On Thursday, former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke out about some of her critics, and she didn't mince words in expressing her displeasure. Specifically, Clinton denounced people telling her to "shut up" after her 2016 election loss, arguing that people haven't made that demand of defeated male nominees.
Clinton was speaking at Rutgers University on Thursday afternoon, and it's pretty clear that she hasn't taken kindly to those people who've told her to be quiet in the months following her Electoral College loss. With her arm in a cast following a fracture she recently suffered in India, she responded to all the people who want her to leave the national stage.
In front of an assembled crowd, the director of Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, Ruth Mandel, put the question to Clinton directly. Namely, she asked why Clinton continues to speak out while so many people are urging her to "get off the stage and shut up."
"I was really struck by how people said that to me — you know, mostly people in the press, for whatever reason — mostly, ‘Go away, go away,'" Clinton replied, according to The Hill. "I had one of the young people who works for me go back and do a bit of research. They never said that to any man who was not elected. I was kind of struck by that."
Despite losing the Electoral College by way of Trump victories in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. She's the second Democratic nominee to lose the presidency despite winning the popular vote since 2000, joining former Vice President Al Gore.
Clinton has been the subject of a great amount of scrutiny and criticism throughout her political career, much of it heavily gendered in nature. She's the first woman to ever win the nomination of one of the two major American political parties, and despite getting nearly 66 million votes compared to President Donald Trump's nearly 63 million, the state-by-state distribution of those votes left her as the runner-up.
Thanks in part to a highly divisive 2016 Democratic primary season, in which Clinton was unsuccessfully challenged from the left by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, there's been a great amount of antipathy between the center-left and far-left regarding Clinton's legacy.
Many political observers, including some columnists for major publications, have argued it would be in the Democratic Party's best interests for Clinton to fade from the spotlight. It's even been reported that some party insiders are eager for her to stop speaking out on national politics, owing to her still-low polling numbers. As of last the end of last year, Gallup measured her approval rating at just 36 percent, even lower than Trump's, who was historically unpopular throughout his first year in office.
Many of Clinton's supporters, however, have expressed frustration with that suggestion, and have viewed it as a sexist double-standard as compared to previous male nominees. Notably, Vanity Fair drew outrage from Clinton loyalists late last year after producing a video which suggested, in part, that she take up knitting in 2018 rather than consider another run for political office.
Needless to say, it appears that Clinton has heard the people calling for her to be silent, and she isn't letting that notion go unchallenged. And regardless of what her critics say, she clearly isn't interested in staying silent ― she's spoken out with increasingly regularity about her views on Trump and how the 2016 race went down, most prominently in her bestselling 2017 campaign memoir, What Happened.
It's unclear whether Clinton will ever actually jump back into a run for office ― following her loss in 2016, it was broadly assumed she would retire from elected politics. But at age 70, she remains younger than some of her male contemporaries who might be involved in the 2020 presidential election, like 75-year-old former Vice President Joe Biden, the 76-year-old Sanders, and Trump himself, who is 71.
Disclosure: Hillary Clinton's son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky joined Social Capital, an investor in Bustle Digital Group, in mid 2017 and joined the Board of Bustle Digital Group in early 2018.