America waits with bated breath to see if Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will continue her presidential campaign or face the realism of her situation and withdraw. Stark desperation is swelling in the hearts of Democratic Party voters as those who favor a Biden presidency hope she will remain and split the Bernie vote on March 10, providing a greater delegate haul to the former VP, while those who prefer to see a Sanders victory pray she will step aside in time. Yet there is an almost subliminal message coming through the mainstream news and social media that Warren is not the prime candidate in this race because of that old, ugly beast: sexism.
Warren supporters are openly calling the division of Dem voters into two male-headed camps a sure sign of misogyny. The “ShePersisted” hashtag is making a comeback amid accusations and recrimination, but is it true? Is Warren the next victim in the slow march of the patriarchy, or is she buying the Kool-Aid of her own party’s paradoxes?
Right vs. Left
Since Donald Trump won the 2016 election, the political right has been mired in controversy regarding sexism. While such accusations have been leveled for far longer, the fever pitch reached a crescendo with the White House’s latest occupant. But in the case of Elizabeth Warren and the supposed backlash she is facing for being a woman, this is apparently a very new type of sexism – it comes from the left.
Anyone who hasn’t been in a prolonged coma this last decade will be well aware that accusations of low-level sexism have been alive and well on both sides of the aisle for a long time, yet the topic is so rarely spoken about when it comes from Democrats. How will Democrat voters eventually reconcile themselves to voting for a candidate (almost certainly Biden or Sanders) they believe has engaged in sexism to keep a female candidate from becoming the nominee?
When the primaries are over, and there is inevitably a man leading the party into battle against President Trump, voters will have to accept the fact that (in their minds) they are playing a role in supporting a patriarchal system that has done its best to deny women their rightful place. They will have no moral high ground to retreat to this time.
A Sign of Things to Come
Writing for Gen.Medium.com, feminist author Jessica Valenti put forward an idea that is quickly gaining ground as the dominant narrative. She wrote:
“Pundits will all have their theories; fears over “electability” will likely be their #1 explanation. Don’t tell me this isn’t about sexism. I’ve been around too long for that.”
She may be right, but leftists are the ones engaged in the supposed discrimination. The Democratic Party has reveled in being known as the party of diversity; its high priests have called down the punishment of the gods on those who do not follow the words they preach. The problem is their evangelizing is little more than rhetoric from a street corner savior.
Democrats may have started this primary season with a diverse bunch of candidates, but those with any sense of realism knew from the start that this would likely be a coronation of Biden, or another white male.
Looking In The Wrong Place
Valenti finishes her article with a tale that is sure to tug at the heartstrings. She relates:
As for me, I need a minute. Last night, my nine-year-old daughter came over to me because I looked upset. When I told her I was sad because I felt like I would never see a woman be president, she told me, “Well, you’ll see at least one — me.”
I want her to be able to hold on to that optimism because the truth is that I’m fresh out of hope to give her.
If we look across the pond to Britain, we can see the same story played out. The left accuses the right of promoting a patriarchal machine that thinks diversity is a dirty word, but it is on the political right that women are leading from the front. The U.K. has had two female Conservative Party prime ministers, Maggie Thatcher and Theresa May, the current Home Secretary is Priti Patel – not only a woman, but of Indian heritage (real Indian, not Warrenesque Indian) – and many Conservative frontbench ministers are also of the fairer sex.
Yet the accusations from Jeremy Corbyn and his party (which has never had a female leader) keep on coming. The voting public look on with bewilderment as the left attacks female leaders with one breath and accuses the right of sexism with the next.
Perhaps Warren’s failure to succeed in the primary race is not, after all, due to sexism. The majority of Americans are female, women vote in greater numbers than men, so why did she not gain traction? Could it be because she is not a particularly appealing candidate? She lacks the “safe moderate” persona of Joe Biden and the revolution-driven fervor of Bernie Sanders. Warren chose the middle road and found that it leads nowhere.
The fact is, Valenti is likely to see a female president in her lifetime, it just may not be under the Democrat banner.
Read more from Mark Angelides.