The many aspects of one’s life aids in the creation of an identity. The way an individual defines themselves showcases what matters in his or her life. Religion, gender, employment, and more recently political affiliations have facilitated in determining one’s identity. The term identity politics supports this idea of an identity being associated with a political party. More recently within history, choosing a political party to support does not necessarily need to coincide with what you believe in but focuses more on the person that you think you are.
In other words, the idea of identity politics focuses on the idea of supporting a group not for the message that the candidates preach but instead the social group in which people identify with. In modern political history, identity politics has made its way into the past couple presidential elections. While having a bias over a certain candidate may not always be the most reasonable but in the case of Hilary Clinton in the 2016 election, her supporters mostly being female is defensible.
For many females, Clinton was able to give women a voice and was seen as an advocate for all of the female endeavors throughout history. On the contrary, there are many disagreements to go against the reasoning behind the immense female support and to showcase all of the wrong within identity politics. To sum, Clinton provided females with a sense of hope which is why she gained so many females devotees; however, after her defeat, Clinton and her female supporters were equally disappointed, and the loss had an impact on the female community.
The large amount of female support for Hilary Clinton in the past presidential elections stems down to the large amount of oppression that females have faced. Over the course of American and world history, women have faced oppression in almost every aspect of life. In roughly every culture, females are seen as less powerful compared to males. This has created an undeniable hierarchy between the two sexes. The demand for equality officially began in 1848, when 300 women and men signed the Declaration of Sentiments at Seneca Falls wanting an end to the segregation and discrimination against women. Before this, women were treated poorly and only seen as the caretaker of the home. Their main duties involved caring for the family, child bearing, cooking, and cleaning. On the other hand, the role of the man was to support the family economically. Many females have stood up for this cause and have started a feminist movement to gain female power. Activists such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were some of the first females to share their voice and to speak on behalf of the entire female community demanding for more rights and equality of the sexes.
This new wave of feminism also created the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869 which further expanded and strengthened the fight. The goal of this organization was to fight for an amendment that granted women with the right to vote. Earlier that same year, the 15th amendment was established allowing black men the right to vote. This change added fuel to the fire and inspired many females to keep fighting for their cause. In 1869, Wyoming territory was the first to grant females twenty-one and over the right to vote. This again motivated members of the National Woman Suffrage Association to keep fighting for their goal. Eventually, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho implemented this right. By 1918, approximately seventeen more states and territories permitted women to share their voice and were allowed to cast their ballot in elections.
Numerous speeches, parades, walks, meetings, and various other forms of demonstrations eventually caught the eye of President Woodrow Wilson and other government officials over the course of the long fight that the women have sustained. During these events to raise awareness for women’s right, many females were injured or served jail time. Despite the pain and the loss of time that some of these women endured, all felt that it was a necessary inconvenience in order to reach their end goal. In 1918, Wilson showed female support foreshadowing the end to the female injustices.
One of the most important break throughs for female rights is the right for females to vote. Voting allows for people to have their voice heard and to be a part of a change. To emphasize, one of the greatest gifts about living in the United States and having a government based off of elections is being able to share an opinion on the issues effecting both males and females. Almost one hundred years of fighting finally granted US women the right to vote. On August 26, 1920, Females were permitted the right to vote under the addition of the 19th amendment. After the females gained the right to vote, over eight million females shared their voice in the election of November 1920.
The opportunity for women to vote created an alliance amongst all females. The unity over fighting for equal rights has created a political identity amongst women over any candidate that expresses female rights and showcases what women fought over for decades. Hilary Clinton embodies this dream that females once thought would never be possible which is the main reason why her past presidential election gained so many female supporters. For so many years, women were fighting simply to share their opinion on who they thought should be president; however, none of them ever imagined a female being in the oval office. Nevertheless, the one-hundred-year fight that women endured for their right to vote created a union and bond amongst women which is evident in the immense amount of female support of Hilary Clinton in the presidential election of 2016.
As previously mentioned, the historical context of women oppression has paved the road ultimately creating a strong female community. Hilary Clinton used this knowledge to attempt and gain all of the female supporters for her political elections. Clinton knew that females wanted to see a change after all of the hardships that they needed to undergo to simply receive the right to vote. In other words, if a female was in the oval office, then there could be real changes and the female vision would be completed. Clinton started making her feminist army during the 1995 World Conference for Woman. At the time, she was the first lady of the United States; however, females still viewed her as a link to women’s rights. During Clinton’s speech and plea, Clinton refers to herself as the voice for all of the females that do not have a voice. She strategically mentions all of the endeavors that females have had to endure such as female abuse, prostitution, and the right to have an abortion trying to bring out the sympathy and also the anger within women to demand a change. Additionally, the speech is to motivate females and to have them thinking about their lives. Clinton does not want the females to have at peace with their current situation and instead, she wants them to have an uprising. She finalizes her speech by leaving female empowered and ready to make a difference:
As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace around the world — as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled and subjected to violence in and out of their homes — the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized (Hillary Clinton’s Plea for Women’s Rights)
As a consequence, Hilary Clinton was linked to the female voice. Through the many years that led up to her running for president, Clinton spoke many times about the same subject. Each speech gained her more followers and ultimately allowed her to have a huge female following.
In a like matter, Clinton based her election promises focusing on females and minorities and for the most part excluding the rest of society. Her audience targeted those that have little confidence not to speak on their own. She assured many changes to the female community that would allow them new freedoms and more rights than they have never had. She focused mainly on the single mom community because they were fragile and have been hurt before. Clinton wanted to be the one that these individuals could look upon for comfort and security, to bring them out of their lows in life, and to boost their moral. She worked to reduce the pay gap which has been a persistent issue since men and women have been working together. More specifically women of color have been affected by this the most, so she gained the African American women’s support. She worked greatly to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to give equality in the workplace.
Moreover, Clinton worked to help single mothers not only have the choice to create a family but to be able to properly pay for it. Many single mothers were struggling to support their family so Clinton stepped in to be the one that a single mom can rely on. She became the face of Planned Parenthood, an organization that helps provide reproductive care for females that they might not be able to afford otherwise. Clinton donated thousands of dollars for the cause and was even showcased on some of their advertisements. In addition to this, she was forming her campaign off the idea that she will promote affordable contraception as well as safe and legal abortions. Her opposing presidential candidate was anti-abortion which gave her a majority of the votes for females since the mass of women community wanted to have the rights over their own body. She additionally, plead for the rights of women to have paid leave especially after welcoming a new baby to a family. Clinton showed her understanding of the difficulty of a single mom by expressing her sympathy of how expensive childcare can be. In fact, she worked to promote the Affordable Care Act to emphasize her commitment to mothers being able to afford child care and to support a family. The numerous speeches and endorsements that Clinton was involved in showed the public her devotion to female rights.
Despite the many arguments that Clinton had for the female community, many of her supporters did not follow her campaign and simply voted for Clinton based off of her appearance and what she was to the female community: a woman. While there are many reasons why someone would vote for Clinton, one of the main reasons is simply because she would be the first female president. One of the listeners on a radio station called National Public Radio, sent in a clip from a conversation he had with his eight-year-old daughter Penelope. In the clip she marvels at the fact that there is a potential woman that could be the first female president of the United States. Penelope also mentions to her father, “You should vote for her”, after her father asks why she responds with, “Because she’s a girl” (Kurtzleben). Even though this is the mindset of an eight-year-old girl, many people of various ages felt this same way. Making Hilary Clinton president would change history and many people wanted to be involved with the change.
The question of why the United States which is a majority female, has never been run by a woman still persists today. Identity politics plays a huge role in how people chose their candidate for the past election. Many people could identify with Clinton and what she embodied as change for America. Seeing oneself in a potential candidate for the president of the United States would create some bias and fog up judgment. In regards, “The question at issue here may well be whether ‘the issues’ and identity can really be separated from each other. For some…seeing yourself represented in office can itself be an issue…(and) some women’s and minority groups’ issues haven’t gotten as much attention as they might with a more diverse government” (Kurtzleben). Political Identity will always be present within elections because voters want to see themselves in future elected members. As mentioned in the quote, separating identity and issues can be an impossible task that would interfere with the future success of choosing a president based off of their promises and simply not just their appearance.
On the other hand, the use of identity politics creates a diversion within the United States. For many years, women have been fighting to be seen as equal compared to men; however, by creating this feminism organization, it hinders all progress. Clinton used the female supporters simply for votes; however, she never could understand the issues that females have been faced with due to her extremely privileged life. To start, Clinton was an advocate for single moms; nevertheless, was not a single mom herself. This fact makes it hard for females to believe what she was preaching to be true. Many of her supporters caught on to this idea that Clinton might not be the right person to fight for female rights. Visually, Clinton was the ideal candidate to embody what the feminist movement stood for; however, was not able to relate to these women due to the privileges that she had within her life.
A majority of the candidates for the past couple presidential elections have been associated with a specific group simply based off of their appearance. Despite the ability to identify oneself with a candidate, political identity creates corruption within the election system. Choosing a future leader of the United States should be based strictly off of their moral and their promises for the future. With the ideology of political identity, candidates would not need to speak a word and they still would have supporters. The corruption that comes with political identity is not beneficial to the state as a whole and only the only benefit is the creation of sub groups.
The United States has a thirteen-letter traditional motto that embodies the main idea of what the nation stands for. E Pluribus Unum which translate to Latin: Out of Many, one. Over the course of history, this motto has been threatened by the growing division within the states. The idea of political identity aids in this division by not unifying larger groups and only creating smaller subgroups. The ideology of political identity is inclusion to division. This idea works to unify races, genders, and religions but fails to create one United States. Linda Chavez, a FOX News Analyst, talks about the importance of our motto and recognizes how the saying no longer is representative to America as a whole. She further discusses the evil within the elections and how the candidates try to portray mistrust on the other members running for office:
Hillary Clinton plays to her constituencies among minority voters and women, stirring fears that the Republican Party would turn back the clock to the Jim Crow era and deny equal pay for women. Donald Trump stokes resentment among whites that Mexicans and others are stealing their jobs and infesting their neighborhoods with crime (Chavez)
Chavez paints the picture how these presidential candidates are only trying to gain the support only of the people that identify with each. For Clinton, she specifically targets women and minorities. For trump, his audience targets white males. Both candidates, determined to win, create fear and hysteria in order to gain the supporters of their intended subgroups. This fear and resentment last longer than the presidential election. Riots, marches, and speeches stem from this fire created between both of the presidential candidates. Instead of putting water on the flame, they both continue to add oil, hoping it will benefit them when it comes to counting votes.
Since the beginning of America, individuals have been searching to be more than just a skin color. Later on, females wanted to be seen as more than just a housewife and wanted to be in the same position as males. More recently, immigrants and minorities wanted to prove their loyalty to the United States by showcasing that they can be hardworking citizens that is more than just what they were labeled with. These groups that faced oppression no longer wanted to be identified with a name that discrimination them. Instead, all of these subgroups desired to identify as an American and to live with the same rules and respect as other citizens. Through time, this progress has hindered, and individuals are wishing to go back to their previous identity. In the most recent elections, people are voluntarily discriminating themselves and forgetting what their ancestors have worked so hard to receive.
The most obvious downside to political identity is the inequality and the injustices that is creates within the United States. In regard to the 2016 presidential election, Hilary Clinton devoted her time to gaining the support of females and being the voice that these women could count on. This creation of a female subgroup of her supporters caused them to be segregated from the rest of society. Her empowerment caused them to identify with “female” instead of “American”. If Clinton were to win, this could help females regain their voice and to feel the power that they have lacked throughout history; however, her loss showcased the diversion and inclusion they created on their own.
In an article preceding the results of the election, Jacobs reveals how the loss for Hilary actually led to a hinderance for women in the workplace. The article highlights how the devotion of females towards Clinton lead to the belief that female power is still not as great as male power. Since all of Americans knew the intention of Clinton to boost the morale of females and to inspire them to reach heights that they never knew was possible, when Clinton lost, it showcased how females are unable to have the capability to achieve such great heights. If there were to be a scatter in the supporters for Clinton and not just a majority of them female, Americans after the election might not have the same feelings and emotions towards the group.