A Vote for Hillary Is a Vote for Hope -- New Hampshire Voters Miss the Mark

HOOKSETT, NH - FEBRUARY 09:  Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during her p
HOOKSETT, NH - FEBRUARY 09: Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during her primary night gathering at Southern New Hampshire University on February 9, 2016 in Hooksett, New Hampshire. Democratic rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) was projected the winner shortly after the polls closed. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton wasn't just defeated by Bernie Sanders yesterday -- she was defeated by women. Sanders received 53 percent of the female vote overall to Clinton's 46 percent, according to ABC News' exit polling. 69 percent of Democratic women voters under 45 backed Sanders and 82 percent of Democratic women voters under 30 did. All I can say to that is, "Shame on young women!"

"The story is not over," Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State, said in New Hampshire last week, speaking of American women's long struggle for equality. "You have to help. Hillary Clinton will always be there for you. And just remember," she added, quoting herself (she first uttered the line at Wellesley in 2004; it has been printed on a Starbucks cup since), "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other."

Gloria Steinem spoke up for Clinton last week too, and like Albright, she caught hell for it. In last Sunday's New York Times Maureen Dowd ridiculed Albright and Steinem and accused Hillary Clinton of "sucking at the teat" of Wall Street--a smear that would have been considered beyond the pale of sexism had any man said it!

For all of America's history until 2008, it was run by middle-aged white men. Obama's election was rightly celebrated as a huge step forward for diversity and inclusiveness. But now it's 2016, and while England, Germany, Denmark, Chile, Argentina, India and even Pakistan have elected women heads of state, we still haven't even nominated a woman for our highest office. With Hillary Clinton, we have a female candidate who not only has a stronger resume than that of any of her rivals in either party, but who is firmly committed ensuring equal pay for women, and who has been uniquely outspoken on the impact that women have on the economy.

Hillary Clinton may not be the political "natural" that her husband was, but she is the real thing. Her record may not be perfect, but who has been in public life for as long as she has without making their share of mistakes? And who, for that matter, has ever been attacked as relentlessly as she has, and as unfairly? She may represent DC establishment, but she is anything but US establishment.

Frank Bruni says that he cares about gender equality but he doesn't think we should vote for Clinton just because she's a woman. "It's bad logic," he writes. "It's even worse strategy. People don't vote out of shame. They vote out of hope." I agree with him. A vote for Hillary is a vote for hope. Hope for a future where there are equal opportunities for men and women, equal pay, and equal leadership and decision- making opportunities. 

We women have an unprecedented opportunity to make history. It would be a terrible thing if we squandered it.