I think there can be an argument to this that Hillary does not necessarily embody the change “in package.” If she is being elected because of her name, because of her or the association of her with her husband Bill, there may be change in the sense that yes a woman was elected, but meaningful change will continue to be eluded.
There’s been plenty of female leaders before if one looks overseas: Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, and Margaret Thatcher to name a few. In the former two examples however, the election was heavily based on family name and substantial political connections . In the latter case of Thatcher, her rise to prominence was independent of name or relation to anyone else, but she campaigned more as a “man in a woman’s body’ rather than a “true woman” candidate. That is, she paid little more than lip service to anything in regards to woman’s rights or feminism and apart from herself maintained the conservative status quo. That in the last 20+ years the UK has not seen any woman remotely as politically powerful or able as Thatcher speaks volumes. She may have cracked the glass ceiling, but there’s a whole level of difference between making a crack to let one’s self out and shattering the glass ceiling for everyone to climb out.
And that’s the danger with electing an establishment candidate — they tend to maintain the status quo and go with the establishment. If the establishment is a bunch of rich, old guys — real change is not going to happen.
The Clinton campaign has not hesitated to haul out Bill when the campaign hits a snag. I have always thought this personally undermines her campaign because while a pragmatic decision to gain the all-crucial votes in the short term by banking on Bill’s popularity to gain votes, it undermines her identity as a truly independent woman in the long term.
To some extent all women politicians have “played the man’s game” to get to where they have wanted. I don’t think any of them can be faulted for that. It’s just that when I look, for example, to history or elsewhere, that I think there can be better candidates who bring more lasting change. Angela Merkel for example, Chancellor of Germany, is a well respected, powerful woman who not only played the game to get to where she is, but perhaps more crucially, has redefined the entire game in her country. Whether one agrees with her or not, she is highly respected across the entire political spectrum, and she punches well above her already hefty political weight. Very importantly too, she did this, and was recognized as doing this, solely on her own merits, not as a relation to another famous politician, as unfair as this may be to Hillary.
Regardless of whether this is fair or not to Hillary, I think her ties to Bill, and her occasional need to mobilize him, is a political asset for her, but is not an asset for any greater feminist cause. Consequently, I don’t think in this election a vote for Bernie Sanders is a vote against feminism any more than a vote for Hillary is a vote for feminism. I think regardless of whether Hillary is a woman, change will sadly have to come from an Elizabeth Warren or other candidate and not from a Hillary.