Trump. If she becomes the Democratic nominee, we'd better wake up and wise up about that.

Kathleen also blogs here.

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