Research does show that women win elections overall at the same rate as men, but they have to clear more hurdles to do so. They have to be likable, whereas men don’t necessarily. They need to strike a balance between being confident and combative, but not too aggressive. Women have a harder time winning executive office, where they would be the primary decision-maker, than legislative office, according to research from the nonpartisan Barbara Lee Family Foundation. That might help explain why Warren’s loss comes after historic gains by women in Congress.
Words or phrases like “shrill” or “too ambitious” or “needy” followed Warren on the campaign trail, among voters and pundits. That’s the kind of “gendered language” Clinton is talking about: language, often with negative connotations, that is used almost exclusively to describe women.
Perhaps it’s not necessarily what Warren herself did but what she left behind in the race that has Democrats thinking: Now the race is down to two old white men, who will compete to try to defeat another old white man?
“It feels a little bit like a death knell in terms of having the prospect of women in our elections,” MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow said Thursday in an interview with Warren.