The nurturing spotlight that helps to grow a frontrunner now shines in abundance on the men — especially “the Bs” of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg — who are ballyhooed as being, respectively, more stately and “electable;” more prescient in their policy; more charismatic; and more wonkish, but, like, in a sexy appealing way. The truths about each of these men’s merits and accomplishments — especially in relation to the women they’re running against (all of whom haven’t yet lost a major election) — remains eminently debatable. The more pressing — and distressing — question is how the “year of the woman” became a calendar spread of ever-increasing, ever-indistinguishable white dudes. The great blooming of “women’s anger” — though it is the root of the organizing and advocacy of #TheResistance and yielded big fruit in the midterms — seems to be withering on the stem.
How can this be?
Firstly, there seems to be a palpable difference in how voters view women running for legislative offices vs. women running for executive offices. This tracks with what Democratic media strategist Danny Barefoot has observed. “The lower the rung of power you get, the more comfortable voters are with women in positions of power,” he tells The Week. “I don’t think people view their Congress person as the most important person in the world; it’s not an executive position. But then you start getting into really high-level offices, and I think you see this in governor races as well, where folks are just a little bit more hesitant.”