Now that the New York Times has endorsed both of the remaining women in the top tier of the Democratic primary race, all the men in the hunt are rushing to make sure you know that they don’t have a misogynistic bone in their bodies. (And that even includes Bernie Sanders.) But one of the wealthy dark horse candidates, billionaire Tom Steyer, wants everyone to know who the real members of the He Man Woman Haters Club are. Steyer, like the rest of the candidates, took questions on Sunday about challenges facing female candidates. Without specifying specifically who he was talking about, he expressed some despair about the state of our union, hoping that “at least half” of the country isn’t comprised of a bunch of raging misogynists. (Associated Press)
Democratic presidential candidates spent the weekend grappling with how to address questions surrounding sexism and gender bias as they sought to balance support for women against concerns of a political blowback.
After his wife went public with her own experience of sexual assault at the hands of her doctor, businessman Andrew Yang said that “our country is deeply misogynist.” Other White House hopefuls, however, didn’t go so far. Billionaire Tom Steyer said that while systemic sexism exists, he “hopes” half of America is not misogynistic.
So you know which half of the country are misogynists, right? It’s the (roughly) half that didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and probably won’t vote for Warren or Klobuchar if either of them manages to snag the nomination this time.
Of course, that’s the way identity politics is played these days and, frankly, has been for some time now. If you didn’t vote for Clinton, it must be because you don’t think women are up to the task. It couldn’t be because of a disagreement over the policies she was pushing or your views on gun rights, abortion, taxes or anything else. You must be a misogynist. Similarly, if you failed to vote for Obama you have to be a racist by definition. It’s all too tedious for words.
Someone who didn’t handle the question very well was Bernie Sanders. He did a lengthy interview with NPR in Vermont and was similarly asked if female candidates face special challenges not shared by their male counterparts. Sanders said yes, that was true. But he then went on to say, “I think everybody has their own sets of problems. I’m 78 years of age. That’s a problem.”
He then went on to note that age concerns could also be a challenge for 38-year-old former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, saying “if you’re looking at Buttigieg, he’s a young guy.”
“And people will say, well he’s too young to be president. You look at this one, she’s a woman,” Sanders said. “So everybody brings some negatives if you’d like. I would just hope very much that the American people look at the totality of a candidate, not at their gender, not at their sexuality, not at their age, but at everything. Nobody is perfect. There ain’t no perfect candidate out there.”
Oh, Bernie. That’s not how the game is played and that’s not the answer the liberal media outlets are looking for. You’re supposed to just say, yes, it’s tougher for female candidates. And you leave it at that. By adding in your own “problems” you make it all about you.
Also, Sanders stuck his foot in his mouth by describing the status of being female as “a problem” and a case of “bringing some negatives.” I think everyone agrees that a candidate who is almost 80 could have a potential problem unless he or she can show that they still have all of their mental acuity and robust physical health. And people might even agree that a candidate as young as Buttigieg might face questions about whether they are experienced enough, so that too could be a problem. But no reasonable person thinks that merely having been born with ovaries is “a problem” in terms of being able to do the job.
Anyway, we’re closing in on the first primary votes in a couple of weeks, so this crew will be scrambling and wrestling with these issues until the last minute. And all of you misogynists out there from the other half of the country can just break out the popcorn and enjoy the show.