Political experts believe that one of the reasons Hillary Clinton is virtually assured the Democratic nomination this time around – and perhaps the presidency – is because the female vote is solidly behind her. This isn’t exactly true, but there’s no question that she enjoys a demographic advantage. It may not be as strong as the one Barack Obama rode to victory in two straight elections, but it may be enough to give her the win.
Of course, it’s not in the bag yet. Clinton, though she has given every hint that she will run, has yet to confirm her aspirations. It’s at least slightly possible that she could decide to stay home and be a grandmother. Not likely, though.
The other thing is that we still have two years before the 2016 election. A lot can happen in that stretch of time. If Obama’s incompetence is any indication, we could easily see his legacy grow ever fainter in the remaining two years of his presidency. Should we be forced to weather another major terrorist attack on American soil, it wouldn’t take much to push much of the blame onto Obama’s shoulders. The same can be said for a major Ebola outbreak. This president has been behind the times on nearly every major issue that has come across his desk. If Republicans can make the case that a Hillary presidency would just be more of the same, Democrats aren’t going to stand a chance.
Finally, there are those women who won’t vote for Hillary simply because she’s Hillary. While one pocket of feminists support her for being a trailblazer, another outspoken sub-group still believes she should have divorced Bill after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. They view her as someone who married into power rather than climbing the ranks on her own merit. They don’t respect her, and they see her choices as antithetical to the feminist ideal.
Of course, women aren’t a monolithic entity in any case. Those women who consider themselves strongly conservative aren’t going to vote for her just because she happens to share their gender identity. They may be just as eager for that final pane of broken glass as Hillary supporters, but they’re willing to wait until there is a candidate that shares their political beliefs.
After all, what good is it to have a historical victory if the figure in question is going to be terrible at the job? It would only make it harder for the next woman. Look no further than the country’s first black president to see this in action. Obama’s terrible policies have little or nothing to do with the color of his skin, but even his most fervent supporters would have to admit they had hoped for a bit more from the guy who broke the barrier.
There are plenty of conservative women who could make excellent presidential candidates in the next decade or so, with many more waiting in the wings. For moderate or conservative women who want to see a female president, the choice to wait could be the best possible decision.