This narrowing of the political field joins with a celebration of an easy form of identity politics. Many laud the fact that Hillary Clinton would be our first woman president. But, beyond the symbolism, what would that mean for women at home and abroad?
We have seen a version of this movie before, right? In 2008, the country celebrated the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president. But that celebration did not come with a demand for actual policies that might substantively affect the lives of African Americans in this country. Many just felt good about the idea of a black president. Now, as Obama prepares to leave office after eight years, African American communities lay in ruins, and we continue to find ourselves engaged in this haunting ritual of grieving in public for another black life killed by the police.
It is not enough that Hillary Clinton might be our first woman president. Symbolically that would be significant, but the more important question rests with how her economic policies would affect the lives of working, poor women and children here in the United States and around the globe. How would she shift the frame of US aid policy and its impact on developing countries? How might her hawkishness affect the lives of vulnerable women and children? If none of that matters, then we might as well celebrate Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, because she was a woman.