During an interview with Charlie Rose this week, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd said, “If [Hillary Clinton] were running to be the second woman president, I think she would not even be considered a frontrunner.”
While I’ve always had deep respect for Chuck’s reporting and analysis, to imply that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner only because she’s a woman is not just offensive, it is flat-out wrong.
Writing off Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments and credentials as merely a result of her gender undermines the progress we’ve made toward equality in this country and is indicative of just how far we have to go. Nearly a century after women earned the right to vote, there still seems to be an underlying presumption that we aren’t as capable as our male counterparts. Even though women make up 60% of our college graduates and 70% of our high school valedictorians, they hold just 18.5% of the seats in Congress, 4.8% of Fortune 500 CEO positions, and earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. The numbers get even more disappointing for women of color.
This systemic inequity is felt throughout our society, but especially in the media and especially with regard to Hillary Clinton.
While I do believe the country would benefit from having a female president, being a woman does not guarantee anyone frontrunner status. If that were the case, Michele Bachmann would have been the Republican frontrunner in 2012, but she didn’t even come close.
Why is that? Because the American people are smarter than that. The American people don’t vote on gender alone. They vote for the person they believe is the most qualified to lead our nation – gender, race and religion aside. The media needs to start giving Americans a little more credit for their decisions.
Americans know that Hillary Clinton is ready to be the next President of the United States. The enthusiasm behind Hillary Clinton is a result of her years of hard, incredible work serving this country and her fellow Americans. The fact that she’s a woman is just icing on the cake.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez represents California’s 46th Congressional District.
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