Today is not a good day for Hillary Clinton. Her 20-plus point loss to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire is noteworthy not only because of the overwhelming rejection of her candidacy in a state she won eight years ago, but also because she lost the women's vote. Fifty-five percent of female voters in the New Hampshire primary broke for Bernie Sanders. If being the first women president is part of the appeal, why aren't women buying it from Ms. Clinton?
Look no further than the previous weekend a decisive one in the world of politics, and reflective of what a campaign feels is the best message to send voters in the final hours before an election to see how the misunderstanding is manifesting. In a campaign appearance with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Albright tells the audience "there is a special place in hell for women who don't help each other." This coupled with feminist icon Gloria Steinem's comment that young women are supporting Sanders because, "that's where the boys are," tells everything about why Hillary is again on the brink of election failure.
Hillary and the other feminist leaders of that groundbreaking generation have failed to understand that women do not want to succeed in a man's world as a man--rather women want feminine power to be embraced as equally important and necessary as being masculine. Hillary, Madeleine and Gloria deserve our gratitude for their tenacity in opening up opportunity for women in "a man's world," and they accomplished it by being tougher, stronger, smarter and more ambitious than their male counterparts. The challenge is that women today don't want to be overly-masculine, they want balance, to express their feminine power and it valued for its own sake.
Ironically for Hillary, the two men she has faced in Presidential primaries are more balanced leaders than she. As I often wrote about during the 2008 election cycle, now-President Obama expresses a more balanced leadership approach than Secretary Clinton and so too does Senator Sanders. Balanced leadership is not patriarchal with the assumption that I know better and will take care of you--the current underlying theme of Clinton's failing message. Rather balanced leadership is about the understanding that everyone is a part of the solution that we must do it together because what happens to one of us happens to all of us.
This past weekend's message of toughness and damnation are the wheezing gasps of a belief that feminine power is not as important as masculine power. Women under 50 live in a different world because of feminist trailblazers, one in which fighting, anger and repudiation of others doesn't resonate with them. They feel the connection, they long for true equality and they know it will be achieved not in spite of men, rather in cooperation with them.
It may well be too late for Hillary to understand this and it is unfortunate. Her experience is important, although not as much as believing that her feminine power is the key to being her best.