I confess that I can’t hear the question being asked amid the din of the crowd, although Biden’s answer is clear enough. But in any event, it’s a question that *should* be asked at one of the upcoming debates.
Put the candidates on record: How many genders are there?
My team just forwarded this video to me
Watch former Vice President Biden forcefully grab one of our young field staffers at yesterday’s Iowa State Fair after she asked him how many genders there are pic.twitter.com/1qmpJxJlzO
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) August 9, 2019
“How many genders are there?” is more salient to Democratic politics in 2019 than bans on contraception were to Republicans in 2012, when Mitt Romney was (in)famously asked by George Stephanopoulos at a primary debate whether he believed states should have the power to impose such bans. That was a reference to the fact that Rick Santorum had criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut, arguing that there’s no express right of privacy in the Constitution that should bar states from banning condoms. But even Santorum didn’t support bans on the merits and in any case it wasn’t Santorum who was being asked. It was Romney, seemingly out of the blue. “Contraception, it’s working just fine, just leave it alone,” Romney ended up saying, understandably baffled that Stephanopoulos would raise the issue on a big stage given that no one within the GOP of any prominence was pushing for a ban. Righties suspected that the question was a plant, concocted by the former Democratic operative Stephanopoulos to make Republicans seems suspicious on the issue to viewers watching at home. “Wait, do Republicans want to ban contraception now? They must, or else George wouldn’t be asking about it!”
That’s a long way of saying that the media is perfectly equipped and willing to ask questions of a presidential field on sex and health even when it might make them uncomfortable. And unlike contraception bans within the 2012 GOP, the question of how many genders there are actually is a matter of dispute within the Democratic Party circa 2019. Older, more traditional, working-class Dems — Biden voters, essentially — would likely seem puzzled by the question and say, “Two, of course.” Progressive answers would be more nuanced, aimed at reassuring trans activists that they believe gender is more fluid. So why not get everyone on record? Let the centrists in the field try to convince the left that gender is a binary thing. (Would any Democratic candidate, even the ostentatiously moderate Michael Bennet, dare try?) And let each of the candidates, starting with blue-collar Grandpa Joe, try to explain to Biden’s base of black voters and white geriatrics why they’re wrong to think of gender in terms of “men” and “women.” Let’s see how moderate Democrats and swing voters do digesting progressive cant that there are actually six genders or whatever.
I mean, do you think a guy prone to stumbles like this, never mind the “poor kid/white kid” flub last night, would handle that subject smoothly if called on to discuss it?
Biden referred to Theresa May as “Margaret Thatcher” tonight, the second time he’s done that since May.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 9, 2019
Precisely because we all have a decent idea of how the gender debate will be received by casual voters, it’s unlikely that our fair and balanced press will push Democrats on it. Which is why college students mingling with the candidates at events in Iowa will have to do it.
By the way, Biden’s comment at the end about being first on marriage — which seemed to confuse his questioner — is a reference to his support for gay marriage. He actually did endorse that policy as VP before Obama did, which helped nudge Obama into finally taking the plunge.