As the Democratic primary race drew to a close, about 50 percent of Senator Hillary Clinton's supporters claimed they would rather stay at home or, even more drastically, vote for John McCain, than cast a vote for Senator Barack Obama in the general election. This indicates that many of Clinton's female supporters blame Obama for the sexism that contributed to their candidate's historic defeat. They have become potential swing voters. At least, that's the mentality that's got Carly Fiorina, McCain's "victory chairwoman," on the move.
In the June 23 issue of Newsweek, Fiorina is portrayed hard at work, trying to persuade Clinton supporters to vote for McCain, ignoring the fact that he disagrees with Clinton on many, if not all, of the issues Clinton stands for. As Anna Quindlen notes in "The Last Word" section of the same issue, McCain "opposes legal abortion and acknowledging the role of women in combat; progressive women's groups have long tagged him as weak on workplace bias and equal pay guarantees. His likely Supreme Court nominees would mirror all that."
Not to mention that the candidate herself backed Obama only days after he secured enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination. The only thing Fiorina may have in common with Clinton is a recognition of the noxious influence of sexism. When Fiorina was fired from her position as chairwoman and chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard, she complained bitterly about sexism.
So will disillusioned female voters flock to McCain at Fiorina's bidding? True, all of the female Clinton supporters I've talked to cited her gender as one of the top reasons for their support. And, deceptive or not, at a recent McCain rally, a supporter held up a Hillary sign with a McCain sticker placed squarely to the side.
If Clinton supporters do indeed decide to vote for McCain, it won't be because of the issues. Clinton has endorsed Obama, not McCain, and Obama agrees with Clinton on virtually the entire party platform. Fiorina's apparent ignorance of this fact gives her no right to be the self-appointed "ambassador," as Newsweek's Jonathan Darman describes her, from McCain to female Clinton supporters. Fiorina's vision of herself as the arbiter of women's votes belittles Clinton's priorities and the intelligence of female voters.