One of the saddest aspects of Donald Trump’s presidency — and one almost needs a supercomputer to keep track of all the sad parts — was that it prevented the United States from having its first-ever female president in Hillary Clinton.
It was even more regrettable given that the United States had had eight years of a generally successful Democratic administration under its first ever black president — Barack Obama.
It was then way too much to handle for Republicans and Trump’s much vaunted red-hatted “base” to go on to have the first ever female president, such was the backlash of regressive, conservative outpouring in November 2016.
Of course, the reality is Clinton won the presidential popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. She also didn’t need the help of Moscow, Julian Assange, Rob Goldstein or anyone else from a growing list of indicted or convicted people to do that.
Clinton’s dignity, poise and good grace throughout the 2016 campaign and beyond that, in the face of near-rabid attacks and conspiracy theories against her, goes to show just how formidable and iconic she truly is.
Trump’s questionable victory over Clinton served to be a clarion call to women across the country.
Somehow, just like his mocking a disabled reporter or a Gold Star family, Trump also managed to survive clear-cut evidence of his relishing that his stardom apparently allowed him to grab women by their genitals.
Just how could so many mothers now look their children in the eye and say in all good faith: “That is our president?”
Since 2016, more and more women have become involved in Democratic and progressive activism so as to stymie and push back on the bile-fueled MAGA nonsense propagated by Trump and his Keystone Cop-like cohort of billionaires, Fox News hosts, boggle-eyed radio presenters and political “commentators.”
The Democratic Party now has a wealth of female leadership and potential.
U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris, of California, and Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, along with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are the stuff of GOP nightmares. There are such talented newcomers as U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.. and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
And they’re just the headliners. Thousands more women are also challenging the GOP and Trump’s scorched earth policies of privilege, division and hatred.
The Democratic Party simply cannot be what it is today without this rich and diverse level of female activity and engagement.
Fast forward to early 2019, and in what can only really be described as an epic demonstration of political expertise, savviness and simply being damn good at her job, Pelosi absolutely outplayed Trump and his miserable federal government shutdown.
Trump has a patronizing nickname for his foes — “Crooked Hilary”, “Cryin’ Chuck”, “Lyin’ Ted” and so on. But, tellingly, he doesn’t have one for Pelosi. She outwitted him. And Trump knows it.
Remember Trump’s (delayed) State of the Union address earlier this month? There, he was confronted by dozens of female members of Congress, all decked out in white in recognition and deference to the Suffragette movement of a century ago. They applauded both themselves and women across the United States as they become more noticeable and more assertive in their fight against Trump, the GOP, misogyny, bigotry and hate.
Trump and irony are the very worst of friends, so the fact that just so many women are now elected to Congress, precisely because of the nauseating tenure of Trump and all that he stands for, is utterly lost on him. He heard the applause. He truly thought it was for him.
As Megan Garber observed in her piece for the Atlantic, it absolutely was because of him, but oh so not in the way that he thought ” … their presence in the Congressional chamber was one thing a boast-prone president really could claim credit for: Many of the women, indeed, had ended up in their new jobs precisely as a reaction to the presidency and policies of Donald Trump.”
The United States has every reason to be supremely proud of the new wave of Democratic women that are taking up the political fight of their, and our, lives.
A President Harris or a President Warren being sworn in as Commander in Chief in January 2021 not only sounds good, but is increasingly more and more of a viable alternative to another four years of “governance” by Donald J. Trump.
Capital-Star Opinion contributor Sean P. Quinlan, of Camp Hill, Pa., is an attorney and a former Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 87th state House District. His work appears biweekly.