The Line About Clinton Everyone Should Consider

On Monday night, the Associated Press announced that Hillary Clinton is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, having gained enough delegates and superdelegates to clinch the nomination before Tuesday's primaries even began. The fight between Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders has been a contentious one, but if you're a political progressive, it's important not to lose sight of some of the great, potentially historic aspects of each candidate. As such, here's one line about Hillary that should convince anyone that her presumptive nomination for president represents a great moment for women's rights.

To be clear, this is not to say that you have to be excited about Clinton's victory over Sanders ― the two have deep and significant differences on policy, and very different records and leadership styles, and the further-left Sanders has been a stimulating force among progressives of various stripes, countless of them women. While Clinton would obviously be the first woman to serve as President of the United States, it'd be condescending to suggest that all women must support her explicitly for that reason.

That said, anybody who does want to vote for her, even if solely for that reason, is entirely justified in doing so. The United States is still waiting to elect our first woman president and break a dismal chain of gender-based exclusion, just as it was waiting to elect our first black president in 2008. And in a world thick with institutionalized sexism and endless excuses, every opportunity to do so could be the last for a long while. As such, this comment Clinton made during the debate (although it doesn't need to specifically be about fathers) rings very true.

And yes, finally, fathers will be able to say to their daughters, "you too can grow up to be president.:

While it's impossible to forecast out how their respective administrations would have behaved, you could make the case that there might not be a single bigger distinction between what a Sanders America and a Clinton America would looks like domestically than this basic, historic fact of Clinton's candidacy. Not because having a woman president would suddenly dispel sexism in America ― no more than President Obama's election brought about an end to racism. That's not how the world works.

But considering the willingness the GOP has shown to obstruct the Democratic agenda at every turn over the last eight years, sometimes despite Herculean efforts by Obama to craft workable compromises, you could easily imagine the impact of a Sanders presidency, intent aside, looking strikingly similar to a Clinton one. Not necessarily on foreign policy grounds ― they're very different there, to be sure, and Clinton is more hawkish than many progressives are comfortable with.


But in terms of how the country looks and exists from within, there's a chance you wouldn't even notice too many huge differences ― unless you actually think the GOP will be steamrolled into cooperating on single-payer health care, for example, or that Sanders would have actually been able to mobilize the political capital needed to break up the major Wall Street banks. With the entire Republican Party plainly aligned against these goals, I wouldn't necessarily hold my breath.

But one very tangible difference you'd see in Clinton's America is, well, just what she said at that debate. The girls and young women of America will get to grow up seeing a woman lead the country (and effectively the world), breaking a very conspicuous streak of 43 consecutive male presidents. You might think it sounds like pandering, but it's true, and it's important. It's a moral necessity that America breaks this boundary, eventually and it's as good, fair, and legitimate a reason to be excited about her candidacy as any.