Yesterday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York became the first women to drop out…
Elizabeth Warren is out. Three things to keep in mind.
Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren ended her presidential bid. The only woman still campaigning is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, though she does not have a strong path to victory after Super Tuesday’s results. It seems inevitable that, despite starting with the most diverse field of candidates in Democratic primary history, the Democratic Party will have a white male nominee for president. With the exit of the last viable women candidate from the race, here’s what we’re keeping in mind:
Women are held to a different and higher standard when it comes to showcasing qualifications.
Warren is a prime example of this. Throughout the campaign, she’s operated at the highest level, and drove the conversation around policy. “I have a plan for that” was her motto, and she had the proof on her website. Yet, her qualifications were consistently challenged in a different way than her male counterparts’ were. For example, Warren showed early on how she would pay for her policies (through her “wealth tax”), but Senator Bernie Sanders, who embraced similar policies, wasn’t expected to show the same detailed plans.
The idea that women aren’t electable is a myth, but only if voters believe it is.
Democratic primary voters expressed a constant worry that a woman wouldn’t be able to beat Trump. As the Executive Director of BLFF, Nicole Carlsburg, wrote, “[A woman candidate] can only show electability by… being elected. And because the last women nominated for president lost, the idea seems to be that the next woman candidate will also lose.”
Electability has been a code word for sexism throughout 2020, and 8 in 10 voters reject the idea that America isn’t ready for a woman president. BLFF research has show that the idea that women are not as electable as their male counterparts is a myth. However, this election showed that even myths can be very powerful deterrents for voters at the ballot box.
Just because women didn’t win at the ballot box this time doesn’t mean we aren’t making progress.
Six women, four of whom are sitting United States Senators and two of whom are women of color, ran for president this cycle. For the first time in US history, there was more than one woman candidate on the presidential debate stage at the same time. Each of the women in the 2020 race broke barriers, challenged stereotypes, and helped us reimagine what a presidential candidate looks like. For the first time ever, women candidates had a chance to show up on the campaign trail as individuals, not as the token female, and that’s something to celebrate.