How did a mid-town mayor end up more popular than several US Senators in the Democratic presidential nomination? Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has a theory, and it’s called teh patriarchy. Never mind that Buttigieg himself has a claim on an identity-politics argument as the first openly gay candidate to make a serious run at the nomination. Klobuchar tells CNN’s Jake Tapper on yesterday’s State of the Union that a woman mayor would never have been taken this seriously.

“Maybe we’re held to a different standard,” Klobuchar laments. By, er, Democratic voters? Oooooo-kay:

TAPPER: Do you think Buttigieg is qualified, period?

KLOBUCHAR: Yes.

TAPPER: OK.

KLOBUCHAR: But let me explain why I think I am the better candidate. And, by the way, we get asked this all the time. Welcome to politics. And that’s what was in that article. Various candidates get asked about each other all the time. And I made what I think was a cogent case. And that is that I’m the one from the Midwest that’s actually won in a statewide race over and over again, including bringing in those voters that just voted in Kentucky, those kind of voters, just voted in Virginia, brought them over the edge, so that we had strong leaders that were able to win those elections. Those are the kind of voters I have won. And that’s not true of Mayor Pete. That’s just a fact.

TAPPER: Right.

KLOBUCHAR: I also am someone that has passed multiple bills as the lead Democrat, important bills in Washington, D.C. He’s had a different experience. We should be able to have those debates about candidates without being accused of being negative. All this is are, questions were asked. And the last point I made in that article was that, of the women on the stage — I’m focusing here on my fellow women senators, Senator Harris, Senator Warren and myself. Do I think that we would be standing on that stage if we had the experience that he had? No, I don’t. Maybe we’re held to a different standard.

But my goal here is to get the best candidate to lead the ticket. I believe that’s me. That is why I have been able to attract the kind of support that I have in the early states. And I am doing this the right way, running a grassroots campaign.

Remember that these numbers are coming from polls of Democratic primary voters. Kamala Harris called them racist last month, and now Klobuchar is calling them sexist. It’s tough being a Democrat these days, it seems.

Tapper teed this up by mentioning a New York Times report on Saturday that described the rising resentment of Buttigieg among the contenders. Klobuchar went on the record with her frustration over Buttigieg’s rise, especially after Mayor Pete described the primaries as “getting to be a two-way [race]” with Elizabeth Warren. Joe Biden just “smirked” at the comment, but it apparently dug deep under Klobuchar’s skin:

Senator Kamala Harris of California, whose fall in public polling has come at the expense of Mr. Buttigieg’s rise, called the comment “naïve” Sunday during an interview on CBS.

It’s an annoyance that has been building slowly since the summer. Asked in June about Mr. Buttigieg’s qualifications to be president relative to the female candidates in the race, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was unsparing in her assessment.

“Could we be running with less experience than we had? I don’t think so,” she said. “I don’t think people would take us seriously.”

Kamala Harris’ fall is entirely due to Kamala Harris’ incompetence as a candidate. She got a brief boost by taking a cheap shot at Biden over busing, only to pull a Dan Quayle when Tulsi Gabbard ripped her in the next debate. Harris can’t decide what she believes and why she’s running. No one ever had the stars lined up for a candidate like Harris, especially with California’s move up in the primary, and did more to blow it. In her home state, where she’s won three statewide contests, Harris is currently a distant fourth, just ahead of Buttigieg.

Klobuchar’s argument isn’t much better on its other merits. Yes, Mayor Pete came out of nowhere, but it’s not as though he’s the only candidate with little experience. Klobuchar and her female Senate cohort are still running way ahead of Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer, for instance. Both she and Harris are ahead of male senators Cory Booker and Michael Bennet too, which doesn’t seem like a patriarchy-ish polling result. Elizabeth Warren is vying for the top spot between Biden and Bernie Sanders, while Buttigieg is still relatively far back in single digits nationally. The highest Buttigieg has in any national poll aggregated by RealClearPolitics is 10%, and that only twice.

The reason that Buttigieg is catching a little wind in his sails is because Democrats appear to be offering 17 flavors of Establishment Butter Brickle. Klobuchar’s among them too, part of the same Beltway clique that voters rejected in 2016. The bigger question isn’t whether Democratic primary voters are sexist, but why Democrats aren’t paying attention to the populist moment and finding someone far outside the Beltway to challenge Trump.