Hillary Clinton’s defeat means nothing
So this year, Democrats are fielding perhaps the most impressive slate of women candidates for President ever. You have Tulsi Gabbard, who was the first woman to finish as the distinguished honor graduate in the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School’s 50-year history, and who served in a combat zone in Iraq. You have Kirsten Gillibrand, a distinguished attorney who speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently. You have Kamala Harris, a skilled prosecutor who showed her chops questioning Attorney General William Barr during his Congressional testimony. You have attorney Amy Klobuchar who was named Minnesota “Attorney of the Year.” You have Harvard professor and consumer rights advocate Elizabeth Warren. And rounding out the candidates is best-selling self-help author Marianne Williamson.
All of these candidates have met the high barrier required to be included in the first Democratic debate. Several of them, including Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, and Warren meet the high standard both based upon polling results and number of individual contributors.
And according to Real Clear Politics, Elizabeth Warren is running a strong third place behind only Biden and Sanders, who both have prior candidacies to build upon. And in at least one recent national poll, Warren is in second place behind only Biden.
The subtle misogyny of the Pete Buttigieg swoon
The young mayor of a small midwestern city is favored to win the Democratic nomination for President? Really?
This of course comes on the heels of the Pete Buttigieg swoon. And before that, Betomania. And everybody was holding their breath waiting for Joe Biden to announce.
What is the difference between these candidates the media seems ready to anoint and the six women gracing the top of this page? I don’t think I need to say it.
After all, why should Joe Biden be considered electable when he has lost numerous presidential races, he is old, and he has shown himself repeatedly to be an undisciplined candidate.
Why should socialist Bernie Sanders be deemed electable, when just calling him a socialist turns off most voters. And the lack of substance of both O’Rourke and Buttitieg is really galling. It’s to the point that David Leonhardt of The New York Times actually praised O’Rourke for proposing a climate change policy that was short on substance.
On the other hand, Elizabeth Warren defeated a popular Republican incumbent for the Senate. Both Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand have a history of winning Republican counties. None of these three have ever lost an election, in contrast with both O’Rourke and Biden.
The argument I keep hearing, though, is that since Hillary Clinton lost we can’t risk another female candidate. That argument, though, is absurd on its face. We could just as easily say that we cannot risk another white man as our candidate because Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, and Al Gore lost. To say that would be laughable.
Furthermore, some of the key states that the Democrats must win in 2020 have shown that they will elect women candidates. Consider Michigan, where Democratic women won every statewide office by comfortable margins in 2018. Or Wisconsin, which elected Democrat Sarah Godlewski State Treasurer. Or in Florida, where the highest elected Democrat in the state is a woman, the Agriculture Commissioner Nicole Fried.
We have to remember that Hillary Clinton was a singularly terrible candidate. Throughout the campaign, she was unable to define any kind of message — even she admits that. The memoir Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed 2016 Campaign tells the story of a campaign that was completely in chaos. Even Bill, who knows something about campaigning, was concerned about the campaign’s lack of focus. This is all on top of her difficulty connecting with people and her self-created crisis based upon her highly paid speeches to Wall Street. With all this to overcome, the Comey memo was just the last straw. What could have gone wrong in 2016 went wrong, and here we are.
To assume that any one of the various women candidates would be anything like Hillary Clinton is the worst kind of misogyny. Every one of them is, in fact, very different from her in almost every respect. They should be judged on their own individual merits, not on the failed campaign by another candidate.
I must admit that I hope we elect a woman President, just as I was four years ago. Part of the reason I continue with this hope is because people of all stripes still have a hard time imagining a woman as President. Similarly, however, before Barack Obama was elected, we had trouble imagining a black man as President. But until we finally elect a woman, that perception will continue.
Donald Trump is a historically unpopular President. We need a candidate who will excite voters, no matter what her gender. Rather than deciding who we should support in the hope that he can beat Trump, maybe we should decide to support the candidate who excites us.
Because after all, that is why we have primaries, to help determine which candidate is most electable through elections, rather than trying to make that determination with tea leaves.
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