That’s the topic I wrote about today in a blog at Huffington Post. Clinton isn’t the Democratic nominee yet. But looking ahead, it may be that the very traits that have drawn Clinton considerable criticism are the ones that will prove most useful challenging Donald Trump. As I’ve written in The Secret Handshake and It’s All Politics, when the political climate is nearly pathological, you can’t be a purist and survive. You have to be a street fighter. That’s what Hillary Clinton is capable of being. Though, that side of her is what has caused many to think she needs to be more feminine.
Well, those days need to be over. First, you don’t need to trade in your femininity badge to spar with incivility. You have to not take what rude and crude people dish out and know how to give as good as you get. There’s no need to lower yourself to their level. You have to refuse to demure, think on your feet, demonstrate conviction, counter lies with facts and empty claims with data, meet crude jokes with higher level humor, and skillfully unsettle their foundation.
It’s a tall order. I’ve often been asked why I didn’t write The Secret Handshake years earlier by people who could have used it in their younger years. The answer is that learning how to manage politics — especially the nastier versions — takes a while. Clinton has put in the time. She’s garnered the experience. And she can run the gauntlet of insults regarding her style and femininity. She knows if they don’t get you one way, they’ll try another. And this time it’s for the presidency.
This battle will be about respect around the world and what America is and stands for. It’s the tough side of Clinton, the aspect that’s been so frequently criticized, that may save America.