When I woke up yesterday, I felt energized and hopeful. After all, it was Super Tuesday. People all over the country were heading to the voting booth to cast their vote in the Democratic primary and there was a palpable fervor of excitement in the air, especially when it came to Senator Elizabeth Warren. Here was a powerhouse, full of passionate ideas and plans to put those ideas into action.
I thought, “Finally, we just might be coming out on the other side of the disastrous election that was 2016” — you know, the one that haunts us on the regular.
Well, I guess I spoke too soon because I woke up today to the results of Super Tuesday and, friends, things most definitely did not turn out how I (and so many others) had hoped. As you can imagine, then, I woke up this morning feeling defeated and angry and frustrated. And, perhaps most of all, like nothing has changed.
Translation: Today we learned (again!) that America really, really hates smart, capable women. Apparently, the worst thing you can be in 2020 is a smart women. I’d just like to ask America one question…
Why do you hate strong women so much?
The only thing that won last night was the patriarchy and misogyny. Again. The two things that have no place in our society keep getting top billing and, well, I just don’t understand it. I never will, either.
For the majority of the presidential campaign season, we’ve seen much discussion surrounding this notion of electability — who’s got it, who doesn’t and who needs more of it to win.
But here’s the thing: Much of that discussion has been squarely reserved for the female candidates in the race. And now, with Amy Klobuchar ending her campaign, all talk of electability is aimed at Elizabeth Warren.
This notion of electability is such a trap, isn’t it? Female candidates like Warren are held to these unrealistically high standards — standards that we don’t hold male candidates to — hi, Bernie and Joe.
Plus, don’t even get me started on Bernie Bros. Of course, in the lead up to Super Tuesday, their vitriol about electability only intensified. Especially online.
Let’s take Bernie, for example…
He ran in 2016 and DIDN’T WIN
He had a HEART ATTACK just months ago
If Warren had just had a heart attack, people would be imploring her to drop out. And yet, people aren’t questioning Bernie’s electability. So all this talk about how she isn’t electable? Let’s call it out for the sexism that it is. It’s code for “not as competent as a man.” It’s code for “only men can be president.” It’s code for everything that candidates like Elizabeth Warren (and Hillary Clinton before her) have been fighting an uphill battle against for so long.
As a woman, I’m tired and I keep asking myself: When? If not now, when? It’s time for a woman president. We need a woman president…
Call it identity politics if you want. I call it voting in line with my interests as a woman and I’m pretty sure another old white man will never understand the issues women face.
Elizabeth Warren does. We need Warren.
I swear, if one more Bernie Bro tells me that Elizabeth Warren can’t win and I should give my vote to Bernie. But guess what? Bernie — or any male candidate — isn’t entitled to my vote. This idea that a woman should just step aside and make space for a man is peak male entitlement. It’s the same type of rhetoric we heard in 2016 and a woman went on to win the popular vote.
I wasn’t here for this in 2016 and I’m not here for this in 2020. How much longer are we going to let history repeat itself?
So, yes, you can call her poor performance “just politics” if you want. I call it misogyny. And I’m really not here for the mansplaining I’ve seen today, y’all. Also, not any other day, for that matter.
My writer friend and editor Heather Wood Rudulph wrote a great piece on electability that gets right to the heart of the matter. As she writes…
Who has performed better under pressure and media-prescribed “ruin” than Elizabeth Warren? No one. Who has displayed more moxy and intellectual furor when faced with a belligerent white, male opponent whose last name starts with B? No one. Who has failed to cower even once, and has been able to articulate her many good ideas over and over again, admitting which ones still need work? Her. Who has ACTUALLY apologized for past mistakes or ignorance rather than excused them away like every other candidate? Her. Who calls her supporters, has the best one-liners on any debate stage, and befriends Jonathan Van Ness? Elizabeth Warren!
Reminder: She’s electable if you VOTE FOR HER.
In the end, what happened on Super Tuesday is about so much more than just the here and now in 2020. Unfortunately, something tells me that we’ll be feeling the ripples for years to come. And it’s the next generation that’s going to be particularly affected. Young girls deserve to see strong women in leadership — and especially in the highest office in the land. They need those role models. Elizabeth Warren is a wonderful role model. It’s a shame that so many people didn’t feel the same way…
P.S. My op-ed in The Independent about Elizabeth Warren on The View…
Wonderful thought-provoking article!
I have to say that I am surprised Elizabeth Warren did not gain more votes. She seems exactly what the Democrats were looking for: anti-gun, pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ, and a woman. But I have not seen a woman candidate yet that shares the same values as I do. And until then, I will keep voting for, how did you say it, “another old white man.” But when I do find a woman who holds my values, I will do all I can to get her elected as President of the United States.
Rand Daley says
As a father or two daughters I would like to see my daughters interests reflected in who we elect to office. I’ve emailed the Elizabeth Warren campaign and urged that she stay in the race so women everywhere can have someone to vote for that will clearly represent their interests. I hope she does (stay in). Good article! Thank you.
Thank you for writing this! I too feel angry and disheartened, frustrated that our best candidate was never taken seriously enough just because that candidate is a woman. Liz is the one who can do it all – take down trump and actualize the progressive policy we need so badly. I am entirely with you, Melissa: Bernie – or any male candidate – is not entitled to my vote. I filled out my IL ballot before Super Tuesday – I wanted to vote for who I want to be president before the results messed with my head.
I really liked Elizabeth Warren at one time until she started with her meanness towards Michael Bloomberg. She was incredibly disgusting and disrespectful to her colleague. Bloomberg ran NYC very well, in fact he was elected three times. NYC loved Bloomberg Democrats and Republicans. I just don’t get it. Even before that, she just seemed sort of crazy screaming all the time and angry at everyone who worked and made a lot of money. She makes a lot of money!! I just saw it a bit too divisive. There is a way to lay out plans that don’t have to divide everyone and make high earning people “bad people”. (Btw, I’m middle) Everyone is this country wants to earn more money to pay their bills, buy whatever, go out, travel, etc, .. it is not bad to become high wager!! It is part of the American system. Now, there is nothing wrong with fixing some things to “help” others in society because together America can become better, I get it, fix the tax system., just stop the divisiveness and be thankful those high earners are able to provide those tax revenues!
The nastiness was off putting and the hands up in the air yelling and threatening to come up with something to reel someone in, is not what America wants. They told her last night loud and clear. It had nothing to do with misogyny at all. She had it good regarding coverage. Apparently, she/her people had Matthews fired because they didn’t like him questioning her? Seriously? Come on, we women can take a bit more than that… and also her lies about being fired for being pregnant. There is a tape in which she says, she left to stay home with the kids.
“she just seemed sort of crazy screaming all the time and angry at everyone who worked and made a lot of money. She makes a lot of money!! I just saw it a bit too divisive. There is a way to lay out plans that don’t have to divide everyone and make high earning people “bad people”. (Btw, I’m middle) Everyone is this country wants to earn more money to pay their bills, buy whatever, go out, travel, etc, .. it is not bad to become high wager!!”
If you substitute “she” for “he” you just perfectly described Bernie to a “T”. And yet he doesn’t get the same criticism for his screaming and rants and literally saying he hopes the day comes when there are no billionaires in this country.
100% misogyny, and I don’t say that lightly. She was the best person for the job and once again the scared little people of this country had to go with the old white man.
Thank you Hayley, for replying. It is interesting, that you replaced her name for Bernie, yet if the article would have been about the misogyny towards Bernie (haha, men do get away with more, I agree, yet this case i don’t believe this is about that) I would have responded in the same way. My point was that, she wasn’t chosen by the people because of these other divisive choices she made. I would never vote for Bernie for that reason and for his affinity for the Castro regime for years. His attraction to communism and brutal regimes that censored the liberties of the people is worrisome. His votes in Congress are worrisome, and he has given some lame excuses, which had it been Hillary, she would have been put through senate trials!!
Bernie is worse. The excitement for Bernie is based on lies and emotion, nothing more. He has done nothing and accomplished nothing. A lot of people went with Biden after Buttigieg and Amy dropped out. Buttigieg was really liked because he was hopeful. Amy was really liked because she had some plans and was not divisive until she started the pettiness with Pete. People just don’t like that with colleagues, —do that with the opposite party. It is not about misogyny, it is about growing up, leading a country of Democrats **and Republicans…** and Independents because we are all Americans, not only Democrats.
Carol Wong says
I feel so sad, she is my favorite. I feel that her candidacy is being thrown away. I know that she would a great president! I am 73 and I was hoping that we would finally have a woman president. I am with you!
Annie Chace says
Thanks for writing this.