There’s been a sea change in the way the public feels about Hillary Clinton since her run for president in 2008. Back then we had respect for Clinton and knew she is competent and trustworthy, but we didn’t deem her worthy of the same giddy excitement as her then-competitor President Obama.
Now, six years later, we are gaga for her. We LO-OVE Hillary. The Daily Beast has a story about Hillary super-fans, women who cover their cars or bodies with her face or spend their days tracking her every move on their blogs. They might be more expressive than others, but the nearly $6 million already raised by the “Ready for Hillary” Super PAC suggests they are not alone.
Writer David Freelander points out that Hillary-fever isn’t because of any bold policy program put forth by the potential candidate, but rather her personal story as a hard worker and, perhaps more importantly, a survivor. One fan called her Rocky Balboa. “She gets knocked down and gets right back up again, she keeps going and going. She taught me that if someone tells you you can’t do something, you get right up and prove that you can.”
So why the sudden widespread change of heart about Clinton?
The survivor narrative is a strong one, but it isn’t exactly new. Clinton has been through a lot for a long time, and in public too. But the difference between 2008 and now is that she is that didn’t just survive, she triumphed. She is no longer seen as a wonky walking pant suit, but a globe-trotting, glamour sunglasses-wearing, Lady Gaga dancing, bad ass.
Her story gives hope to women everywhere that we have another chapter to look forward to, the one that comes after the period during which we stepped aside for our husbands’ careers, and that chapter is our chance to shine. Basically, President Hillary means that women’s hard work can pay off too.
Also, a “Madam President” would be a much-needed literal and symbolic victory for women across the country who are fed up with the stalled gender revolution in the States. Even if history tells us that female heads-of-states don’t always lead to more women-friendly policies, we would at least be given reason to hope. And hope, as our current President Barack Obama showed us, can go a long way. Well at least during an election.
Elissa Strauss has written for the Forward over a number of years. She is a regular contributor to CNN, whose work has been published in a number of publications including The New York Times, Glamour, ELLE, and Longreads.
Why Women Are Gaga for Hillary