Quora Question: Why Do People Hate Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee shows that anyone who can open a pickle jar is fit to serve the country during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! YouTube

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Answer from Rob Ennals, product manager:

There are several reasons why Hillary seems to be particularly disliked:

  • We know enough about her to know that she isn't magical. Society has created the unrealistic idea that a president should be a "magical leader" who never makes mistakes. In practice, no such magical leaders exist, but the expectation that presidents should be magical means that we turn against potential leaders when we discover that they, like all people before them, aren't magical.
  • Her cautious approach to the media allows opponents to define her by caricature, Trump has demonstrated that, in the new media landscape, the most effective way to reach voters is through the media, rather than advertising. However, the media will only quote you if you say something exciting enough that they can write a story that will get re-shared. While Hillary's cautious approach may have avoided "gaffes," it has also made it hard for her to define herself and allowed her opponents to define her by caricature.
  • She is a woman. Let's not pretend that sexism (particularly unconscious sexism) doesn't exist.

I think that the "magical leader" issue is particularly important:

  • Popular culture explains the world in terms of "magical leaders." These people are more like gods than normal people. They understand everything. They never make mistakes. They can make all decisions directly themselves. They are smarter than their subordinates. They are the presidents, the CEOs, the great scientific thinkers.
  • No magical leaders actually exist. They just don't. Every time you get close to someone presented as magical, you discover that they are flawed like everyone else. They make mistakes. They have superficial understandings of important issues. They give speeches written by other people. Their ideas are simple combinations of ideas from other people. They make errors of judgement. The "magical leader" persona you read about externally is just a re-branding of the actions of a much larger organization.
  • Real progress is made by organizations, not magical leaders. The role of a leader isn't to make good decisions, or to understand things, but to oversee the creation of an organization that can make good decisions and understand things. Good leaders hire the best people, make sure they have a consistent vision, delegate each problem to the person best able to solve it and make sure that decisions being made are consident with each other. However, our individualistic culture likes to present the output of this organization as all being due to a magical leader.
  • We expect presidential candidates to be magical leaders, and turn against them when we realize they aren't. This is the reason why there is so much anger about things like Benghazi and wrong stances Hillary took in the past. It's because it reveals that Hillary isn't a magical leader, just like nobody is a magical leader. Donald Trump has never held a government position before, and so we can still imagine that maybe he might be magical.
  • Experienced leaders are at a disadvantage because we know enough about them to know they aren't magical leaders. Even if a leader does the right thing 90 percent of the time, they are going to make mistakes 10 percent of the time. If our criteria for choosing a leader is the lack of evidence that they aren't a magical leader then we will always prefer the less experienced candidate.

Everything looks perfect from far away.

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