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Why Americans just can't quit Hillary Clinton

Two seemingly contradictory recent Gallup Poll findings sum up what it means to be a woman in the United States who d...

Posted: Jan 2, 2018 1:20 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2018 1:20 PM

Two seemingly contradictory recent Gallup Poll findings sum up what it means to be a woman in the United States who dares to go where only men have gone before: Americans love to think of talented, ambitious women who have overcome obstacles - but the reality of a woman assuming a position of power, particularly over men? That's not welcome.

According to a Gallup finding in early December, Hillary Clinton's favorability rating has never been lower, having fallen to 36%, more than a year after she lost the presidency to a man who had no discernible skills for the job. But in another Gallup Poll, just a few weeks later, she was named as the woman Americans admire most -- for the 16th consecutive time.

In sum, she is subject to a curse that affects too many women in 21st century America: Americans admire but don't much like her. We frequently and consistently elect and hire men to lead us on the biggest stages even if we don't like them, even if they are uncouth, even if they are unqualified. But for women seeking the highest office, talent isn't enough; neither is accomplishment.

And thus far, no one has discovered the precise formula that will make a woman palatable for enough Americans to break the country's shameful streak of never having chosen a woman as head of state.

This disturbing aversion is also why nearly a century after women began gaining the right to vote, we've had so few female governors and US senators and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (no matter how qualified the women who have sought such offices). It is why Donald Trump, with historically low approval ratings, sits in the Oval Office as the most powerful person in the free world and is considered the second-most admired man -- behind only Barack Obama, one year removed from his presidency, who nonetheless topped this year's Gallup Poll for the 10th time.

More telling from Gallup is how Hillary Clinton stacks up against her own husband, whose favorability rating this year is 45%, a drop from 50% last year.

That's right. In the age of #MeToo -- when a male Democratic senator like Al Franken, popular with men and women, can be forced to give up his US Senate seat because of allegations of fondling women before he was in office -- Bill Clinton is still seen in a more favorable light than Hillary Clinton, despite his having been accused of sexual assault before he was president (which he denies) and abusing his power when he had an illicit relationship with a White House intern while he was the president.

In one sense, the fate of Hillary Clinton is similar to that of ambitious members of any historically under-represented group. Their ability to overcome enormous odds is used as evidence that the country is fair and equal, just as long as they don't rise high enough to upset the status quo and come to embody real change.

(An example of this is political conservatives in the United States praising Iranian protesters this week for rising up to challenge authorities over longstanding grievances, even as these same conservatives have chided protesters in US towns and cities for committing similar acts of property violence over civil rights abuses. The message: Iranian protesters are not a threat to the American status quo; black and brown American protesters are.)

But in another sense, these Gallup findings illustrate a struggle unique to women, given that Obama was able to twice win the presidency and remains popular; he's a man, after all. His status quo-breaking accomplishments likely fueled the backlash that gave us President Trump. But Hillary Clinton -- like women before her -- has been unable to break the still highest, hardest glass ceiling.

When Hillary Clinton was a US senator, she was praised for her intelligence, broad knowledge of the issues, abilities and willingness to work across party lines. She was well liked -- but was only one of 100 in the chamber. Americans liked her as secretary of state, too -- but she was reporting to a man.

Elevating Clinton, or any woman, to an office in which every man would have to report to her has been a bridge too far for the entirety of American history. For that, we should be ashamed.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 33558

Reported Deaths: 2110
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9616571
Lake3538185
Cass15897
Allen145168
St. Joseph124834
Elkhart116328
Hendricks116171
Hamilton115693
Johnson1093108
Madison58559
Porter51627
Bartholomew50034
Clark49241
LaPorte42423
Howard39526
Tippecanoe3903
Jackson3791
Delaware37736
Shelby36822
Hancock32728
Floyd31839
Boone30935
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2652
Montgomery23517
White2318
Decatur22431
Clinton2231
Noble21121
Grant20621
Harrison19221
Dubois1923
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Dearborn16621
Vigo1648
Lawrence15423
Miami1411
Putnam1367
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Scott1193
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Carroll922
Marshall901
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Newton7710
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Washington521
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Starke363
Sullivan341
Owen341
Brown331
DeKalb331
Perry310
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Knox290
Wells280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Crawford240
Blackford242
Fountain202
Switzerland200
Spencer191
Parke170
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0164

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 117455

Reported Deaths: 5270
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook762663570
Lake8063287
DuPage7543362
Kane6188170
Will5442269
Winnebago215654
McHenry151471
St. Clair109179
Kankakee87144
Kendall76919
Rock Island64624
Champaign6177
Madison56558
Boone42817
DeKalb3924
Sangamon34629
Jackson26810
Randolph2674
McLean21713
Peoria2128
Ogle2023
Stephenson1992
Macon19519
Clinton18117
Union1519
LaSalle14713
Whiteside13512
Iroquois1314
Coles12514
Unassigned1250
Out of IL1191
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox970
Grundy952
Monroe9411
McDonough878
Lee791
Cass710
Tazewell714
Henry680
Williamson642
Pulaski510
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry420
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan351
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Menard210
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Woodford192
Mason180
Washington180
Mercer170
Hancock160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
Bond121
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Moultrie110
Brown100
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Logan100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Effingham71
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
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