At Reuters today, I have a column about how Hillary Clinton’s run for the Presidency might shift American political apathy – especially for American women:
While the scale of American political apathy, especially among women, is high, a Clinton win could go a long way to closing the gender gap in political engagement.
There is a downside, however.
Women’s participation in politics is often followed by a political and cultural backlash. We got a taste of that during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential run in 2008. The sexist tone of the commentary about Clinton that year has been catalogued many times: detractors and supporters alike discussed her hair, her wrinkles, her laugh, her clothing, her emotions, her husband. Anything, it felt like, but her policies and capacity to lead.
So, to what extent are gains made by female politicians negated by bias in the coverage about them? That remains to be seen. And, who knows, perhaps a nasty backlash is just what it takes to galvanize the politically aloof to be more involved. That certainly has been the case in previous cases of high-profile sexism at home and abroad.
And, speaking of unintended consequences of a Hillary campaign, one might be that it could actually increase political apathy– among men.
You can read the whole thing here.