How Hillary Clinton lost her feminist base (and her credibility)

At a campaign event for Hillary Clinton this month in Manchester, N.H., Lena Dunham, creator and star of the HBO series, “Girls” made the following pronouncement: “The way [Hillary Clinton] has been treated is just more evidence of the fact that our country has so much hatred toward successful women.”

It’s a classic feminist argument: Anyone who doesn’t support a female Democrat must hate women.     That something else is at play may be just too hard to face. But face it we must, for this year feminists have a real problem on their hands: how to square their love of Hillary with the double standard she espouses regarding victims of sexual assault.

Poor Ms. Dunham is in a pickle herself. According to The New York Times, a few months ago at a dinner party on the Upper East Side, Ms. Dunham reportedly expressed “conflicted” feelings about her feminist hero. “She told the guests, at the Park Avenue apartment of Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, that she was disturbed by how, in the 1990s, the Clintons and their allies discredited women who said they had had sexual encounters with or been sexually assaulted by former President Bill Clinton.”

This same unease has been brewing among Americans of all political stripes. “A couple of weeks ago, [Hillary Clinton] brought up [sexual assault] in a speech, and she said, ‘People, women who are victims of sexual assaults, should be believed until disproved,” Rand Paul noted recently. “And there have been many who have accused Bill Clinton of these same sort of activities.”

Indeed, and where were Hillary’s sympathies then? Not with her husband’s accusers, that’s for sure.

Americans cannot take seriously a person who talks out of both sides of her mouth. Make up your mind, Mrs. Clinton: Does “every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported,” as you claim? Or does this only apply to women who aren’t Bill’s victims? Women who you believe are part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy”?

It’s not Bill’s womanizing that’s eroding Mrs. Clinton’s appeal. She’s doing that all by herself.

Anyone who espouses sympathy for female victims of sexual harassment while being married to a sexual predator, and at the same time throws stones at Donald Trump for being sexist, can’t be trusted.

Even if Mrs. Clinton doesn’t condone her husband’s conduct, and let’s assume she doesn’t, she can never remove herself from the equation.

Trump fired back at a recent attack by Mrs. Clinton by calling her an “enabler.” She’s more than that, of course—she’s a fraud. And she could care less about the women of America. She simply uses her feminist base to get what she wants. And that, at the end of the day, is power.

But even feminists are distancing themselves now. Americans will put up with a lot from their politicians, but they do not want to be duped.

And that’s what a vote for Clinton means.

Suzanne Venker is an author, a cultural critic. She tackles a range of subjects surrounding marriage and the family, including the infamous gender wars. Her most recent book is “The Two-Income Trap: Why Parents Are Choosing to Stay Home.” To learn more about Suzanne, visit her website. Follow her on

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