Clinton says women abandoned her because she wasn’t ‘perfect’

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reflected on her 2016 presidential campaign, saying in a recent interview that female voters deserted her in the last days of the campaign because she was “not perfect.”

“They left me because they just couldn’t take a risk on me, because as a woman, I’m supposed to be perfect,” Clinton said in an interview with The New Times, published Saturday. “They were willing to take a risk on [former President Trump] — who had a long list of, let’s call them flaws, to illustrate his imperfection — because he was a man, and they could envision a man as president and commander in chief.”

Clinton wasn’t the only one to share that sentiment during the 2016 election cycle, when the former first lady lost to Trump. Several of her allies described a sexist double standard on the campaign trail, saying she dealt with questions and criticisms that male candidates would not face.

“Is there a double standard? One hundred percent times 100 percent,” Tracy Sefl, a Democratic consultant and Clinton surrogate, said at the time. “And God forbid if she coughs.”

More recently, former GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley faced her own set of sexist attacks, before suspending her campaign in March. During a Republican primary debate last year in Miami, fellow candidate Vivek Ramaswamy — who dropped from the race in January and endorsed Trump — referred to her as “Dick Cheney in three-inch heels.”

In the interview with the Times, Clinton also went after members of her party for what she said was a long-term failure in not shoring up abortion rights. She argued that Democrats didn’t fully estimate the power of anti-abortion powers until most of them were “taken by surprise” with the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, which ended the federal right to abortion access.

“We didn’t take it seriously, and we didn’t understand the threat,” Clinton said. “Most Democrats, most Americans, did not realize we are in an existential struggle for the future of this country.”

“We could have done more to fight,” she added in the interview, which was originally conducted by the publication in February.

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