Katie Hill And The Politics Of Double Standards

What we can learn from the experience of a bi-sexual, millennial women, who flipped a red-district before becoming a victim of “revenge porn”.

Tom Williams
Oct 29, 2019 · 5 min read
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Original photo of Katie Hill (at CA Democratic convention) is from Gage Skidmore on Flickr, Graphic by me.

More egregious than Hill’s conduct is the way the press have treated the scandal as well as the blatant double standards shown by Hill’s most fervent critics

As a millennial, bi-sexual, women, Hill has faced a triple burden of discrimination; under-valued by the political ‘old guard’ due to her young age, facing heightened prejudice due to her sexuality and, being the victim of a crime — ‘revenge porn’ — which disproportionately impacts women. A quick look at political figures from both sides who weathered a range of scandals shows how those without marginalised identities find it so much easier to overcome scandals; from Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump — who overcame allegations of sexual misconduct, to Ralph Northam (who wore black face but remained as Governor of Virginia) and, Duncan Hunter (a sitting Representative who was indicted in 2018 on conspiracy charges), it’s hard to look at these examples and believe that Hill wouldn’t have had an easier time dealing with her scandal if she’d been a straight man.

If America wants less career politicians it will have to accept that it’s new politicians aren’t going to have perfect records or behave in a consistently polished manner.

Hill had been seen as a rising star within her party, being a member of the ‘Big Six’, described by Politico as, “the highest-ranking freshman Democrats”, who were likely to “rise in leadership” — indeed, some had speculated that Hill — an idealistic and optimistic congresswomen — might one day become House Speaker. However, when Hill was no longer an obvious political asset to the party, she was seen as expendable by a party leadership that can be, at times, unable to appreciate it’s ever-changing base of supporters, which is increasingly young, female and racially diverse.

Hill’s 2018 election confirmed that out-dated notions of electability were incorrect

Hill, herself, had an impressive performance in 2018, out-fundraising her opponent and, pulling in an outstanding $3.8 million in the three months to September — a figure many multiples of that of her opponent. In November of that year, she went on to win her historically-Republican district by nearly double-digits. She showed Democrat’s that you can be a young, bi-sexual women and win competitive elections and, she showed that embracing your identity can be a strength not a weakness.

Breakthrough

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Tom Williams

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Political analysis | Bylines: Rantt Media, Extra Newsfeed, PMP Magazine, Backbench, Dialogue and Discourse | Editor: Breakthrough

Breakthrough

Politics, tech, culture, economics magazine // commentary, analysis, opinion pieces and more

Tom Williams

Written by

Political analysis | Bylines: Rantt Media, Extra Newsfeed, PMP Magazine, Backbench, Dialogue and Discourse | Editor: Breakthrough

Breakthrough

Politics, tech, culture, economics magazine // commentary, analysis, opinion pieces and more

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