As Politico notes, thus far (only on the Democratic side, of course) there is a record number of (at least minimally viable) women running for president.
They are California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. (I listed them in what I perceive to be the order of each’s likelihood to actually garner the party’s presidential nomination.)
This is excellent. Women long have been woefully underrepresented in government.
However, for many reasons, I doubt that a woman will emerge as the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee.
First and foremost, perhaps, is the spectacular implosion of Billary Clinton in 2016. Of course, she never was a strong candidate anyway.
Primary voters and caucus-goers already had passed Billary over for Barack Obama in 2008, and in 2016, not only was she a widely despised candidate, a center-right sellout who never should have become the party’s nominee, but even up to Election Day, the nationwide polling had her up over Pussygrabber by only 3 fucking percentage points. With the anti-democratic Electoral College, that wasn’t nearly enough, as we well know now.
But it isn’t only The Shadow of Billary that’s the problem.
Kamala Harris has been in the U.S. Senate — and in D.C. — for a whopping two whole years. I don’t think that it’s her time yet. And don’t even get me started on her record as a “progressive prosecutor.”
Even here at home in California, while 58 percent of California Democrats said in a recent Quinnipiac University poll that they’d be excited if Harris won the presidential nomination, 60 percent said they’d be excited if Joe Biden won it. (Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren tied for third place, with 44 percent saying they’d be excited. [Even California is still pretty establishmentarian, hardly the hard-left state that it’s said to be.])
Also in that Quinnipiac poll, 40 percent of all California voters thought that Harris would make a good president, while 38 said she would not.
Having been in the Senate for only two years, Harris is relatively nationally unknown, and I don’t see her beating “President” Pussygrabber. A Politico/Morning Consult poll taken in August showed Pussygrabber garnering 26 percent to Harris’ 29 percent — way too close for comfort for me, especially since the same poll showed Bernie Sanders getting 44 percent to Pussygrabber’s 32 percent and Joe Biden getting 43 percent to Pussygrabber’s 31 percent.
Warren doesn’t do very well against Pussygrabber, either; she got 34 percent to his 30 percent — again, way too close for comfort for me. (I feel comfortable with a candidate who is beating Pussygrabber in the nationwide match-up polls by at least 10 percentage points, thank you.)
In that August poll, Kirsten Gillibrand loses to Pussygrabber by 5 percentage points, probably a function of the fact that she’s so unknown (as well as her having been smugly instrumental in sinking former U.S. Sen. Al Franken).
Tulsi Gabbard, having been only a U.S. representative whose positions (past and present) have turned many off, has a snowball’s chance in hell anyway, so talking about her record and positions is pretty pointless.
We could throw caution to the wind and make any of these female candidates the 2020 nominee, but do we want to make a statement or actually win the 2020 presidential election? Because the presidential match-up polling thus far indicates that we can’t do both.
Nationwide polling strongly indicates that the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee is going to be Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, although I don’t count Harris out, especially if she can hold her current position at No. 3.
But I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: The more crowded the Democratic field, it seems to me, the more this will benefit Bernie Sanders, who will gain the lion’s share of the progressive/actually Democratic vote (especially if Warren doesn’t gain traction and thus drops out, which I expect to be the case), while the establishmentarians/Democrats in name only splinter the field even further.
So I still say: Jump in! The water is warm! The more the merrier!
P.S. I am well aware of the criticism “A Woman, Just Not That Woman,” the title of a timely New York Times piece, which begins:
In the words of her detractors during the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton was abrasive and shrill. She was aloof. She was unlikable.
It’s not a coincidence that some of these adjectives are now bubbling up in discussions of Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris as they campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Few Americans acknowledge they would hesitate to vote for a woman for president — but they don’t have to, according to researchers and experts on politics and women and extensive research on double standards in campaigns.
Reluctance to support female candidates is apparent in the language that voters frequently use to describe men and women running for office; in the qualities that voters say they seek; and in the perceived flaws that voters say they are willing or unwilling to overlook in candidates. …
Absolutely the playing field isn’t even where biological sex is concerned, and whether or not the wide American electorate is ready, willing and able to elect a woman as president when the president also is called the commander in chief is, in my book, an open question.
Nor is it fair that female presidential candidates face obstacles that many if not most male presidential candidates do not.
But let’s not change history: Billary Clinton was abrasive, shrill, aloof and unlikable. And a fucking liar and a human weather vane on crack.
To give just one example, I’ll never forget watching her, during a debate with Bernie Sanders — right after the state legislatures of California and New York both had raised those states’ minimum wage to $15 an hour — indicate that she always had supported $15 an hour (just like Bernie). I immediately went to her presidential campaign website, and it still advocated only $12 an hour, which is what she’d been advocating all along — until it became politically damaging to continue to do so.
Yet Billary was perfectly comfortable blatantly lying to the electorate on live national television and changing her political position on a dime when it became untenable.
To claim that those of us who rejected Billary Clinton — as the voters had rejected her also in 2008 — rejected her solely because of her biological sex is bullshit.
Further, I disagree with The New York Times’ suggestion that any female candidate for president thus far has been despised as much as was Billary, with the possible exception of Elizabeth Warren, although for different reasons; Warren, I surmise, is not attacked primarily because she is a woman but because she comes off as an egghead in an anti-intellectual environment. (And I wholly concede that the brouhaha over the Native American thing probably is, more than anything else, just a cover for the real motivation of attacking her because she’s smart.)
In the end, we can deal with how things are or how we wish them to be, and, again, we can make a statement or we can win a presidential election. The nation’s electorate is or is not ready for our first female president, no matter how much and no matter what exactly any of us might argue over the matter.
In the meantime, we still need to move that needle, and five (at least minimally viable) women (sorry, Marianne Williamson — love ya, but come on…) thus just running for president is moving that needle, is opening the Overton window further and further.
I don’t believe in unnecessarily deferring the dream even further, but I also would very much like “President” Pussygrabber not to have a second term.