Hillary Clinton in 2005
Hillary Clinton in 2005 at the TitleIX celebration (Photo by Elisabeth Crum)

For the first time in the history of the nation, a woman is a clear front-runner in the primary race for the presidential nomination for either party. Almost everyone in the US knows the name Hillary Clinton, whether because of her husband or because of the constant buzz surrounding her recent announcement of forming an exploratory committee .
As a young woman who believes in equality though has never really seen it in our government (Congress is still only 16% female compared with 51% of the US population), I’m thrilled to see the first viable female candidate really have a strong chance. And political scientists cited in the article on her candidacy in USA TODAY claim that her gender isn’t even a big enough factor to keep her from being elected. So why are so many articles saying she can’t win?
A USA TODAY/Gallup poll from January 5-7 found that 29% of Democrats cited the belief that Hillary can’t win the election as the reason they might not or would not vote for her. Aside from being illogical, this argument is very frustrating. If Democrats have a lack of faith in Hillary’s ability to pull out a win, then she won’t be able to succeed. If on the other hand Democrats engage in a new rhetoric of confidence, she’ll have a better chance.
There are a lot of strong candidates in the field on both sides of the aisle in this election. It would be a shame to see such a strong candidate, and the first well-positioned female candidate, go down because of a lack of confidence. I think the Democrats would have a better chance of reclaiming the White House if they showed more faith in their strongest candidates. Unfortunately the party doesn’t seem very interested in uniting, and that might have a disastrous outcome for them in 2008.
– Elisabeth Crum