That’s what Elizabeth Warren must mean, right? The now-exited presidential candidate failed to win any contests at all in the 2020 cycle and finished third in her own home state of Massachusetts — in Democratic Party contests, that is. When asked earlier today whether her gender played a role in the outcome, Warren declared it a “trap question,” and proceeded to step into the trap anyway:
Warren on sexism in the 2020 race: "That is the trap question for every woman. If you say yeah, there was sexism in this race, everyone says, 'Whiner.' And if you say no, there was no sexism, about a bazillion women think, 'What planet do you live on?'" https://t.co/7eG9ZYlQsW pic.twitter.com/zMy5ohtbgd
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 5, 2020
Reuters expanded the concept to generalized bigotry in its report:
The vague notion of “electability,” a frequent buzzword on the campaign trail as Democrats prioritized defeating Trump over all other concerns, seemed to hurt Warren and non-white male candidates.
“The general narrative was that the women might be too risky, and I think there were people who heard that enough that it started showing up in polling … and becomes a vicious cycle that was hard to break out of,” said Christina Reynolds, vice president of communications at EMILY’s List, which works to elect women supporting abortion rights and had endorsed Warren.
Asked on Thursday about the role that gender played in the campaign, Warren said it was a tricky issue for female candidates to address.
“That is the trap question for every woman. If you say, ‘Yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner!’” she said, in front of her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “If you say, ‘No, there was no sexism,’ about a zillion women say, ‘What planet do you live on?’”
Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin … Or do we need to begin at all? Democrats are being hoist by their own petard here, thanks to their incessant declarations of fidelity to an ambiguous standard of Diversity and Inclusivity in the early part of the cycle. They tried to mine as much political gold they could by pandering to identity politics, up to and including Warren’s ludricrous declaration that a random transgender adolescent she met on the campaign trail would have veto power over her choice of Secretary of Education.
More seriously, let’s start with Warren’s performance in her own home state. In exit polls taken on Super Tuesday, Warren only scored 24% among women who voted; Biden got 34% of women, followed by 26% for Sanders. Are 76% of Massachusetts Democratic women sexist for not preferring Warren? If so, Minnesota Democratic women are worse, since only 19% of them voted for Warren. And Vermont women maybe the worst of all, with only 16% challenging Teh Paytreearckee.
It’s time for Warren and her supporters to face facts, Christine Rosen writes at Commentary today. Warren didn’t lose because of her gender, and her gender didn’t lose because Warren did. This was about candidate quality, full stop:
Just look at The Atlantic’s attempt to frame the end of the Warren campaign: “Who could have predicted that Elizabeth Warren would fall so far?” The answer is simple: Anyone who wasn’t fan-girling her from day one, which too much of the mainstream media did. Voters were fed a steady diet of puff pieces featuring her loyal husband and cute dog, as well as flattering profiles depicting her as the smart person’s choice because, although she was reform-minded, she wasn’t a fire-breathing socialist like Bernie Sanders.
The disappointment these supporters now feel requires rationalization (and someone to blame), and the obvious but incorrect culprit? Sexism. As feminist writer Jessica Valenti wrote in a woe-is-women post for Medium, “It’s enough to make me feel, well, despairing: that we had the candidate of a lifetime—someone with the energy, vision, and follow-through to lead the country out of our nightmarish era—and that the media and voters basically outright erased and ignored her. Pundits will all have their theories; fears over ‘electability’ will likely be their #1 explanation. Don’t tell me this isn’t about sexism. I’ve been around too long for that.”
Valenti and her ilk have an odd definition of “erased.” Warren (and Klobuchar) were endorsed by the New York Times, and Warren logged the most speaking time during several of the major televised debates. As for sexism, wasn’t the Democrats’ last candidate for president a woman?
The real reason Warren’s campaign foundered was more mundane: she failed to win supporters among non-white, non-college educated Democratic voters. Her fan base was always made up of the same kind of people who dominate the national media: well-educated, progressive-leaning white people. News flash: This is not the majority of America, nor even the majority of self-identified Democratic voters. This is why she couldn’t even win over female Democratic voters in her own state. As the New York Times noted, “Even among her strongest demographic group—white college-educated women—Ms. Warren had just 33 percent support, not nearly enough to offset her weakness with other groups.”
Elizabeth Warren didn’t have a gender problem; she had a trust and authenticity problem. Her multiple fabulations about her personal history, including a false claim that she was fired because she was pregnant and the infamous and repeated efforts to pass herself off as Native American, undermine her narrative of being a truth-telling, incorruptible champion of the people. As well, she opportunistically embraced intersectionality politics (such as her claim that a trans person would vet whomever she might choose as her Secretary of Education and her attempts to paint Bernie Sanders as a raging sexist) in a way that was likely off-putting for more moderate Democratic voters.
If Warren and her supporters are correct about sexism being the reason for her loss, then women should learn a lesson from it: Stay out of the Democratic Party. Run as Republicans! And if sexism is truly their main fight, Republicans will look forward to these same women and their supporters endorsing Nikki Haley’s 2024 run for the GOP nomination.
Update: At some point, they’ll realize they’re talking about voters in their own party, right? Right?
Part of the reason we won't have a woman president in 2020 is because our voters are misogynist.
LOL. Let her keep talking. Please, let her keep talking. pic.twitter.com/RU5aeWYJbJ
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) March 5, 2020