Feminist Voting

Katie Lasswell ‘17, Opinion Editor

With the presidential candidates being plastered on every form of media available to their campaigns, it would be very difficult to ignore the fact that far too many people have tossed their cap into the ring for the Republican nomination against the two candidates vying to be the Democratic nominee. As a registered Democrat, I’m trying to make my decision between Clinton and Sanders come time for the Pennsylvania primary on April 26.

All of the candidates are still in the stage of making promises to Americans to try to sway as many voters to their side as possible before they go head to head with the nominee of the opposing party. And promises are awesome and inspiring – it would be great if Sanders could lower college tuition or if Clinton could get the country moving strong toward renewable energy sources, but is any of that actually feasible in four to eight years?

But truly, my current hardest struggle in choosing for whom I will vote for is the gender issue. I would love more than anything to have a woman in the highest position of our country. It is very difficult to be optimistic about how things are getting better for women without having something visible to point to. I can’t imagine myself telling my future daughter that she can be anything she wants when anything does not actually seem to be within our grasp.

But is Clinton’s societally assigned gender enough of a reason to vote for her? She certainly is qualified, having a long political career and seeing all different aspects of the political machine that is our government. I don’t think that she would do any worse than anyone who has previously held the office, but shouldn’t we all be asking for who will do better?

I’m not convinced that Sanders will do better, but I do often find myself aligning more to his ideals and goals for this country than to those of Clinton. Does that make me a bad feminist for not supporting Clinton because of how badly we need a woman as president to prove that we have made progress?

Recently, Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright told young women like myself that we should be ashamed for even thinking of supporting Sanders over Clinton, that we need to get in line with what feminism has been working toward for so many generations. I firmly believe that these women, these icons for the cause to better the position of women in our culture, made an irreparable mistake by going to this kind of tactic to gain women’s support for Clinton. If anything, they have done the work of convincing me that Clinton is not who I want for the first female president.

If they feel the need to employ fear tactics in order to garner support for Clinton’s campaign, there is something wrong with her platform. The causes she supports and the goals she has for the country if she were to be elected should be able to speak for themselves. But so far, that has yet to be enough for the Clinton campaign. I should not have to be scared into voting for her by women I have long looked up to because the ultimate goal of feminism should be getting a female president, no matter if Clinton is actually the right person for the job or not.

I understand their concern – if we don’t succeed if getting a woman into the Oval Office in this election, how long will we have to wait for another opportunity like this to come along? However, this country can no longer limp along with the status quo; and I feel that Clinton will do whatever she can to hold the whole situation still so she can simply be the first female president rather than being the best leader she could actually be.  As desperate as the feminist in me is to have a woman as President of the United States, I’m not sure that Clinton is the candidate that will move our nation forward.