Justice Politics US Election

Will Women Be Doomed under a “Post-Gender” Hillary Presidency?

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When America’s first black president, Barack Obama, was elected, many Americans speculated about a “post-racial” or “colour-blind” country. Had America purged itself of the system of laws that worked to keep minorities down? Well, it was a nice thought but African-Americans are worse off under Obama’s presidency. His presidency is more symbolic than substantive because systemic racial inequality persists.

With the 2016 general election around the corner, there’s a good chance Hillary will be elected into office. Many women are understandably excited about a woman as president. However, Obama and Hillary are so similar that it is well worth discussing how women would be likely to fare under a Hillary presidency.

To project the outcomes of a hypothetical America with Hillary in the Oval office, it is important to note the similarities between Obama and Clinton. To start, they’re cut from the same political ‘threads’. Their similar pro-corporate policies and voting records are always in accordance with the demands of their donors. They fundraise similarly. The wealthiest Americans have contributed millions of dollars to both of their campaigns. Forbes reports that George Soros, Marc Benioff, and Marc Lasry are among their top donors. None of these donors are particularly malevolent but all three top donors worked in industries, like banking and federal agencies, that need serious regulation to help fix ailing industries. Obama didn’t regulate these industries and Hillary is equally incentivised to maintain the status quo.

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In fact, the Center for Responsive Politics discovered that in 2008 Obama raised $15 million from big banks and $8 million from Wall Street. The same big banks and Wall Street companies who were handed billions of taxpayer money in Obama’s infamous bailout. The parties guilty of crashing the economy by fraudulently selling loans and then gambling on those bad loans were rewarded: not jailed. It would be ludicrous to believe millions of dollars in donations didn’t secure Obama’s Wall Street and big bank bailout. A redistribution from the poorest taxpayers occurred. The banks that made their money gambling were in effect rewarded for it at the cost of the people already struggling to survive. Many of those were minorities who unfortunately weren’t in a position to contribute millions to Obama’s campaigns.

In America, wealth is often tied to land. So, it’s important to identify why minorities have less wealth. The practice of “redlining” ensured minorities were denied housing loans, which forced them to rent or buy in urban cities. Redlining is especially evident in the National Housing Act of 1934. This policy led to the creation and extension of urban “ghettos” while allowing the descendants of white landowners to inherit land, and thus, inherit wealth. Redlining is outlawed today but its effects contributed to the current wealth gap between whites and minorities. For example, funding for public schools is based on property taxes. African-Americans often have little money for public schools and black children’s education and opportunity suffered. White kids generally have more money for their public schools. They got better educations and more opportunities than minority children. Instead of focusing on getting kids back on track, Obama focused on getting Wall Street back on track.

A number of other disastrous policies have disproportionately affected minorities. The ‘war on drugs’, the ‘war on crime’, the ‘war on terror’ all wreaked havoc on minority communities. Obama was expected to take a leadership role in dismantling America’s deeply racist policies. This has not been the case. Racism still exists and little has changed despite America electing its first black president. Similarly, gender discrimination will persist if Hillary wins the 2016 general election.

In 2014, Paul Kaufman of Raw Story quoted Cornel West, an American civil rights leader, activist, and author:

[…] Black America in the age of Obama has been one of desperation, confusion, and capitulation. The desperation is rooted in the escalating suffering on every front. The confusion arises from a conflation of symbol and substance. The capitulation rests on an obsessive need to protect the first Black president against all forms of criticism.

The Obama presidency […] has been primarily a Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, mass surveillance presidency unwilling to concretely target the new Jim Crow, massive unemployment, and other forms of poor and Black social misery. His major effort to focus on poor Black men was charity and philanthropy — not justice or public policy.

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A summary of Black America under Obama’s Presidency:

  • By 2012, black students attended worse schools. (Pew Research Center and the Brookings Institute)

  • Half of black children born poor stay poor. (Pew Research Center and the Brookings Institute)

  • Most middle class black children are ‘downwardly mobile’. (Pew Research Center and the Brookings Institute)

  • A single parent heads most black households. (Pew Research Center and the Brookings Institute)

  • African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% detained youth; 46% youth judicially waived to criminal court; and 58% incarcerated youth. (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice)

  • In 2015, about 75% of prisoners for drug crimes were minorities. (Sentencing Project)

Note: This is not to say that minorities are inherently criminal. Discriminatory policing is a huge contributing factor. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that whites are just as likely to commit use drugs at approximately the same rates.

  • In May 2015, Black unemployment rate was 10.2 per capita – almost double the rate of white unemployment. (Bureau of Labour Statistics)

  • Youth African-American unemployment is a staggering 51%. (Economic Policy Institute)

  • In 2012, black infant mortality rate was 11.5 per every 1000 babies, which is double that of white infants. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • Thirty years ago, black men in the United States lived to 75 years of age. Presently, the average life expectancy of black men is 71 years old. Not only have black life expectancies declined, they are about five years below white life expectancies. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • In 2015, African-American child poverty rate was 39%. White children living in poverty was about half that. (KIDS COUNT report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation)

Clearly, the notion of black success symbolised by a black president is a ruse. Black America is worse off under Obama. It follows that American women are also likely to be similarly left behind under a Hillary presidency.

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The United Nations’ summary of American Women’s status as of December 2015:

  • The US committed to ratify CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. America hasn’t ratified CEDAW.

  • The US Constitution still doesn’t explicitly protect women’s rights. Therefore, women are not protected from inequalities under federal law. The UN report also noted that there was a disparity in American rhetoric that portrays women as more equal than they really are.

  • There is no universal paid maternity leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 offers woefully inadequate paid maternity leave.

  • Accessible reproductive care was also difficult to come by, even with the Affordable Care Act. At least women aren’t still legally required to pay higher premiums than men.

  • Equal opportunity was also lacking for American women. There are few women CEOs at the corporate level. The Small Business Administration gave less than 10% of small business loans to women.

  • A 21% pay gap exists between men and women. For minority women, the gap is even higher. It follows that men and women’s pensions are also unequal.

  • Most domestic workers are women. They are often minorities. Domestic workers often suffer from wage theft and are more vulnerable to verbal and physical abuse than any other type of worker.

  • The number of women in poverty increased from 12.1% to 14.5%.

  • More women live in poverty than men.

  • Women are largely underrepresented in politics. On average, women occupy 24.9% of state and federal legislatures.

  • The subprime mortgage crisis disproportionately affected poor women. Obama spent billions bailing out the same banks and Wall Street executives who caused the crisis while at the same time government expenditures to help poor women were decimated.

Clearly, American women still have a long way to go. Will voting for the first woman president get women the equality they so desperately want? The answer is a resounding, “NO”!

GOP lawmakers must be voted out before any real change occurs. Hillary simply doesn’t mobilize voters in the way she needs to if she were to have a significant chance of undoing anti-women policies. Hundreds of anti-abortion bills that targeted women’s reproductive rights have been proposed and many have passed. The GOP has also continuously voted down equal pay legislation.

Women shouldn’t expect much change under her presidency because she is beholden to her donors, just like Obama was. As well as Wall Street and the banks, her major donors include defence contractors, private prisons, health insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies. These donors make money from keeping people poor, locked into bad loans with high interest rates, in prison, fighting dangerous wars, keeping them sick, and then denying them health coverage.

America has already seen Hillary-style politics and it will not equalise the genders. As Secretary of State, Clinton repeatedly chose to continue conflicts (see war). In an explosive International Business Times piece, the Clinton Foundation was discovered to have received millions of dollars in donations from defence contractors and countries, which both received US arms contracts. Seventeen of the twenty countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation received US arms contracts that were authorized by Hillary Clinton’s State department. In other words, she condoned and cheerleaded for more war because her foundation received money from entities that make money off of war.

Wars notoriously burden women, especially when their husbands are off fighting unwinnable wars. This is not to detract from the brave fighting abroad. The effects of war are evident in family lives as well. For example, when women must take the head of the household during times of their husbands’ absence, they are sent off to participate in a work force that keeps their wages stagnant. Bosses repeatedly pass up women for promotions. Also, women are often primary caretakers when veterans return from combat with serious injuries. War burdens everyone, including women.

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Hillary has been justly criticised for the speaking fees she’s received from big banks, like Goldman Sachs. She received $675,000 for three speeches from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup has donated $779,427 to Hillary according to Opensecrets.org. Both Citigroup and Goldman Sachs received bailouts under the Obama administration. This is legalised bribery. Hillary would never regulate big banks to any significant degree. Remember, it was her husband who repealed Glass-Steagall, which lifted the ban on speculation with depositor money and largely contributed to the 2008 financial crash. Hillary often boasts of her pre-crash lecture to Wall Street when she told them to, “Cut it out”! Without regulation, the economy crashed, anyway. The only way to get Wall Street under control is to regulate it. But since the Clintons are a team it’s highly unlikely she’d reinstate a policy that her husband repealed.

Hillary stood by her husband’s side through thick and thin. Though she received unwarranted criticism for her husband’s extramarital affairs, she rightly deserves criticism for supporting Bill Clinton’s disastrous policies. For example, the three-strikes laws that led to an explosion of mass incarceration in the 90’s. She supported Bill’s policies and took money from the largest private prison corporations, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group. In essence, CCA and GEO donated to Hillary to ensure the business of incarcerating continues and profits grow. Criticisms of Bill Clinton’s policies are warranted because Hillary supported them. Lest, there be a discussion of the prison labour used to produce everyday goods. America was built on the backs of slaves and continues on the backs of prisoners. It would be a disservice not to highlight the deplorable way money runs Washington. Additionally, more women are incarcerated now than ever before and the missing young black and brown men that are locked away and unable to provide for their families have disproportionately burdened women of colour.

Hillary denounced the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby, where five justices upheld Shareholder’s rights to impose their religious beliefs on their employees by denying women the right to contraceptive coverage as part of a health care plan. Clinton’s distaste for the decision would be more believable if she advocated for universal healthcare. Her donors include Pfizer, the Procter & Gamble Co., Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and Humana Inc. These companies don’t benefit from universal healthcare. They lose money through universal healthcare because they won’t have a monopoly on the health care and pharmaceutical industry and will no longer be able to dictate pharmaceutical and medical services. Therefore, it would be very unlikely Hillary would push to overturn Hobby Lobby and women will continue to be burdened literally for being women!

The most stunning example of conflating symbol with substance is when Wal-Mart, in the midst of defending itself in the largest US case of gender discrimination, hired Hillary to sit on the Board of Directors. Working conditions for women didn’t change after she was hired. It is very clear that Hillary was hired to give the appearance of gender equality for female Wal-Mart workers. Low-level female employees continued to face gender discrimination in the workplace.

Oh, and here’s the icing on the cake. She paid her female senate employees less than male employees. The Washington Free Beacon compiled the information below:

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[Image Credit: FreeBeacon.com]

Hillary’s donors benefit from keeping women, among others, down-and-out. America is ready for a female president but America should wait for Elizabeth Warren, or any true progressive. A Hillary presidency would make it harder for women to articulate why they have a harder time earning equality in the eyes of the law and in the work place. In her heart of hearts, Hillary probably hopes for full gender equality but she has spent her life making choices that benefited her career at the cost of her beliefs. Those kinds of choices don’t warrant a seat in the Oval Office.

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