I was watching the Democratic debate just now, and Hillary Clinton suggested that having a woman President would “change the world.” Pretty obviously in response to the fact that the Obama campaign excites people because, hey, potential black president, that’s a big deal.
Look, I hate to have to be the one to say it, but outside of the United States, a woman leader of state just isn’t that big a deal, okay? Margaret Thatcher took office nearly thirty years ago! Like, two-thirds of the First World have already done it at one point or another, and those that haven’t have had female political party leaders for years and years.
This is why the Obama campaign impresses non-Americans so much more than the Hillary campaign does; most countries have managed to overcome sexism to an extent – I’m not suggesting anybody’s solved it yet or anything, but women participating in the political process as leaders isn’t even a novelty any longer. In comparison, the Obama campaign is unique because it threatens to overcome, at least symbolically (and some might argue that “symbolically” is half the battle right from the get-go), the racial power gap in America – which is something no country has done. European political parties, even with greater immigrant and increasingly nonwhite populations, are still pretty much white white white. Even in Canada, we don’t have a single nonwhite leader of a political party.
That’s why the Obama campaign is impressive. From a symbolic standpoint, the Hillary campaign is about catching up to the rest of the world. The Obama campaign is about lapping it.