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Palmieri Muses on Hillary's Loss and What it Means for Women in Politics

DSC02343Chris Riback, Jennifer Palmieri and SAS Director Jill SerlingWhy did Hillary lose the election, how did Trump dominate the media and what does this mean for female contenders in the future? Author and communications strategist Jennifer Palmieri answered these questions and more in a live interview at Scarsdale Middle School on Thursday June 7, with questions posed by Scarsdale’s own Chris Riback, a journalist and host of the popular podcast Political Wire Conversations.

Palmieri was in town to promote the publication of her book, Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to Women Who Will Rule the World, written in the wake of the 2016 presidential election when Palmieri served as the Director of Communications for Clinton’s campaign. The book is described as, “an empowering letter to the first woman president, and by extension, to all women working to succeed in any field.” Palmieri said her book says, “what a lot of us were thinking but had not said out loud.” She said she wrote the book for the women in their early 20’s we were on the campaign. She wanted them to know that their efforts mattered, that they can make a difference and that women’s perspectives matter.DSC02336Palmieri takes questions from the audience

Riback asked her directly, why Clinton was not the first female president and Palmieri mused, “It was not just one factor …. if Jim Comey had not sent the letter... I wonder how much of this was just fate …. a racist and misogynist on a collision course with the candidate to be the first women president.” She said, “Let’s put forward the most qualified woman who has ever run against the least qualified man who has ever run.”

She called the election “a reckoning” and a “backlash against Obama,” when “voters’ frustrations whirled up to the surface.”

Palmieri reflected on the difficulty of electing a woman as president. About Hillary she said, “her personal scars mattered.” Palmieri explained, “She spent 40 years stepping outside of the role woman had played. She always challenged us, vexed us and confounded us. We didn’t know what to make of her.” Over and over Palmieri heard comments like “There’s something about her I just don’t like --- there’s something about her I just don’t trust.”

DSC02346Suzanne Seiden chats with Palmieri and gets her signed copy of the book.Palmieri concluded that some voters were simply suspicious of women and uneasy with ambitious women and used that as an excuse not to elect Clinton.

What message does this send to female candidates in the future? Palmieri advised women to “speak up,” and warned that if they don’t, they rob the world of their perspectives.

She advised women, who sometimes lack confidence, that they are good enough. About herself, Palmieri says, “I was intimidated by the job that I had. I feared that I was not the best person for the job. But we’re all just human – no one is up to the task – but you are good enough.” She said that Hillary taught her to get up each day and do the best you can with what you have to do that day. Live moment by moment and don’t let anxiety and dread overwhelm you.

As to why Trump is able to capture the news cycle, Palmieri said, “The reason he is able tDear Madam President book covero dominate is that he is willing to say outrageous things … crazy shit. He blows himself up everyday and dominates the news coverage. She added, “Trump’s strategy is to pit people against each other. The antidote is a democrat nominee who listens and bring people together.”

The audience was engaged in the conversation and enthusiastic about Palmieri’s book. They formed a long line at the end of the presentation to meet her and purchase a signed copy. The evening was hosted by the Scarsdale Adult School.

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