Bernie Sanders’ landslide victory in New Hampshire was partly built on one of the most unpredictable outcomes in recent political history — he beat Hillary Clinton by 11 points among women.
Amazingly, Sanders won single women by a 26 point margin.
In her first race for the White House, in 2008, Hillary Clinton downplayed the potential of her candidacy to make history as the first female presidential nominee. In the past several weeks, Clinton has aggressively campaigned on her potential to be the first female President.
Last week, Hillary Clinton campaigned in New Hampshire with a group of female Senators and the head of Emily’s List, a pro-female PAC. One Senator, Amy Klobacher, dubbed the campaign event the “sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits.”
“There’s always been a gender gap here,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, told TIME about the event. “But it’s more than that, having her friends here is fun for her. It’s a morale booster. She loves that sisterhood from the Senate.”
Over the weekend, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright campaigned for Hillary in New Hampshire and made an explicit appeal to female voters on Clinton’s behalf. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” Albright told the crowd.
Satan may have to open a special New Hampshire wing in Hades if Albright is right.
There was no gender gap in New Hampshire this year. There was, however, an enormous gap between enthusiam for Hillary and Bernie Sanders.
There is perhaps a very hopeful sign in these results. The ultimate goal of feminism was that women would be judged on their own merit and, in the words of Dr. King, on the “content of their character” rather their gender.
Perhaps Bernie Sanders winning female voters by double-digits is a sign that feminism accomplished its goals. Hillary is being judged on her own merits, rather than her gender, and that explains the struggles of her campaign.