How Was Hillary Clinton Defeated?

For many, a shocking election outcome demands introspection.

hillary-losing

I woke up this morning hoping it had all been a bad dream. But it was true: Donald Trump had won the election, and to me and most of the people I know it was a devastating outcome. My first thought was, how could we have let this happen? How will we tell our daughters that after almost a quarter of a millennium this country still isn’t ready for a female president—perhaps one of the most qualified candidates we’ll ever see? How will we explain to our sons that abusing women and rallying racists can cut a straight path to the White House?

It is almost unspeakable.

I peeked into the bedroom where my 14-year-old daughter was still sleeping, and where she had retreated after a long, uneasy election night. What was supposed to have been a celebratory evening for our family had quickly turned into a nightmare. I decided to let her sleep a few minutes longer.

All day I’ve been playing out in my head the last few months’ political events, trying to figure out why Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party, the media and, for God’s sake, good reason itself had failed so miserably. How scared should we all be now that our nation had chosen a misogynistic, racist incendiary with no political experience over an intelligent, hard-working woman who’s dedicated her life to civil service? Right now, it feels like the whole country has gone mad, and perhaps it has. But amidst the heartbreak and the outrage, I am wondering what we can learn from this unexpected turn of events.

I started thinking about an essay my daughter recently wrote about failure, about how mistakes are crucial to personal growth and can sometimes teach you more than your successes can. Last night’s mistake was a doozy, America. But it doesn’t have to be fruitless.

If ever our country has been given a wake-up call, an opportunity for introspection, this is it. It’s a wake-up call for the Democrats, who failed to recognize the power of the movement Trump had conjured, a movement that has been brewing throughout this diverse yet increasingly divided country for years. It’s a wake-up call for the media, who during the campaign covered Trump more like the businessman and reality star he was than a contender for the world’s highest office, holding him to a much lower standard than they did Clinton. It’s a wake-up call for those of us who lounged in our bubble at the onset of this election, certain of our impending victory over the “bad guy.” And, most of all, it’s a wake-up call for those Americans who did not vote yesterday, who took for granted their most powerful civil right, either because they were too busy playing Pokémon Go or they felt “both candidates were horrible,” which is the worst excuse ever.

Dare I say it, the election results are also a wake-up call for women and minority groups who, when you get down to it, could have done more for what should have been their cause. I wonder what the suffragists—who survived police brutality and imprisonment in order to get the 19th amendment passed—would say if they were alive today and learned that only 54 percent of women in this country backed Clinton. I’m not certain she was the best candidate the party could have selected. But I believe she is a good person with over-the-top credentials, a sharp and just mind, and an unsurpassed work ethic. The fact that her shortcomings were even compared to Trump’s outrageous faults was ludicrous.

But the wake-up call comes a little late. Now, what we must do is try to understand why even one woman in this country would decide to wear a “Make America Great Again” cap rather than ensure Roe v. Wade doesn’t get overthrown. We need to deconstruct how this election was as much about class as it was about gender and race. We need to understand how many folks in this country have not recovered from the 2008 economic crisis and feel more marginalized and scared than ever, and how Trump ruthlessly exploited that fear. We need to understand that, like it or not, many Americans think free trade has gone too far, that immigration threatens their livelihood, and that their families are slipping one rung at a time down the socioeconomic ladder. We need to understand that many people who lack political and economic power see politicians, journalists and the corporate elite as “the man” who will never offer them a seat at the table. And they are probably right.

Clinton was aware of these mass frustrations, but she underestimated them. Although I believe that, had she been elected, she would have done a better job fixing America’s inequalities than Trump will, in her campaign she took the wrong approach by adopting a “good reason will prevail” faith. She believed, as many of us did, that the American people would ultimately make the right decision. But what she really needed to do was strengthen her own message. She needed to stand for something people could relate to and cling to. She needed to portray herself as someone more than just “the one better than the other guy.”

Sure, she was the one with experience. The one who was appalled at the idea of building a wall between us and Mexico. The one who never called a woman a pig or made an unwanted sexual advance. If this election revealed anything, it’s that many people in this country don’t have the luxury of taking the high road because they are preoccupied with making their mortgage payments. They want someone who seems to understand them and can assure them the American dream is, somehow, still attainable. While we Democrats clung to our belief that “we are the emotionally intelligent ones,” Trump was the one truly connecting with people.

The problem is, we couldn’t imagine so many people would connect with hatred, violence, bigotry and misogyny. And the irony is that the very people Trump promised to help may never benefit from his presidency. The fact is, the richest people in this country are going to pay fewer taxes in a couple of months, and the gap between the haves and have-nots is going to widen. That’s why I wish Clinton had, during her campaign, stopped being a lady for five minutes and turned into a tigress. A tigress who could fiercely point out how Trump was duping everyone. Duping them by selling them a nostalgic America that cannot possibly be resurrected. Duping them by lacking any concrete plans to create jobs, fix healthcare or mend foreign policy. Duping them by pitting them against “insider” types that, really, are no different than him—except they live in Washington. One middle-class Trump supporter I know said she wasn’t voting for Hillary because she was a “snobby elitist.” As if this acquaintance expected Trump to invite her to dinner at Mar-A-Lago sometime soon.

At the Javits Center in Manhattan, Hillary’s campaign team had installed a figurative glass ceiling that Clinton was supposed to break after her victory Tuesday night. She never got a chance to shatter it, and I could only imagine the sadness and disappointment she felt as the last numbers rolled in. But this morning she was back, the lines on her face and the bags under her eyes perhaps a bit more pronounced, to concede the presidency. Although this speech came after Clinton’s worst failure, it was a highlight in her career. She was gracious, strong, composed. At once, lady and tigress. This morning, she was more passionate and authentic than she had ever been, expressing how painful the loss felt and admitting she had miscalculated how “deeply divided” the nation was. But her best moment was when she told young women that they should expect successes and setbacks in life, but should “never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it.”

As my daughter wrote in her essay, if you don’t ever fail, you aren’t trying hard enough. And if you don’t examine your mistakes and learn from them you are doomed. We are not doomed yet, America. But we must stop taking things for granted, and we must learn from this fiasco while we’ve still got Democracy on our side.

 

Are You a Mindful Mother?

When you're having one of those days, try parenting the Buddhist way.

Buddhism for mothers

There are days when being a mom makes me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I feel blessed to have two beautiful children who are thriving under my care, and the rewards seem endless. Other days…well, I don’t have to tell you about other days. Whether they involve temper tantrums, sleep deprivation or just the general chaos that often comes with parenthood, those are the days that try a woman’s soul.

Being a mother is a life-transforming event that can rock even the most even-keeled, self-assured female to the core. Suddenly you aren’t who you thought you were, and the rules that once governed your world are turned upside down by the demands of a tiny yet emotionally powerful little person. //READ MORE

10 Dirt-Cheap Ways to Celebrate Summer

Family time doesn't have to cost a fortune.

free summer stuff to do with kids

It’s summertime, and there are a million fun things you’d like to do with your kids while the days are warm and long. However, cash is not exactly falling from the sky, so a vacation or a trip to a pricey theme park aren’t good options. So how do you keep the fun going for two months without going broke?

The good news is children don’t care if an activity costs a lot of money or if it’s free, because all they really want is your undivided attention. So, here are 10 cheap ways to keep them busy—and you all bonding—during the next few weeks. //READ MORE

How Singing Lessons Can Change Your Life

One coach says it's never to late to reap the benefits of belting it out.

singing can change your life

When singer-songwriter Whitney Nichole isn’t composing music or performing in front of live audiences, you’ll find her in the San Francisco music studio she founded with her husband, photographer Niall David, doing one of her favorite things in the world: teaching students how to find their voice. Since launching her business, Songbird Studios, back in 2009, Nichole has not only released her first full-length album, 100 Strong, and performed her pop songs around the country. She’s also been getting singers both young and old excited in music and enjoying the exhilarating rewards of expressing themselves creatively.

Here, Nichole talks to Red Typewriter about the mood-boosting, brain-nurturing, confidence-building benefits of singing your heart out. //READ MORE

New Superfoods That Will Supercharge Your Life

Move over, almonds and acai, and make room in the cupboard for these nutritional rock stars.

new superfoods

The word “superfood” has become one of the most overused words in our culinary vocabulary. We’ve all read about the enormous health benefits that nutrient-packed goodies such as avocados, fish oil, flaxseed, acai berries and coconut oil can provide. But the truth is, there are many more powerhouse foods out there waiting to boost your health while adding flavor and variety to meals. Here are 10 superfoods you may not yet have heard of, but should definitely get to know.

the new superfoods

1. Spirulina. A member of the algae family and one of the hottest superfoods, spirulina is harvested from both the ocean and fresh water and is available in flake, tablet or powder form. Not only does spirulina contain the most concentrated source of protein known to man, but it also supplies a wide range of photonutrients, vitamins and trace minerals. It may help fight cell-damaging free radicals, curb hunger and increase stamina, as well as aid digestion by suppressing the overgrowth of bad bacteria. How to consume this deep green stuff? Just blend it into your favorite smoothie or salad dressing and reap the benefits.

 

 

the new superfoods

2. Dulse. An edible seaweed whose name rhymes with “pulse,” this superfood provides a wealth of protein and fiber and is rich in vitamins, trace minerals, healthy fatty acids and antioxidants. Resembling a leafy red lettuce, dulse grows wild on the northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts and is most readily available in dried leaves or flakes. With a slightly spicy, salty flavor, pulse leaves can be crumbled into soups, stews and casseroles, while the flakes may be sprinkled onto a variety of foods as a nutritious condiment.

 

 

the new superfoods

3. Nutritional Yeast. Affectionately called “notch” by vegans and others in the know, this gluten-free superfood is now being discovered by the rest of us. This inactive yeast is grown on a food source—some brands use sugar cane or beet molasses—then harvested, heated, dried and crumbled into flakes or powder. Found in the bulk or supplement section of most health food stores, nutritional yeast is chock full of B-vitamins and folic acid, and has a mild, nutty-cheesy flavor that makes it a great substitute for cheese in recipes. It can also be sprinkled over popcorn or salads, added to juice, cereal, smoothies, gravies, soups or casseroles, or used to make sandwich spreads.

 

 

new superfoods

4. Bee Pollen. One of the richest sources of complete protein in nature, bee pollen has been consumed by the Chinese for centuries. Packed with all the B vitamins (except B12), vitamins C and E, potent antioxidants and essential amino acids, it’s said to provide stress relief, improve digestion and stamina, and balance hormones while cleansing toxins from the body. Some claim bee pollen also fights acne and depression, and enhances fertility and libido. Always buy organic pollen from an environmentally healthy region and an ethical beekeeper. Start with a quarter-teaspoon a day, and avoid if you have a pollen or bee allergy.

 

 

superfoods_chlorella

5. Chlorella. One of the few edible species of water-grown algae, chlorella is a great source of protein and contains all the B vitamins, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, amino acids, magnesium, iron, trace minerals and a unique set of phytonutrients. One of this superfood’s greatest health benefits is its ability to cleanse and alkalize the body, reducing inflammation and making it more difficult for diseases to thrive. Chlorella has also been used to relieve pain, reduce hypertension and enhance the immune system. Available in pill, powder or liquid form, chlorella may be added to smoothies and other recipes, or eaten (in pill form) as an on-the-go, high-protein snack.

 

 

superfoods_groats

6. Oat Groats. The most natural, unprocessed form of oats, oat groats are another high-nutrient plant food that packs a full spectrum of nutrition, including vitamin E, the B vitamins and minerals. Oat groats contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, making them quite filling, and don’t spike your blood sugar the way refined carbohydrates and sugars do. They’ve also been found to benefit heart health, lower blood pressure and possibly help prevent diabetes as part of a high whole-grain diet. If you can’t find them in your local store, a good substitute is steel-cut oats, also called Irish oatmeal, which are the groats cut into pieces with a steel cutter.

 

 

 

the new superfoods

7. Hemp Seeds. This super seed possesses one of nature’s most concentrated plant sources of essential fatty acids (even greater than the mighty flaxseed) and supplies a rich source of easily assimilated amino. It’s loaded with phytonutrients to nourish healthy blood, tissues, cells and organs and provides a rich array of protein and minerals, including zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron. Hemp seeds may help you support a healthy metabolism and fat-burning functions and reduce inflammation. Because they don’t contain phytic acid, they won’t cause bloating when ground into smoothies, sprinkled on salads, or incorporated into other recipes.

 

 

the new superfoods

8. Raw Organic Honey. More opaque and dense—and significantly healthier—than the processed variety that often comes in a cute teddy bear jar, raw honey boasts antibacterial properties that make it an effective topical remedy for sore throats, burns and other wounds. Containing both hydrogen peroxide and phenolic acids, this unpasteurized version is a natural infection-fighter and antioxidant that, when taken orally, may also increase immunity and fight the buildup of “bad” cholesterol. Because it still contains pollen, raw honey also been used to prevent allergy flare-ups. Note that honey should never be given to children under age 2, and that you should consult your doctor before using it to treat allergies or infection. And always purchase an organic variety from a local, ethical beekeeper.

 

 

 

the new superfoods

9. Turmeric. Best known as one of the ingredients in curry, turmeric has a warm, peppery flavor and a deep yellow-orange color. Traditionally called “Indian saffron,” this spice comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant and has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye. Touted for its anti-inflammatory and possible cancer-preventing properties, turmeric tastes delicious added to many different recipes, including sautéed apples, steamed cauliflower or green beans and onions. Or, add some turmeric and dried onion to creamy yogurt for a flavor-rich, low-calorie dip.

 

 

 

the new superfoods

10. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Long used as a natural health remedy, raw apple cider vinegar is a strong digestive aid that has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and helps promote the growth of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your system. This unique vinegar contains potassium and other trace minerals and elements, and has been used for centuries as a natural health tonic and weight-loss aid. Select a version that’s labeled “raw” and “unfiltered” and include in salad dressings, use instead of cooking wine to brighten dishes, or dilute 1 tablespoon in a glass of water to drink before meals.

 

 

 

Mama Wants a New Pair of Shoes!

The top footwear trends to step into right now.

footwear trends fall 2015
These boots were made for strutting. Over-the-knee white leather boots by Vionnet.

Yes, you can find somewhat practical footwear this fall. For instance, lady loafers and block heels are offering a more comfy way to go retro, and platforms—everything from office-friendly maryjane versions to club-worthy concoctions—give you a more stable boost under the season’s flared pants. But if you’re looking to draw real attention, here are eight trends to watch. This is the footwear to pull on when you want to make a statement—and maybe just a little trouble.

Fashion collages by INGA LIM.

1. Naughty By Nature. Maybe it was the influence of Fifty Shades of Grey that inspired all the bondage-inspired details that appeared in many ready-to-wear collections last year and are now punching up footwear. Look for chains, ropes, skin-revealing cut-outs and boots that lace to way up there. How to wear it in real life: Tame a sultry ankle or knee-high boot by pairing it with a more restrained outfit such as a wool skirt or tailored A-line dress.

footwear trends fall 2015

Clockwise from left: Giambattista Valli, Monique Lhuillier, Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Roberto Cavalli.

 

2. A Hairy Situation. We didn’t know whether to smile or run when furry, Muppet-like coats came down the runways last year. Either way, we shouldn’t be surprised that our shoes are now growing beards. Furry shoes aren’t particularly wearable, but they are conversation starters. How to wear it in real life: It doesn’t matter what you wear these puppies with, because they will steal the show. But we recommend limiting the fur to your tootsies, and avoiding the rain—because who wants feet that resemble drowned rats?

footwear trends fall 2015

Dusty lavender fur mules by Maison Martin Margiela.

footwear trends fall 2015

Clockwise from left: Salvatore Ferragamo, Vionnet, Dolce & Gabbana and Tibi.

 

3. Head Over Heels. From lipstick tubes suspended in Lucite to metal angles worthy of Frank Lloyd Wright, the details are in the heels this season. So whether you’re sporting one of fall’s minimalist pantsuits or a rocking a flashy ’80s-inspired dress, quirky heels add serious interest at ground level. How to wear it in real life: Pair the shoe with a likeminded outfit—a mod maryjane with a ’70s-inspired mini dress, for instance—to avoid mixing metaphors, and keep themes and architectural elements to a minimum.

footwear trends fall 2015

Center: Versace yellow slingbacks. Left, top to bottom: Maison Margiela, BCBG, Roberto Cavalli, Monique Lhuillier. Right, top to bottom: Dolce & Gabbana, Jason Wu, Simone Rocha, Salvatore Ferragamo.

 

4. New Kids On the Block. Color blocking reaches a pinnacle this season, with suede patchwork, ’70s-ispired color combos and geometric patterns all competing for your attention. You’ll find this vibrant look on everything from ankle booties and block-heeled loafers to thigh-high boots and pumps. How to wear it in real life: While designers showed these blockheads with rainbow-patterned coats and other kaleidoscope-worthy ensembles, we suggest restricting your outfit to one or two hues and limiting the multicolored look to your tootsies. The effects will be mesmerizing but not maniacal.

footwear trends fall 2015

Clockwise from left: Fendi, Miu Miu, Prabal Gurung, Just Cavalli.

 

5. String Theory. This look has been stringing us along for the past few seasons, but now fringe has moved from ready-to-wear to footwear. You don’t have to be a cowgirl to love western-inspired ankle boots, mules that seem to have been adorned with party streamers, and other attention-grabbing looks. How to wear it in real life: Again, keep it simple and limit this detail to below your ankle. Head-to-toe fringe screams rodeo, not Rodeo Drive.

footwear trends fall 2015

Clockwise from left: Proenza Schouler, Rebecca Minkoff, Burberry Prorsum, Matthew Williamson.

6. Fancy Flourishes. If you’re one who likes to embellish, this is the season for you. Ornamental details like flowers, rhinestones, glitter and even plastic flowers can be found on everything from maryjanes to mules. Perfect for holiday dressing or date night, these adorable adornments can add some oomph to your wardrobe after a summer of flip-flops and espadrilles. How to wear it in real life: No limits here. It’s party time.

footwear trends fall 2015

Clockwise from left: Studded slingback from Tory Burch. Green velvet maryjanes from Dolce & Gabbana. Rhinestone embellished block-heels from Céline. Floral rhinestone maryjanes from Dolce & Gabbana.

 

7. The Skinny. Knee-high, over-the-knee and thigh-high boots were all the rage last fall, and they’re back this year, slinkier and more form-fitting than before. Gals with skinny calves rejoice, because this babies will finally stay put, and those with curvier silhouettes may also find the added stretch flattering. How to wear it in real life: Pair a sky-high boot with a midi skirt or skinny jeans, or punctuate a mini skirt with a more classic knee-high version.

footwear trends fall 2015

Clockwise from left: Calvin Klein black thigh-highs, Emilio Pucci black-and-white boots, Alberta Ferretti cinnamon suede thigh-highs, nude over-the-knee boots by Alexander McQueen, mod blue stretch boots by Bottega Veneta.

 

8. Cut It Out. Designers have been shaking their booties at us for the past couple years, but fall’s versions are hipper than ever. Taking a cue from the fun cut-outs we’ve been seeing on dresses and separates, these slip-on or zip-up looks run the gamut from casual to dress-up, but what they’ve got in common are carefully placed slashes and punch-outs that flash a little skin in just the right places. How to wear it in real life: Keep the look long and lean by rocking these booties with skinny jeans or allowing textured tights to peek through.

footwear trends fall 2015

Clockwise from left: Nicole Miller, Julien Macdonald, Gianvito Rossi, Sebastian.