Super Tuesday is over. Looks like everyone in America will have the opportunity to vote for some old man come November.
This weekend, a woman told me she thought Elizabeth Warren was probably the smartest candidate, but that she couldn’t win because she rubbed men the wrong way. They don’t like her, she said. She comes on too strong.
Let’s be clear about one thing: if Elizabeth Warren hadn’t neutralized Michael Bloomberg in two debates, I’m not sure either of the current frontrunners would be doing as well as they are right now. She took down a real, pervasive threat to Biden and also kept the progressive fire off Bernie. And both men seemed just fine with her coming on strong to do that.
In fact, everyone’s fine when women come on strong as long as they are doing so on behalf of a man. Last night when an anti-dairy industry protestor rushed the stage at a Biden event, it wasn’t good old Joe who took care of things. No, it was wife Jill Biden and campaign adviser Symone Sanders who physically confronted the protestor and dragged her from the stage. So Biden can stand up to some mythical gang member called Corn Pop, but not to an overzealous vegan at a campaign rally?
Warren has spent this entire campaign cheerfully detailing plans to elevate the middle class and to root out corruption at the highest levels. She sends campaign emails featuring her dog Bailey, named for the Jimmy Stewart character in It’s a Wonderful Life. She smiles. She poses for thousands of selfies. She makes personal calls to small donors. What part of this is coming on too strong? What part of this is unlikable?
Warren is the daughter of working class parents, a mother, a former public school teacher turned Harvard professor turned U.S. Senator. She is an all-American success story, a woman who built a good life based on hard work, determination, grit, and common sense. She is the sort of woman we point to when we say to young girls, “you can do anything if you just work hard enough.” And she’s exactly the sort of woman girls will point to when they say, “no, we can’t, you won’t let us.”
We tell girls and women to stand up for themselves and to fight for what’s right, but we don’t mean it. What we really mean is that girls and women should fight as long as they are fighting alongside men and not against them. We cheer when two women throw themselves between a man and a protestor at a campaign rally, but we chastise a woman who tries to position herself between a bunch of men and the office of the president. And then we have the nerve to argue that it’s not because she’s a woman, but only because she’s herself.
Come November I’ll vote for the Democratic nominee, because the current occupant of the White House is dangerous and unqualified. Any of the Democratic candidates would be a marked improvement over a man who doesn’t understand that a vaccination for one virus cannot stand in as treatment for a different virus.
But these candidates had better think long and hard about their running mates and their message moving forward, because they will definitely need women working for them and fighting for them and coming on strong for them. I’m a lifelong Democratic voter and I’m not feeling so strong. Today I am uninspired by the trajectory of our party and of our nation. I don’t think I’m alone.