US Elections and the Glass Cliff 

US Elections and the Glass Cliff 

US Elections and the Glass Cliff 

I am not sure if you saw my last article on the Glass Cliff (if not read it here), which is the documented phenomenon that more women than men seem to take up ‘dodgy’ leadership posts.  Think Theresa May and Brexit.

The term was coined in 2004 by British professors Michelle K. Ryan and Alexander Haslam at the University of Exeter. Ryan and Haslam examined the performance of FTSE 100 companies before and after the appointment of new board members, and found that companies that appointed women to their boards were likelier than others to have experienced consistently bad performance in the preceding five months.

Women are much more likely than men to be appointed to struggling company CEO positions, and the feeling is that the board are in a win win situation.  If the women succeeds – the company wins.  If she fails, the board can blame the woman for failing, the company itself is no worse off and can laud the fact that they champion diversity, and then go back to appointing men.

It was also noted that less men apply for these kind of high risk roles, as they (correctly) assess there is more chance of failure, whereas women may see this role as their only opportunity.  However, they should be cautious because women who seem too have ‘failed’ in a high risk role are less likely to be given a second chance than their male counterparts.

A 2007 study found female news consumers in the UK showed that women were more likely to accept the glass cliff principle whilst male participants were more likely to believe that women are less suited to difficult leadership roles and strategic decision making! Oh dear!

So – what has all this got to do with Hilary?  Firstly, let me state I do not know enough about American politics to assess whether she is or is not the right person for President.  However, here is what I am observing (and of course I am generalising).

It seems that this presidency could be a glass cliff situation for all sorts of reasons (end of a popular Presidents tenancy/issues with Russia and Syria and IS that will not be easy to solve/ many other internal factors).  It also seems that whilst it is ‘ok’ for Mr Trump to say whatever he likes about Mrs Clinton, true or not, relevant to her ability to do the job or not, she clearly feels she cannot do the same.  Her comments and criticisms of him, are to do with policy (or lack of it) and experience, and are generally directed at this policies rather than at him.

She may understand that – as a generalisation – it is seen as OK for men to criticise others personally – but if a woman does it she is ‘a bully’ or ‘emotional, not rational’ or ‘trying to be a man’ or similar.

It is also clearly outrageous that the FBI Director (who I am sure should know better) announces something vague about emails that ‘may’ relate to Hilary the week before the election.  Can you IMAGINE the bile that would spew forth from Mr Trump if that was directed at him?  And yet Hilary must remain calm, and take it on the chin? I really hope she wins just so she can fire the offending FBI Director.  Surely that should be illegal.  For someone in that position to do that at such a time is terrible.  If he has some real evidence than he should say what that is.  If there is any doubt (and it sounds like there is more than ‘any’) that there is evidence, then he should keep his gob shut (as we say up north) until he knows what he is taking about.  Anyone would think he wants people to vote for Trump (duh!).

Obama has now come off the fence and stated ‘we do not work on innuendo’.  Meanwhile Donald Trump is saying ‘This is bigger than Watergate’ and he is going to have Mrs Clinton arrested if he is made President.  Oh – and all journalists are liars.

The scary thing as an outside observer – is how large his following is.  And whilst I could initially understand the attraction of someone who wasn’t speaking ‘politicese’, and seemed to be genuine, the lack of any proper policies in favour of generalised promises and sound bites, the impunity with which he makes stuff up, the ease with which is launches unfounded personal attacks on whomever he sees fit – make this a very scary scenario.  Donald is scary enough but much much scarier is the fact that he has a massive following of people who think that all of the above is OK.  Wow.

Obama is right – the fate of the world is teetering.  And it makes you wonder.  Is some of the ease with which Trump seems to have gained ground to do with the fact that his opponent is a woman?  Obama himself has said, and many agree, that there has rarely been a candidate for President who was MORE qualified.

Hilary has a law degree from Yale and has been involved in politics since she became the First Lady of Arkansas in 1979.  She was an active First Lady to Bill Clintons presidency and became the first ‘First Lady’ to stand for Senate – which she won and was sworn in Jan  3 2001.  She won a second term and then stood for President in 2008 – the first ‘First Lady’ to do that.  After a very close campaign she lost to Obama and then backed him and campaigned for him, leading to her eventually becoming his secretary of state.

So – qualified – absolutely.

Donald Trump has a degree in economics from a university in Pennsylvania.  An analysis of Trump’s business career by The Economist in 2016, concludes that his “…performance [from 1985 to 2016] has been mediocre compared with the stock market and property in New York”, noting both his successes and bankruptcies. Any such analysis is difficult because, as the magazine observed, “Information about Mr Trump’s business is sketchy.

Hotel and casino business he owned have gone into bankruptcy 6 times in 18 years.  Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, “I do play with the bankruptcy laws—they’re very good for me.”

Trump University LLC was an American for-profit education company that ran a real estate training program from 2005 until at least 2010. After multiple lawsuits, it is now defunct, though lawsuits against it are still ongoing.

The Donald J Trump Foundation is funded by donors and gives away money to healthcare and sports charities and conservative groups. Starting in 2016 The Washington Post began reporting on how the foundation raised and granted money. The Post uncovered several potential legal and ethical violations, such as alleged self-dealing and possible tax evasion. The New York State Attorney General is investigating the foundation “to make sure it is complying with the laws governing charities in New York”.

Trump has declined to release details of his tax situation blaming on ongoing IRS investigation. An investigative story by the New York Times found that in the early 1990’s in order to avoid “financial ruin” Trump’s businesses used methods which were “legally dubious” to avoid paying taxes, and that Trump’s own lawyers described these activities as “improper”.

Regarding politics, Trump has been a republican, a democrat, a member of the Reform party and then a republican again.  He was the chief instigator of the ‘birthing’ controversy where he accused Obama of not being a US citizen, and then in September 2016 incorrectly stated that this rumour was actually started by Hilary Clinton.

So – qualified to be President?  Hardly.

All this is out in the public arena. And yet millions of Americans are either choosing to ignore it, can’t be bothered investigating the facts or just don’t care.

I have no idea if Hilary will be a good President, but I have to hope she makes it.  And if she does the lets hope this is not a glass cliff for her to fall off.  Lets hope she has her rock climbing ice boots on and can hang onto that cliff, and that America does not elect a racist misogynist (did I mention his connection to Miss USA?) to the top job and put the country back 100 years on diversity issues and the world ever closer to extinction.




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