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Hillary Clinton, the Goldfish in a Presidential Sea of Bernie Bait

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 2/03/2016 Hannah Khan

The 2008 primary was a major election in which Hillary Clinton chatted about her potent plans for universal healthcare against her vote for the war in Iraq. On another note, some spent their time discussing her "cankles," endless media fashion police analyzing her pantsuits, and an eminent talk radio show host dedicating an entire segment to the golden question: "Does this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?"
Sexism in this 2016 presidential election is more elusive, but undeniably present. The coffee table talks regarding Clinton's physical appearance has directed people to question her likability and trustworthiness. But what really makes this sexist pill hard to swallow is that the person trying to feed this political poison is the unkempt, awkward, disobliging: Bernie Sanders.
Just for a minute, picture a slumping 74-year-old woman with unruly hair and a cantankerous way of shouting when she converses. Oh, and throw in a finger point at the people she's talking to. Kiss her chances of becoming a feasible presidential candidate. She would be left in the dust with her pantsuit ensemble and a whole lot of press coverage. Lets face the facts. Has there ever been a woman as the face of political power in this country of opportunity we call home? Will there ever be?
"Clinton is required to look sophisticated but not be sexy, have substantial experience but not be old, and communicate effectively without shouting her opinion."
A female politician, required to look sophisticated but not sexy, have substantial experience but not be too old, and communicate effectively and not inspirationally, with of course not shouting her voice, how can I forget. Meeting this cut through criteria is not such an easy task. Aside from the Nevada Caucus last week, Clinton's age was the third most searched question on Google trends. There was no mutual desire from people to search up Bernie's age, who by the way is senior to Hillary Clinton by six years.
Okay, I'll brush off the apparent gender norms of appearance and aging, Sander's success has exposed an unsettling double standard of what we want to see and hear from women candidates. Seems like women candidates have to climb political ladders to make their way in political office.
Back at the first Democratic debate in October, Sanders said that "all the shouting in the world" would not fix our gun problems, to which Clinton later stated, "sometimes when women talk people think we're shouting." The irony of this verbal exchange is not just that Sanders was accusing someone else with the shouting card (although I'll give it to you Bernie, you got that finger wag interruption point to the T!) The irony also lies in the material of the message: Gun control is an issue that Sanders has a mixed take on, and still he has not sketched a plan to address gun violence, whereas Clinton has. So Sanders not only gets a pass for his sass, but also with not stating clear evidence to back up his plans. A woman candidate in this situation would be roasted.
How Sanders will try to achieve many of his proposed radical policies (such as free college tuition by taxing Wall Street) in a stringent gridlocked congress is blurry. In his 25 years of Congress, he has been the predominant sponsor of only three bills that were successfully passed and signed into law, two of which were about renaming post offices in Vermont. Let that Sink in. He's pretty much running on a platform of not shooting to please or inform, and his tactic is working.
On the other hand, Clinton has come to the table and put forth pervasive policy plans, while at the same time defining calm and composed during extensive investigations regarding her tenure as Secretary of State, most recently in an 11-hour marathon Congressional hearing on Benghazi that came off more like a man hunt than a protocol of justice. To top it all off, she has had to work through her husband's legacy, both personally and politically: from giving her utmost support of policies such as cracking down questions on sexual misconduct accusations, and welfare reforms.
As a 74-year-old Socialist candidate one thought to be completely unelectable, becomes very much selectable in the Democratic primary, we are reminded on a daily basis that even though Clinton is qualified for doing the presidential duty, Clinton being a woman forces her to stay tight lipped not to mention hanging by a thread. One wrong comment could ruin her, talk about presidential pressures.
Clinton is the only woman who has had a real shot at winning the White House. She is held to a standard of brilliance, unlike many in this presidential sea (Bernie bait), Clinton is a goldfish who needs to just keep swimming.

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