If you’ve never seen The Good Fight, the spin-off of The Good Wife on CBS All Access, it’s OK. It’s not necessary in order to understand the thought exercise showrunners Michelle and Robert King underwent in this week’s fourth season premiere. It is only necessary to understand two things: It is pre-pandemic (so, none of the issues apply to our current situation), and the episode revolves around Diane Lockhart, a law firm partner who wakes up in an alternative universe three and a half years into the Trump presidency only to discover that Hillary Clinton had actually won. By 3 million votes.
This news is obviously thrilling to Diane Lockhart, a progressive feminist lawyer, who also realizes early in the episode that she has to prepare for an argument in front of the Supreme Court, which seats Merrick Garland and Elizabeth Warren. Lockhart, again, is elated, as she is also overhearing her aggrieved colleagues complaining about the White House scandals, which all concern Hillary’s emails, Benghazi, and $500 haircuts (an actual scandal from her husband’s administration). While this all seems like small potatoes to Lockart, the rest of the world — who is not privy to the facts of the alternative Trump administration — is obsessively preoccupied with these tiny scandals.
Nevertheless, by most metrics, the Clinton presidency has been a success. The environment has improved; there’s been a cure found for cancer (although, Republicans complain that it was hidden for too long); and the Trump News Network is flailing.
Everything in the world seems to be great for Diane Lockhart. That is, until she learns about the first client she has to meet with that day: Harvey Weinstein. Lockhart learns that she has to deal with PR efforts to raise Weinstein’s profile on feminist issues. He’s contributed millions of dollars to feminist causes. He has been awarded the Medal of Freedom by Hillary Clinton, and he’s preparing for sit down interviews with Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer.
MeToo never happened. The Women’s March never happened. Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, and all those other men were never exposed. Worse, the Clinton presidency has provided cover for them. In fact, when Diane Lockhart tries to raise awareness for the MeToo movement and expose Weinstein, she is shut down by one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign reelection staffers.
“You’re trying to suggest that women get angry about abuse, right? That’s not a message that helps us in 2020. Hillary only gets reelected if men don’t feel that women aren’t leading with their anger.”
“But women are angry,” Lockart says.
“No, they’re not. Women are making advances now. And they’re doing it through competence, not through grievance.”
“What about women who have been abused. Who are being abused?”
“They will find support through Hillary. From this administration.”
“So, you’re asking them to just shut up?”
“No, I’m asking them to get a woman reelected to the highest office in the land. If Hillary doesn’t win, Trump wins. Then what do we have?”
The Kings thought exercise here is not designed to depress or anger us, although it certainly does. I’m not entirely sure what the point is, except maybe this (and again, this is pre-pandemic, back when we had a different set of worries): It illustrates how progressives and women have done an enormous amount of good in spite of the Trump Administration that they might not have otherwise been inspired (by outrage) to do. Without Trump, the MeToo movement doesn’t happen, at least not to the extent that it has — under a Clinton presidency. That’s not to suggest that the Trump Administration is a better alternative; it’s merely to say that even in the worst of circumstances, there are places where progress can still be made.
Header Image Source: CBS All Access