Hoppe: May the Best Woman Win

Why I’m voting for Amy Klobuchar on Feb. 11.

by Emilia Hoppe | 1/31/20 2:05am

The woman sitting next to me at the nail salon on a sunny January morning extended her french-tipped fingers to be massaged as we engaged in that timeworn ritual of womanhood: chatting with the stranger sitting next to you at the beauty parlor.

“I’m a student over at Dartmouth, but I was just at the field office for Senator Amy Klobuchar’s campaign here in Lebanon,” I explained to the woman as I watched her brow furrow in alarm.

“When a woman gets too much power, it goes to her head,” the woman said, rather nonchalantly, inspecting her nails for any imperfections. “She becomes a complete b—.”

Internally, I groaned. How could any adult woman still think like this in 2020? How could she tell me, a 19-year-old college student, that women should not aspire to powerful positions?

It was the end of my second week working as an intern for Amy Klobuchar’s campaign, and somehow, this was the first time I had run into such a blunt statement of the reason that many voters are hesitant to cast their ballots for female candidates like Amy Klobuchar.

It is a fact that there has never been a female president of the United States. But this fact emerges from a society whose history is inextricably bound up in patriarchy. As liberal arts students at Dartmouth, we are taught to think critically about implicit messaging, to critique society’s flaws and to make our world a better place. I encourage students at Dartmouth who are skeptical about a women’s electability to keep an open mind.

Women do win elections in America. Hillary Clinton had to contend with Russia’s interference, her email scandal and the weight of the Clinton name. Despite all of this, she won nearly three million more votes than Trump did in 2016. Had Clinton won the Electoral College, my conversation in the nail salon would have centered around reelecting our first female president rather than debating the viability of electing our first. Since America seems to be stuck on the latter conversation, I will contribute to the dialogue by making the case that Klobuchar should be our next president.

Over the past 13 years, Klobuchar has proven herself to be a leading progressive voice in the United States Senate. She has led the way on key issues including domestic violence legislation, comprehensive immigration reform and increased access to health care for all Americans.

Klobuchar has also gained a reputation for her pragmatic approach to politics, with a track record to prove it. Since being sworn into the Senate in 2007, she has has been the lead Democrat on over 100 bills, including more than 30 since President Trump took office. Klobuchar’s efficacy as a legislator who works across the aisle is widely known, and a recent Vanderbilt University study ranked her as the most effective Democratic lawmaker currently in Congress.

Klobuchar’s track record and Midwestern background position her as the only candidate who can win back Rust Belt and suburban, middle-class voters. Klobuchar has won every race, every place, every time. This is because she understands the issues important to Americans and bridges the gap between liberal metropolitan cities and rural small towns. 

Back in the nail salon, our conversation eventually made its way to the topic of grandmothers. “My grandmother would have made an amazing president,” the woman said as she walked out the door, tossing her scarf over her shoulder, “She would have led with her heart and she would have done the right thing.”

I do not know whether the woman from the nail salon will vote in the primary or for whom. I will be casting my ballot for Klobuchar because she can win, because she can lead, because she is the best candidate in a talented Democratic field and yes, because she is a woman.

I encourage students at the College to think hard and realistically about the issues that are important to them. Vote for the candidate who will be best-equipped to deliver on those issues, whoever those candidates may be. As for me, the choice is clear — that’s why I’ll be supporting Klobuchar on election day.

Emilia Hoppe is a volunteer for the Amy Klobuchar presidential campaign and a member of the Class of 2022.

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