For Some Clinton Supporters, Sexism Is the Only Explanation

Many older women who supported feminism as young women, and encountered resistance and frustration as they broke through barriers, saw Clinton's rise to the race for the White House as an important symbolic breakthrough for women. Now, with Clinton's defeat seemingly near, some see the echoes of that resistance and frustration of earlier battles and some are even turning their ire toward Obama.

"Women are just apoplectic about the sexism that has come out in course of the campaign," said Cynthia Ruccia, spokeswoman for Clinton Supporters Count Too, a women's group threatening to boycott the election and abandon the Democratic Party.

While Ruccia and members of her group, made up of women from Ohio, Pennsylvania and other swing states, believe Clinton remains very much in the race, they are preparing for an Obama nomination.

"If Hillary Clinton is not the nominee, we will not support the nominee," she said.

Interest in this year's election from younger voters may make for good headlines, Ruccia said, but it is middle-age women who are the "party regulars [that] stuff envelopes and put out lawn signs."

"Young people don't understand how far we've come and how hard we've worked to get here. They can't see what it took for us to ensure that Clinton would have a chance at the White House. We have been out there fighting these fights and we've made progress. But as soon as she started running, all this sexist garbage comes out," she said

Ruccia pointed to examples of pervasive sexism in the media by citing the remarks from three members of the media: Chris Matthews ("the reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner, is that her husband messed around"); Mike Barnicle ("when she reacts the way she reacts to Obama with just the look, the look toward him, looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court"); and David Shuster (Clinton "pimped out" her daughter, Chelsea, by having her call superdelegates.)

But some say the unkindest cut of the entire campaign came not from commenters, the Obama camp or even Republicans, but the abortion-rights group NARAL.

In an unexpected, and some say unnecessary, move, NARAL Pro-Choice America officially announced its support of Obama last week, just three days after he swept the North Carolina primary, picking up a significant number of delegates.

"For many feminists, NARAL's decision seemed like a real defection. There was no reason for them to make a statement like that when they did," said Vicky Lovell, director of the employment program at the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Both Ruccia and Lovell said the endorsement irked many women, and served as a point around which Clinton could rally many of her faithful.

Her supporters are adamant, as is she, that she continue to campaign until all the states have held their primaries and all the votes are counted.

Clinton continues to press on, arguing that delegates from Michigan and Florida should be counted, despite the decision by the Democratic Party to boycott primaries in those states after those states moved up their elections in the calendar against party wishes.

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