Finding silver linings in Trump presidency hard but critical work
American women have minds of their own -- and Michelle Obama isn't happy about it
Michelle Obama left the White House with a favorability rating of 68 percent, which was 10 points higher than her husband. Americans appreciated the first lady, who they saw as a good wife and mother, an advocate for worthy causes such as children's health and as a positive role model, particularly for girls and young women.
Such a popular figure could do a tremendous amount of good today if she directed her attention to bringing people together by finding common ground and advancing important causes. That's why it's such a shame that she is instead pushing people farther apart and fomenting partisanship at its worst.
In recent days, Obama belittled all women who failed to vote for Hillary Clinton during the last election, saying: "Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice." She claimed that she wasn't concerned about how this affected Clinton, but what it meant for women themselves who "like the thing (they're) told to like."
What an amazingly paternalistic and insulting view of women.
Rather than recognizing that women, like men, consider a variety of factors when deciding whom to support for president - that some actually believe that government has grown so large as to make life harder for people to succeed and want policy reforms to limit government - Obama suggests that women who stray from the Democratic fold must be dupes. The implication is that the interests and solidarity of women as a sex should supersede all other considerations, allowing for no other diversity of thought.
Obama doesn't seem to recognize that such a deterministic view of women is the antithesis of true respect for individuality and diversity. Accepting that men will choose candidates based on policy agendas, experience and character, while expecting women to vote simply for the candidate that shares their gender, is a rather sexist view of women.
And American women know it. They recognize that the left's feminist movement isn't truly interested in hearing from them or listening to their concerns. Instead, they are in the business of advancing a specific political agenda, and don't want to acknowledge the existence of women who don't think like them. That's why the traditional feminist left has been struggling and is increasingly marginalized.
Michelle Obama may dismiss women who failed to vote for Hillary as robots operating under the influence of men, but in fact the opposite is true. Overwhelming, women were told to like Hillary. The message from the media, from political leaders like President Obama, and dominate popular culture was that women had no choice but to vote for Hillary. Yet millions didn't.
First, millions of women in the Democratic party rejected their feminist marching orders and calls for female solidarity to support Bernie Sanders during the primary. And then 4-out-of-10 American women choose to cast their vote for Trump, rather than Clinton, during the general election, in spite a hysterical media that insisted that he was entirely unacceptable.
American voters, including women, rejected the group think that was forced upon them. In fact, distaste for the left's attempts to demonize those with alternative political preferences was a driver of support for Trump. Many Americans are simply tired of having liberal politicians, along with academia and the mainstream media, declare that their beliefs are out-of-bounds.
They saw attempts to paint all conservative reforms as a "War on Women" for what it was: politics at its worst. They recognize that it's an attempt to intimidate the other side to stop engaging in debate by threatening to publicly portray them as sexists or worst. President Trump won supporters simply by calling out this tactic, and refusing to be cowed.
American women have no obligation to support female candidates or the Democratic Party. Their support has to be earned, just like candidates must earn the votes of men. Michelle Obama and her party allies would be wise to stop pigeonholing women and appreciate women's true diversity of thoughts and interests before the next election.