That the race for the White House in a large republic should have been affected by the sexual history of the wife of the secretary of war seems bizarre; yet politics is often driven not only by large ideas about policy and destiny but by affections and animosities. From Helen of Troy to Henry VII, what Alexander Pope called "trivial Things" in The Rape of the Lock have led to wars, revolutions, and reformations, and so it was to be in the administration of the seventh of the United States.
As someone who hates making generalizations based off of gender:
It's so easy to tell when a historian is a man.
EDIT: To make my reasoning a bit more clear:
1) Mostly thinks of fictional examples of sex scandals involving women in power.
2) Finds the idea of sex scandals in of themselves "bizarre," despite this sort of thing affecting every woman ever in power ever.
3) Presents sex scandals (and, in the rest of the book, important women in general) in a "how did this affect the men" narrative.