Why aren’t women voting for women?
Sean, Durham, N.C.: Look at the gender breakdowns in Super Tuesday’s results. The gulf between women who voted for Elizabeth Warren and men who voted for other candidates is so significant that to assume anything but sexism would be to deny reality. Warren is objectively the most competent progressive to run for president in the 2020 election cycle. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar were the most competent moderates to run.
The saddest part of all of this is that women, too, have been habituated and socialized to dismiss female candidates for the same sexist reasons men use to justify their preferences for old white male candidates.
MC: I agree. It would be less depressing, though perhaps more enraging, if gender bias could be chalked up to sexist men clinging to their prerogatives. But it is just as much about the subtle biases, and fears, of women. This cycle, the whole question of other people’s perceptions of a candidate — who was likable, who was too risky — weighed extra heavily on voters. This may have been true of women even more than men (as one of the polls I cited found), in part because women have their own firsthand experiences to draw on. They know the double standards are real. Annnnd now I’m even sadder.