Before we go there, let's get the caveats in. Were I a registered Democrat with a vote at an upcoming caucus, my support would go to Bernie Sanders. This is because his politics are closer to mine than Hillary Clinton's, and the chance of him burying the Republican contender - whoever that dysfunctional oaf turns out to be - are roughly the same as Hillary's. For the record, despite having politics closer to Jeremy Corbyn on most issues, during the mass primary that was the Labour leadership campaign, I ended up voting voting for Yvette Cooper on the grounds that she was the candidate most likely to best the Tories. Obviously, I appreciate the majority of readers would disagree. Nevertheless, I'm sure everyone would accept that Jeremy saw off Yvette and Liz not because they were women or the party is irredeemably sexist, but because of his platform. It's not rocket science.
Which is what makes the imputed sexism suggested by Hillary's defenders so infuriating. Take Sophy Ridge's view. Going through a brief potted history about women going for high office, she laments that Hillary has bucketloads of experience, is eminently qualified for high office, before noting that the rug has been pulled from under her: "Clinton has jumped through the hoops set for her – proving herself as a Senator and Secretary of State, extricating herself from her husband’s shadow - only to be told that she's been doing it all wrong."
The same is true of a very similar piece in the New Statesman by Sarah Ditum, who suggests Hillary is being forced to live up to higher standards on account of being a woman. While it is true she has suffered appalling sexism throughout her career, to suggest her record should be ignored because she is a woman ("women have the right to political office exactly as men do, and that means that we can do it well or badly, feministly or unfeministly – just as men have been doing for millennia. Women are entitled to be wrong and mediocre sometimes") is sheer tokenism and, one might suggest, contrary to the spirit of what feminism is about.
And then there is the truly idiotic missives from Gloria Steinem and Madelaine Allbright. For Gloria, one of the most influential and important feminists alive, to suggest young women are going for Bernie Sanders over Hillary because they're thinking "where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie..." is hardly going to endear young women to these arguments. For Madelaine, it's a case of their "being a special place in Hell for women who don't help each other", clearly indicating that women Democrats should do their sisterly duty.
This is frustrating, but not at all surprising. The heart of the matter is politics are changing. As the old solidarities underpinning the old politics pass into the night, so-called values voters (or, indeed, non-voters) appear to be growing in number. This isn't a cunning ruse to keep a woman from entering the White House as someone other than the First Lady, but a result of long-term demographic changes afflicting all Western liberal democracies. As far as "values" left wing voters are concerned, it's not enough to back someone who will do things that are damaging to our people just because they're not the conservative candidate, they want someone who reflects their policy preferences and priorities. Hillary is an experienced figure and competent politician more than capable of doing the job, but what matters most for those young women in Iowa who neglected to lend her their votes is politics.
Yes, Hillary is establishment politics, and she's being judged on the basis of them. Were she to be President, it's unlikely America would look much different after two Hillary terms, what with its rising inequality, demonisation of immigrants, acute pathological social anxieties, awful treatment of the poor and carte blanche for big business to run rampant. She has many supporters down Wall Street for a reason. And, lest we forget, while Bernie Sanders has forced her to tack to the left in some instances, one position she hasn't rolled back was on social security. Seeing as cuts to state support disproportionately hit women, it's telling that her supporters instructing women to vote for the woman are blind to the tens of millions of women at the sharp end, women whose only media exposure is when the cameras come to ogle them and use them as the butt of hypocritical morality tales. Do they then stand to gain more, and be empowered by the policies and action (and inactions) of a Hillary or Bernie presidency? I think the answer is so obvious it's testing the reader's patience to have to spell it out.