What Was Hillary Clinton Trying To Tell Us With Her White Pantsuit?

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Hillary Clinton White Pantsuit,

BERLIN, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 24: Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton poses at the “Hillary” premiere during the 70th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Haus Der Berliner Festspiele on February 24, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton’s famous white pantsuit made a reappearance at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on Wednesday night — and it spoke volumes, just like it did four years ago.

It echoed the white pantsuit she wore when accepting her own presidential nomination in 2016, meant as a nod to the women’s suffrage movement. This year, she is also wearing it to honor women’s suffrage, as this week marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave (white) women the right to vote. Other women who spoke at the DNC, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and gun reform advocate Gabby Giffords, also wore white suits in solidarity. But there’s another reason Hillary pulled the white pantsuit out of the back of her closet: to say “I told you so” to the nation, and to remind us of what could have been if she had been president. 

‘This can’t be another woulda, coulda, shoulda election’ — Hillary Clinton calls for all Americans to take action and make a plan to vote this November #DemConvention pic.twitter.com/uiq7Cj0VY3

— NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 20, 2020

“For four years, people have said to me, ‘I didn’t realize how dangerous he was.’ ‘I wish I could go back and do it over.’ ‘I should have voted.’ This can’t be another woulda-coulda-shoulda election,” Clinton said in her speech, in which she supported Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, and warned Americans about the danger of a second Trump victory. 

“Remember in 2016 when Trump asked: ‘What do you have to lose?’ Well, now we know: our health, our jobs, even our lives,” she continued. “Our leadership in the world and, yes, our post office. As Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders warned us on Monday: If Trump is re-elected, it will get even worse. My friends, we need unity now more than ever.”

Secretary Clinton’s 2016 loss triggered a historic wave of feminist activism and an increase in women running for office, which were highlighted in a montage before her speech called Women’s Suffrage to Women’s March. Many on Twitter said they were inspired by the video and the symbolism of the pantsuit — after her speech, the hashtag #StillWithHer trended.

During a night that focused on women’s rights, Clinton also acknowledged the misogyny that Harris will face running against Trump, just as she did during her presidential campaign. “I know a thing or two about the slings and arrows coming her way. Kamala can handle them all,” she said.

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