Hillary Clinton Shouldn’t Have to Answer for Bill’s Affairs

Trump's latest plan of attack is little more than slut-shaming by proxy.

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If you’re running for president these days, you have to expect your dirtiest of laundry to be put on display. As John Edwards and Herman Cain learned the hard way, mistresses make for better headlines than tax reform proposals — and whether it’s fair or not, the morally superior country that brought you Dating Naked still has a Puritan itch to scratch.

But if you’re a woman running for public office? A squeaky-clean personal life simply isn’t enough. Expect to have your husband’s affairs used against you as well.

In an interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump revealed how he plans to discredit Hillary Clinton this fall. Front and center? Attacks on her character stemming from Bill Clinton‘s extramarital affairs.

Trump’s certainly not the first to attempt to use this against her. For almost two decades now, Hillary’s been carrying Bill’s baggage and fielding side-eye from both parties. Classic lines include (but are not limited to): 

“If she were a better wife, he wouldn’t have looked elsewhere.”
Basic, yes, but rooted in the type of time-tested, garden-variety misogyny that’s proven effective since that pirate hooker Eve ruined everything. Bad wife = bad woman.

“She only stayed with him because she’s power-hungry.”
A bit more advanced in its understanding of how to undermine a woman, this one neatly ignores Hillary’s own accomplishments and Yale Law degree while condemning her ambition. Fancy.

“She enabled his affairs by looking the other way.”
Victim Blaming 101. Yawn.

But to give credit where due, Trump did manage, yet again, to up the creep factor.

“Just getting nasty with Hillary won’t work,” says the reason Canada won’t make eye contact and London is sleeping in the guest room. “You really have to get people to look hard at her character, and to get women to ask themselves if Hillary is truly sincere and authentic. Because she has been really ugly in trying to destroy Bill’s mistresses, and she is pandering to women so obviously when she is only interested in getting power.”

According to Trump, not only is Hillary complicit in her husband’s affairs, but she’s responsible for … not defending his mistresses?

To be fair, a lot of people owe Monica Lewinsky — whose image made a cameo in an online attack add from Trump — a long-overdue apology. At 22 years old, her name became synonymous with The Other Woman after being dragged through the mud by everyone from the President of the United States to late-night hosts to your great aunt. It’s difficult to listen to her eloquent TED talk and then remember how casually and carelessly she was torn down. That said, the one person who definitely doesn’t need to explain herself for not coming to Monica Lewinsky’s rescue? Hillary Goddamn Clinton.

It’s outrageous, of course, to imagine a man being expected to defend his wife’s lover. But that’s the sneaky thing about being a woman: At all turns you’re supposed to stand together, lest be sentenced to Madeleine Albright’s “special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Or being called “really ugly” by Donald Trump.

“President Donald Trump” still, thankfully, sounds impossible. But what’s very possible — almost unavoidable at this point, in fact — is that in a couple months, the former Secretary of State will go on live TV and endure slut-shaming by proxy at the hands of a thrice-married reality TV star.

So yeah, we’ve got that going for us.

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