Former ABC Reporter Lynn Sherr on ‘Toxic Oaf' Trump's Win: ‘It Was Sexism’

November 12th, 2016 11:29 AM

Left bereft by the election results, veteran former ABC reporter Lynn Sherr had a long rant on the site of left-wing public television omnipresence Bill Moyers, under an aggressive headline: “Agree: It Was Sexism: It wasn't because she was unqualified or didn't get the popular vote. It was sexism.” Sherr lamented "the tide that turned America into a nasty pit of hatred is a direct descendant of the entrenched male privilege -- and fear of change by both sexes -- that has kept women down for centuries. The same old insistence, barely recast, on keeping a woman in her place."

Before the vote Sherr was emotional and hopeful. She tweeted:

I voted.  And cried. And can't wait to celebrate!  Thank you, #SusanBAnthony.

But hope turned to despair on Election Night. Sherr again took to Twitter:

Read and RT if you agree: Hillary's biggest mistake was being female

After a few days of recovery, Sherr posted a long, flavorful rant on Moyers’ page Friday:

Last week, I spoke with a group of seventh-graders at a New York City middle school about the possibility of Hillary Clinton becoming our first female president. The room crackled with energy, as the youngsters urgently waved their arms to chime in on the historic moment.

“It feels like a better future,” said one bright 12-year-old girl, as a couple of dozen hands waggled the universal “agree” sign (thumb and pinky outstretched, three fingers down).

“For whom?” I asked.

“For everyone. Hillary running for president just changes the idea of women. Women can stand up for themselves and be who they are and do anything they want.”


The anticipation was palpable, the noise of the future thrilling. These kids, like much of the country, were ready.

And then came the morning of Nov. 9.

Before the teacher arrived, the conversation buzzed with disbelief -- “How could this have happened?” -- and anger. One girl pinned a sign to her T-shirt: “I am not proud to be an American.” Then math class started, and they turned their attention to their grades. “We were frustrated,” one explained. “But not like the grownups. They were more depressed.”

You bet.

Beyond the reassuring routine of the schoolhouse, an eerie quiet blanketed the city of New York, where I live -- an unreal hush that almost seemed to have emptied the subways as it drained the energy of the world’s urban center. The sound of silence was the collective numbness of those who’ve known and loathed Donald Trump for decades, in dumbstruck shock that this toxic oaf was now the president-elect. Nearly 8 out of 10 New Yorkers voted against him. His own neighbors booed him out loud when he turned up to cast his ballot at an East Side public school the day before.

So where were they all that morning? Hiding under the covers, staring into space; trying to reject, since they couldn’t comprehend, the new reality.


Me? I could not eat, drink or even write. I was too stunned to cry, too horrified to talk. Too furious at the cocky cable TV mouths -- who knew so little, but had so much fun pretending they were omniscient -- to turn on the big screen, maybe ever again. Too eager to pretend it hadn’t happened to read the newspapers. I had cried when I voted that afternoon, deeply moved to be part of a moment in American history that I’d written about and awaited for decades. Now I was feeling lost. So I listened to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, to escape and to find…something.

I combed the polls. I read some thoughtful pieces about the Meaning of it All. I perused some rants on Twitter. And then I realized how it sounded just the tiniest bit familiar.

It was definitely, unequivocally, sexism.

Not every red vote, and maybe not always consciously. But the tide that turned America into a nasty pit of hatred is a direct descendant of the entrenched male privilege -- and fear of change by both sexes -- that has kept women down for centuries. The same old insistence, barely recast, on keeping a woman in her place.

Sherr made parallels to the emergent push for women’s voting rights in the mid-19th century:

Didn’t women know their place?  At home?

The opposition to woman suffrage sped ahead on the low road, slamming anyone who tried to move beyond the kitchen or the bedroom, for their looks, their speaking ability, their sex.


The quaint but lethal notion of a woman’s place that drove the fierce resistance to the suffrage movement came from congressmen and presidents, political hacks and party platforms. “We oppose woman suffrage as tending to destroy the home and family,” declared the Democratic Party in 1894, unwilling to drag women “from the modest purity” of the household to ‘the unfeminine places of political strife.”

Not quite “Lock her up,” but you get the picture.

Sherr even turned against her fellow females. Apparently women's rights don't include the right to vote Republican.

And it wasn’t just the men. You know how 53 percent of white women voted for Trump? It was a lot worse in the 19th century, when most American women -- white women -- opposed suffrage, unwilling or uneager or maybe too frightened to leave what they saw as their pedestals (a most acceptable woman’s place) for the wider world....


As Hillary Clinton said in her pitch-perfect address to the nation on Nov. 9, “This loss hurts.”

It hurts because the single most qualified candidate in American history, an accomplished woman with a record of action, diplomacy and clear leadership, was defeated by a crude, rude, unqualified serial liar whose followers seem to care less about truth than revenge.

Or maybe it was just sexism.

It hurts because a woman who has devoted much of her life to insuring a better chance for women and children was out-shouted and out-voted by an adolescent bigot who bragged about his sexual conquests and said he wanted to put women in jail if they had an abortion.

Or maybe it was just sexism.