Michelle Bernard

The Democratic presidential race is coming to a close. The Democratic National Committee has attempted to resolve the controversy over the Florida and Michigan Democratic primaries by giving both state delegations half votes. That diminished Barack Obama’s edge over Hillary Clinton, but he is still likely to win enough delegates to be named the Democratic nominee. In fact, it appears that it is mathematically impossible for Senator Hillary Clinton to reach the magical delegate threshold of 2,118. The question now is whether Senator Clinton exits the race and if so, will she do so with grace?

Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is an historic milestone. She created a massive organization, raised millions of dollars, and plowed over all but one of her male rivals. In a different year, she would have won the nomination. But not this time.

The reasons are many. Her campaign made obvious strategic miscalculations. She was not prepared for vigorous competition, only rallying after losing eleven straight contests and falling significantly behind in the delegate count. Her husband’s presidency was a mixed blessing. Unfortunate comments after the South Carolina primary created a whiff of race baiting, alienating thousands of African Americans who had, until then, strongly supported her candidacy. Finally, she faced another politician nonpareil-the seemingly effortless eloquence, grace, and unparalleled ability of Barack Obama to evoke hope in millions of Americans. Moreover, the symbolism of his candidacy—which dramatically repudiates centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, and horrific acts of overt racism—overshadowed the uniqueness of her run.

The result does no discredit to her. Unfortunately, blaming sexism and misogyny for the state of Senator Clinton's presidential aspirations threatens to diminish her legacy.

She has complained about the “sexism that has gone on in this campaign” and the fact that “so much of what has occurred that has been very sexist.” Some of her supporters voice similar sentiments. “She’s been treated pretty shabby,” one claimed. Another complained of “pervasive and insidious sexism.” Yet another stated that “latent sexism has been a part of this campaign.” Therese Murray, president of the Massachusetts Senate, unapologetically claimed that “Obama wouldn’t have gotten to where he got today if it weren’t for the bias of the male media.” Geraldine Ferraro lamented that racism is unacceptable, but sexism seems to be permissible.

These claims are nonsense.

Michelle Bernard

Michelle D. Bernard, a lawyer by training, is the president and CEO of the Independent Women’s Forum and author of Women’s Progress, How Women are Wealthier, Healthier, and More Independent Than Ever Before.
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