While making history as the first woman to win the nomination of a major political party for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton also made two references to the popular musical Hamilton: She quoted the songs “The Story of Tonight” (“I may not live to see our glory/But I will gladly join the fight”) and “The World Was Wide Enough” (“Planting seeds in a garden you never get to see”). Unsurprisingly, these references were met with criticism and complaints that she was pandering, desperately trying to win votes.
Fortunately, Wired writer K.M. McFarland set out to prove the haters wrong in his piece “Relax, Haters. Hillary Clinton Knows Hamilton Better Than You,” which, thanks to Clinton’s clear adoration of the musical, McFarland was able to do with ease. First, he cites the Clintons’ long relationship with Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda; the Clintons have supported Miranda since his first hit In The Heights, noting that a simple Getty Images search proves this without a doubt.
Miranda’s first award-winning musical was In The Heights, set in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. It opened in March 2008; and that Christmas, before Tony nominations had been released (it would go on to win four the next year), Hillary and Bill attended a performance. Furthermore, it’s not an unusual occurrence for the Clintons to show up at a Broadway show. A simple Getty Images search turns up photos from over the years of Hillary along with her family at productions of The Producers, Avenue Q, Next To Normal, and Billy Elliott.
And sure enough, there are numerous photos of Clinton chatting with Miranda backstage during her visit to In The Heights on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theater on December 27, 2008 in New York City. Second, he writes about Clinton enjoying Hamilton ahead of the curve, seeing the production “a full five months before the musical debuted on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre” in August of 2015. The Clintons even returned to the musical—this time on Broadway—earlier this month, and shortly before Miranda returned for a fundraiser in which he enthusiastically endorsed Hillary Clinton, introducing her as “the 45th President of the United States.”
McFarland agrees that the presidential candidate is not above questioning, but to decide she’s pandering by referencing a well-known and well-loved musical that she also happens to enjoy is as sexist as doubting a woman’s knowledge of her favorite band:
Don’t be the person who finds out that a woman likes a band, only to quiz her about how many albums she can name or her favorite songs. In all likelihood, Hillary Clinton was a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton before any of us.