I have a lot of questions at the end of this election cycle. Why did immigration become such an intense focal point this year? Why doesn’t Hillary bring up the progress of the current economy more? Who decided that Trump’s son should have any kind of presence on Twitter? At times, I’ve questioned why Hillary wanted to run again at all. I know that sounds crazy; it’s the presidency, of course she wants it. Numerous SNL skits play on just how much she wants it. I also understand she’d be making history, that the position as U.S. president is one of the most powerful in the world and that Clinton has specific, motivating visions for the future of the U.S. But Clinton has already made history, has plenty of power and, since the age of 15, has been getting results and making changes in the world around her. Just watch the response she’s given in multiple debates in response to Trump’s repetitive claim that she’s done “nothing.” At the end of the day, she doesn’t need another impressive job title to be an incredibly successful and accomplished woman. So why run?
You can say what you want about Hillary, but she’s smart. No matter how many times Donald Trump suggests that her 30 years of public service were empty or bad experience, her track record speaks in defense of itself. Yet here she is, with her face printed on shirts that say “Trump that B*tch!,” having Republican politicians joke about people using their “second amendment rights to take care of her” and dabbing on Ellen to secure the young vote. She’s done everything short of literally jump through hoops in order to mobilize support from the American people, which, to me, seems ridiculous considering the fact that if this were a normal job with a normal hiring process, America-the-employer would basically be begging her to work for us. It seems, at this time, that with Trump as our only realistic alternative, we need Hillary more than she needs us.
Clinton already has money, power and a legacy. She could walk away right now and still have a more incredible career than 99 percent of people who ever set foot in Washington D.C. But here she is, taking constant harassment, smiling, shimmying and refusing to quit; there’s something that I find so interesting and admirable about that.
At the first presidential debate, the image of a qualified, well-prepared woman fighting hard against a less qualified, aggressive male opponent brought up a theme that is all too familiar to many women. Political pundits who searched for grounds on which to criticize Hillary said that she was too cold and calculated, which loosely translates to “she prepared a lot for this and knows her stuff, but we weren’t really feeling that vibe.” It also translates into a sad portrayal of how power and capability are viewed when a woman possesses them, but that’s a whole different conversation. This debate, the 39 times Trump interrupted her, and the post-debate commentary on her red pantsuit put things into focus. After seeing an intelligent woman take on a belligerent bully in front of millions of critical Americans, I started to see why Clinton — and many women like her — endure garbage fire campaigns and hammer away to break glass ceilings. They do this because this is what they have to do, and because this is the environment they must endure to achieve their potential. I’m glad there are women like Hillary who can take the heat, and who are more than capable of performing the positions they pursue. Whether other women support them or not, trailblazers like Clinton pave the way for all of us.
I get about 15 emails a day from her campaign that read “We’re getting desperate, Jacqueline,” “I need you, Jacqueline” and “Please believe!” I’m not joking, these are verbatim subject lines that someone at her campaign chose. The desperation in the Hillary camp’s efforts, while not unusual for a campaign that’s this close to election day, doesn’t match up to her qualifications, or to the fact that her opponent has relatively no experience or political competence. By almost all definitions of the word, Clinton is overqualified and a better choice than Trump. Still, we find ourselves highly uncertain of what tomorrow’s outcome will be.
Earlier this week I read a story in the Washington Post about a woman who was born before women gained the right to vote, who cast an early ballot for Hillary. Reading her story put a face and a more personal account of history behind the question of why Hillary is willing to put herself out there, and make herself so vulnerable in her quest to act as a public servant. In all of the commotion, the scandal and the outrage of this election, I (and many others) seldom get the chance to really pause and appreciate what might happen tomorrow. “History made” isn’t just a slogan, it’s a possibility. To be this close is exciting, whether she wins or not.
If women, and Americans in general, have to be represented by someone, I’m glad it’s likely to be Clinton, who’s tough as nails and smart as hell. Or to put it in the words of her own opponent, “She’s a fighter, she doesn’t quit, she doesn’t give up, and I consider that to be a very good trait.” For once during this campaign, I agree with Donald Trump.
Jacqueline Groskaufmanis is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Dissent appears alternate Mondays this semester.