I think Jonathan Freedland's right about this - there's a deep strain of American misogyny which is becoming more and more obvious as this campaign proceeds:
Fate conspired to pit perhaps the most misogynistic nominee in US history against the first female nominee. (Perhaps that’s no coincidence.) Even without Trump’s disgusting boorishness, the mere presence of Hillary Clinton’s name on the ballot may well have unleashed a torrent of misogyny. Witness the merchandise I saw on sale outside the Republican convention in Cleveland this summer. Among the slogans were: KFC Hillary Special: 2 fat thighs, 2 small breasts … left wing. Also: Hillary Sucks, But Not Like Monica. And the hardy perennial: Life’s a Bitch, Don’t Vote for One.
The intensity of this hatred can’t be explained solely by the controversies over Clinton’s emails, her hawkishness or links to Wall Street. More Americans have a “strongly unfavourable” view of Clinton than of any Democratic nominee since pollsters started asking the question. Some will say that’s because she’s a lacklustre campaigner. But compare her with, say, John Kerry, who was hardly electrifying on the stump in 2004. Among white men, 52% hold a “very unfavourable” view of her, compared with the 24% who took a similarly dim view of Kerry. It takes a wilful blindness to think this has nothing to do with the fact that Clinton is a woman.
In a fascinating essay for this month’s Atlantic, Peter Beinart surveyed the academic research that found men (and plenty of women) unnerved by women in traditionally male roles, especially overtly ambitious women, judging them more harshly than they would men. Roles don’t get much more traditionally male than the US presidency. What’s more, Beinart cites polling that shows Clinton has been at her most popular when “conforming to traditional gender roles (working on women’s issues as first lady, sticking by her husband during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, loyally serving Barack Obama as secretary of state), and least popular when violating them (heading the healthcare task force, serving in the Senate, running for president).”
The most obvious manifestation of this sexist hostility to Hillary is in the hatred spat out by Trump and his most devoted followers. But might some of that same sexism lurk in the now cliched insistence that she’s a terrible candidate, that Trump v Clinton is like choosing between cholera and gonorrhea, as Julian Assange memorably put it, that progressives can only vote for her while holding their nose?
Michelle Obama was right: no candidate in the modern era has ever been more qualified. Clinton won all three debates by outwitting Trump, luring him into one trap after another. She is serious, sober, prepared and with a detailed grasp of policy. And, despite Trump’s taunts to the contrary, she has demonstrated extraordinary stamina. Yet somehow, for some, she’s still not quite good enough.
The optimistic view is that the best remedy for this strain of sexism is simply for America to see a woman in the White House and get used to it. But the depressing evidence of the last eight years is that racial resentment actually rose rather than fell while Obama was in the Oval Office. It suggests that neither electing Clinton nor defeating Trump will be enough to defeat the demons unleashed by this campaign. That work won’t end on 8 November. It will just be the beginning.
Check this out: How the electoral map would look if only ------ voted. There's a major difference between men and women.