David Brooks on why Hillary Clinton is so disliked: She isn't "a person" so much as "a role"

In the age of social media, her goal-oriented persona seems untrustworthy and Machiavellian

By Scott Eric Kaufman
May 24, 2016 4:27PM (UTC)
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David Brooks (PBS)

In his Tuesday New York Times column, David Brooks attempted to divine why it is that Hillary Clinton -- who during her time as secretary of state had a 66 percent approval rating -- is currently as unpopular as her likely Republican opponent, Donald Trump.

According to Brooks, it's because "she's dedicated herself to public service" in a way that's made it impossible to answer the question, "Can you tell me what Hillary Clinton does for fun?" Her career "appears to be all consuming," he continued, so her "unpopularity is akin to the unpopularity of a workaholic."


Because of her devotion to public life, it's difficult "from the outside to have a sense of her as a person; she is a role." Brooks further argued that

[t]his formal, career-oriented persona puts her in direct contrast with the mores of the social media age, which is intimate, personalist, revealing, trusting and vulnerable. It puts her in conflict with most people’s lived experience. Most Americans feel more vivid and alive outside the work experience than within. So of course to many she seems Machiavellian, crafty, power-oriented, untrustworthy...

Read the rest at The New York Times...

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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