I keep seeing stories about these statistically insignificant rogue voters who are threatening to tantrum if they don’t get their way. For instance, this Guardian piece on Bernie Sanders supporters threatening to vote for GOP-front runner Donald Trump if Hillary Clinton gets the Democrat’s nomination. (Their proxy on the Republican side is the #NeverTrump contingent who will vote for Hillary if Trump gets the Republican nom.)
Let’s circle back to that bit about #BernieBros threatening to take their toys and go home. If you read the piece, the main point these angry Bernites make is that at least Trump is “an outsider” like Sanders.
An outsider of what? The beltway? Business leaders? The patriarchy? Let me help you with this. The answer to all those questions is NOPE.
This idea that Sanders or Trump are by any stretch “outsiders” is complete bullshit. Both of them are deeply entrenched and have gained advantages in a system designed to favor rich, white men.
Here, I’ll break it down for you:
Bernie has been a member of Congress for 26 years (16 in the House, 10 in the Senate). He was mayor of Burlington for 9 years. That’s 35 years in public office. Before taking office, he was involved in the civil rights movement. Check for yourself on his Wikipedia page. His estimated net worth is $436,000, according to Open Secrets. Explain to me again how that makes him an outsider?
Trump’s father was Fred Trump, who amassed a fortune worth $250-300 million in real estate and development deals. Fred Trump was also a United States Appeals Judge. Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump, is also a federal judge. Trump launched his own real estate and development career with $1 million (2015 dollars) at his parent’s company after graduating from Wharton. The Economist ranks his business acumen as “mediocre” and many of his biggest business ventures have failed. By all accounts, the only way he has maintained any level of success has been because of his father’s reputation and his family’s money and status. Read for yourself on his Wikipedia page. His net worth is estimated by Forbes at $4 billion. Tell me again how Trump is an outsider?
Now, just to be fair, let’s look at Clinton’s Wikipedia page. She served as Secretary of State for four years and in the Senate for eight. If you want to count her time as First Lady in both the White House and Arkansas, that’s another 12 years. That makes 24 years in public office. That’s still less than Bernie, even when you throw in First Lady years at state and federal levels. She got her law degree at Yale and her non-elected work has focused on the welfare of women and children (both in Arkansas pre-White House and internationally). Her family net worth (she and Bill together) is estimated at $110 million by Fortune.
Hillary Clinton is not an outsider, but neither is ANY candidate for president. In one way or another, they have all benefitted from privilege and wealth. (Even Bernie makes enough to be in America’s top 3.8 percent!) The fact is, you don’t get rich and powerful without connections and advantages in a system that is rigged to reward white, heterosexual, cisgender men.
So let’s just call these Bernie-baters what they really are: misogynists. So much of the vitriol aimed at Clinton is in one way or another about her inherent femaleness. She’s shrill if she’s shouting. She’s too calculating if she’s calm.
Hillary is not your mom. She is not your Rorscach test for whatever issues you have with women or sterotypical feminimity. She does not have to smile. She does not have to fulfill your fantasies. If elected, she has to be good at her job. Period.
Whether or not you think Hillary is qualified to be president should be decided on her job skills and whether you think her positives out-weigh her negatives. (And I’m not saying she is above reproach.) What your vote should not be decided on is whether or not she acts like a “good woman,” if she “knows her place,” or if she has good taste in clothes.
One thing that is true no matter which candidate you choose: None of them are outsiders.
*Update: I forgot Ted Cruz. A combined nine years in public office (appointed and elected) and a net worth of $3.5 million. Surprise! He’s not an outsider either!
**Update 2: I created a handy cheat-sheet while posting on Twitter so I’ll share here, too.
Years in office:
Clinton- 12 (plus AR + US FLOTUS =12)
Clinton $30 mil ($110 w/ Bill)
Trump $4 bil
Cruz $3.5 mil
Sanders- U of Chicago
Clinton- Wellesley/Yale Law
Cruz- Princeton/Harvard Law