Yesterday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York became the first women to drop out…
Amy Klobuchar is out. Four things to keep in mind.
Today, news broke that Senator Amy Klobuchar plans to end her presidential bid. With Senator Klobuchar’s departure, and two women – Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard – still in the running, here’s what we’re keeping in mind:
The barriers are still higher for women running for executive office.
For 20 years, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation has consistently found that voters have been more comfortable supporting women who are running to be part of a deliberative body, like a legislature, than women who are running for executive positions. Despite research showing that women are just as electable as their male counterparts – and voters soundly rejecting the idea that America isn’t ready for a female president – women still need to do more than men to prove to voters that they’re qualified. It makes sense that one of Senator Klobuchar’s hallmarks on the campaign trail was saying she “had the receipts,” meaning that she had proven she could get results.
Having multiple women in the race makes a difference.
The Democratic primary race started with six women, shattering records. Each woman brought her own unique background and platform to the campaign trail. Having multiple women in the race allowed each women to run as an individual, rather than as the “token” woman. In their recent debate performances, Senators Klobuchar and Warren in particular demonstrated disagreement on several issues. Throughout the debates, Senator Klobuchar often showed how women can effectively distinguish their positions from those of their opponents; women face additional challenges when contrasting with their fellow candidates (of either gender) because voters expect them to remain “above the fray.”
Voters value bipartisan credentials.
Throughout her campaign, Senator Klobuchar spoke about her ability to work across the aisle and win voters in traditionally red districts. It’s worth noting that, even in this time of hyper-partisanship, voters still value those skills in a candidate. In fact, for a woman candidate, showcasing her bipartisan credentials is a necessity. Research shows that for many women candidates, the top trait that makes them seem both qualified and likeable in the eyes of voters is “worked with members of the other party.”
Humor can be a major asset when it comes to showcasing likeability.
Senator Klobuchar constantly used humor on the campaign trail, so much so that The New York Times featured an entire piece about it. Her joke about raising money from ex-boyfriends was infamous, and always got a laugh. BLFF research on humor has evolved over the years. While it used to be more difficult for women candidates to “be funny” because of voter reactions, women candidates can now use humor to help showcase their likeability, which we know is a nonnegotiable for women candidates.