The debate on October 19th was typical for many voters. It was marked by two candidates clawing at each other for 90 minutes, a few concrete answers and many pivots away from direct questions. For voters tired of a campaign between candidates that have been constantly fighting each other in an unprecedented and vitriolic way, there was nothing new. Nevertheless, policies were discussed and some positions were stated. Overall highlights form the evening included Trump’s refusal to pledge acceptance of the upcoming election results, Hillary’s dodge of the “pay to play” question with regards to Clinton Foundation donors, and Moderator Chris Wallace’s determination to get solid answers from two slippery individuals.
However, in the midst of a seemingly innocuous answer about the future of Social Security, Hillary inserted a barb about Trump’s ability to evade certain federally-instigated financial obligations. Trump, as one of what TIME magazine cited as 48 interruptions, muttered “Such a nasty woman.” Clinton carried on without blinking an eye at the taunt, but the remark was immediately taken up by female voters, from Twitter hashtags to T-shirts.
Clinton’s female base has been marked mostly by women who dislike Trump rather than endorse Hillary, but that remark, combined with a solid stance on abortion and equal pay, has injected new vigor into her campaign. Women everyone interpreted Trump’s remark as a feminist rallying cry. That is the epithet capable, strong-willed women are claiming as their own self-identifier. While this is a positive response to a negative remark, it is still another testament to the nastiness (and not the good kind) of this campaign. Clinton was more vicious than she has been in the past, and did her best to needle Trump enough to get him to lose control, and by many reports she succeeded. It’s possible more voters were turned away by the incessant vitriol on all sides than were gained by yet another misogynistic gaffe. Whatever future the end result of this campaign will propend for our country, at least women now know being a #nastywoman means whatever you make it mean.
Read more about the effect of this remark here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/us/politics/nasty-woman-and-bad-hombres-the-real-debate-winners.html