Perhaps the strongest piece of evidence for her argument is the 2018 midterm elections, when women won a record number of seats in Congress, beat out male opponents in key swing states including Florida and Pennsylvania, and earned greater representation in the U.S. Senate and governors’ mansions across the country. The Democratic Party’s recent successes, she said, are owed to women candidates and women voters.

Warren’s answer was met with loud cheers from the debate audience at Drake University. But her strategy is more significant than any one applause line.

In the three years since Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Trump, pundits and political watchers have spent endless hours parsing the role of sexism in that election. Clinton was widely hated on the right for a number of political and historical reasons, but many of her supporters believed at least part of that hatred stemmed from misogyny and a deeply held belief among American voters than a woman can’t be president.