Gabriel Schoenfeld writes: … for all her failures on the truth front, Clinton is not a congenital liar like Trump, who spouts falsehoods without compunction or, seemingly, even awareness. Rather, she engages in what conservatives like me would call progressive prevarication. Like so many on the left, she sees herself as both a paragon and an agent of virtue. As such, she uninhibitedly bends the rules and stretches the truth to advance her own career and causes. This leads her critics to paint her as a practiced liar, but in her own mind she is always telling a higher truth. Wrongdoing mixed with self-righteousness naturally elicits a special kind of fury.
But not all the hatred is kindled by Clinton herself. Even as first lady, her activist role fueled attacks on her hairstyle, her pantsuits and her voice, all of which evolved into a set of shopworn memes deriving from her gender. The fact that she gained political ascendance by riding piggyback on her husband’s career has added energy to the sex-based enmity. Today, her status as the first female presidential nominee for a major party has turned this stream into a river.
It has not helped that Clinton’s candidacy occurs during a period when traditional concepts of marriage and gender identity are being overturned. As radical changes in this most sensitive realm are introduced — in some instances with the force of law — anxieties are boiling over. As a female politician visibly identified with the social transformation, Clinton is a locus of the backlash.
Trump, for his part, has been riding that backlash toward power. Misogyny is what he traffics in, and he is not alone. Indeed, his frank expressions of contempt for women — and Clinton as a living symbol of female political power — are an intrinsic part of his appeal to the non-college educated white men who form the core of his constituency. It is unsurprising that the cohort most insecure in the new social order is the one whose members most loudly chant “lock her up” at rallies and sport “Hillary for prison” bumper stickers on their cars. [Continue reading…]