White House of horrors: How did we get here?


Claudia Hanover

It’s easy to point fingers at those we disagree with. For me, that means constantly arguing on Twitter with right-wing, baby-boomer ‘MAGA’ lovers.

Does it get me anywhere? No. Does it make me feel a little better? Sure.

But where did these people come from in the first place? When I first started to pay attention to politics during the 2008 election, the most conservative figure I was aware of was Sarah Palin. Even as a 9-year-old, I could tell people took her as a joke. Tina Fey mocked her on Saturday Night Live, and suddenly, she was just the woman who could see Russia from her house. Then, soon after, Barack Obama was elected and all was well.

It isn’t 2008 anymore, though.

As I got older and progressively more interested in politics and policy, I noticed that nothing seemed as black and white as Sarah Palin anymore. Now, candidates who say ridiculous things, such as Trump claiming he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters,” garner more support and admiration. It was as if people who I didn’t know existed in our country, suddenly crawled up through the cracks in our society to support blatant misogyny, racism and incivility.

During the 2016 primary elections, I hoped for a Republican Trump nomination. I figured that any rational progressive opponent would beat him in a landslide, and the office would remain blue.

Then, Trump was nominated. Great. Then, he was elected. Oops.

Like me, many left-leaning Americans were complacent. We didn’t show up to vote because we wondered, how in the world did is there a possibility of losing to a guy that proposed a national registry for all Muslims living in the United States? We expected the election to be a layup.

A Trump supporter reading this may be snickering. I would be too, but take into consideration that I was actually correct earlier in this piece when I said that any rational progressive opponent would beat Trump. Hillary Clinton was neither rational nor progressive.

It’s now October 2018. Why am I choosing to write this two years after the election?

People may say that Hillary lost, and we should all get over it. Well, this past Sunday in a CBS interview, she was asked whether or not her husband’s affair with former intern Monica Lewinsky was an abuse of power. Hillary responded by saying that there was no abuse of power because Lewinsky “was an adult” and that he should “absolutely not” have had to resign.

This short answer in a small part of one interview shows exactly why she lost to the most unpresidential candidate in history. While Hillary pretended to be the progressive Democrat that the country wanted, it was easy to see through her façade. She’s an out-of-touch, internalized misogynist with an anything but progressive past.

I could go into her political history for hours and vent about her mistreatment of marginalized groups, such as the black and LGBTQ communities, until she figured they were popular enough to support. But I mainly want to focus in on this single interview, two years after her election loss. Why do two short little quotes say so much?

Even the least intersectional feminists could tell you that the #MeToo movement allows women to share stories of sexual assault and harassment that aren’t explicitly defined under legal rape standards, and to hold those (usually powerful) abusers accountable. Hillary, though, seems to think that as long as there is consent and adulthood among both parties, claims of power abuse are false.

Monica Lewinsky was a 24-year-old intern who was involved with the 51-year-old President of the United States, Bill Clinton. If I could, I would give Hillary this hypothetical situation: should a high school teacher be able to have relations with a 17-year-old student in the state of New York, where Hillary and I happen to live? They are both legally consenting adults, so why not?

In this scenario, it may be a little more obvious. We each hold some level of power over others and have power held over us — whether it be based on age, occupational position or any other factor that includes the leverage of incentive or punishment.

When a teacher has control over students’ grades, relations between the two would be an abuse of power. When a president controls the positions of all staffers in his or her White House, relations with an intern would be an abuse of power. Like most discussions regarding consent, this seems to be pretty clear.

With her hypocritical position, Hillary proves to conservatives, progressives and moderates alike that many establishment Democrats, like her, don’t understand the mindsets of most Americans, and will never succeed as true progressives.

Claudia Hanover, ’21, is a columnist for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected].

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  1. think the democratic party will run people other than rich old white people? think the dnc will actually come up with ideas and proposed legislation which will attract middle america? until then party seems to be the party of emotion and hysterics and not moving voters. i belive gop will keep the house and senate. gop will lose 13 seats in house and pickup 3+ seats in the senate (meaning there will be no mod goper so keep far right judges from being confirmed). a big reason why dems won’t as well as expected is because the dnc will spend $70M in a loss to cruz and then run old white people in so many other races. dnc is not putting resources in races where there is a chance to move the needle because it is betting so much on beto.

    1.5mm gop voted in TX primary
    1mm dems voted in TX primary
    who do you think will win the general election, why spend $70mm on beto…you you can lose Heidi in Montana on a reelection?

    gop trumpers will beat dems again across the board and most of the reason the smaller party, the gop, will hold off the larger party, the dnc, is that the current dem leadership needs an overhaul – that process will start after the blue wave does not materialize. see what happens to pelosi and the other old white leaders.

    • current student on

      Hey don’t forget Pocahontas! She’s a minority woman, I really hope the dems nominate her for their minority quotas. That would be a field day for the right. Hopefully the dems follow through with Warren and we can keep the winning from 2020-2024+

      • Amy Charles '89 on

        So let’s see: racist, homophobic, generally hysterical, has a dad who graduated in ’84. If you really are a current student, this shouldn’t be that hard. Could probably brute-force it in a few hours, ’84 wouldn’t have more than about 500 male graduating seniors.

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