Is there a better time than the start of Women's History Month to tell women that the latest woman’s bid for the presidency is, well, history? We began the race for the Democratic nomination with a record six women candidates, and now we’re down to — well, not counting the unviable, unreliable Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D- Hawaii, who was always less likely to win this thing than anyone but Marianne Williamson — zero.
Remember that one flickering moment on Nov. 6, 2018, feeling something akin to hope, when 125 women were elected to office? It came on the heels of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton having earned nearly 3 million more people's votes than Donald Trump in the presidential election; a woman winning the White House had been within reach if not for the Electoral College. Many voters — not just women — appeared excited by the prospect of putting a woman in the Oval Office, like it was the perfect antidote to the misogyny of the alleged-sexual-harasser-in-chief.
But suddenly there was something wrong with each and every woman running. No one would seemingly forgive Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., for having the temerity to be the first to suggest that Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., might need to resign after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct in the age of #MeToo. (Apparently, victim-blaming is A-OK when those victims aren't liberal enough.)
Want more articles like this? Sign up for the THINK newsletter to get updates on the week's most important cultural analysis
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., the second African American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate, who had been praised for the way she put former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the hot seat during the Senate hearings over executive privilege (something she did a lot), was herself put in the hot seat for her record as a former attorney general of California. Kamala, it seems, was "a cop" — too establishment.
New Age writer (and anti-vaxxer/faith-healer) Marianne Williamson faded after a few fleeting moments of seeming wisdom at the debate podium, but mostly just wigged everyone out with her passive-aggressive holistic ways. And after duking it out with former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Las Vegas for her one moment in the spotlight in February, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., lost her Klomentum and decided to withdraw March 2 and back Biden in an effort to unite moderates.
And, of course, there was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., — the woman whom supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in 2016 said they would've voted for instead of Clinton. But by 2020, she was apparently shrill, too. Too planny — you know, like their moms. A secret moderate; a one-time Republican (like their hated Clinton). Insufficiently liberal on the issues because she knew what it would take to implement revolutionary policies instead of just talking 'bout the revolution.
Eventually, she wasn't really running for the nomination herself, but to take votes away from Sanders, vying for a brokered convention and jockeying for delegations to position herself as a vice presidential candidate to the presidential nominee. Really, you see, she was secretly plotting to jump on the Biden bandwagon. Voting for her, at some point — even though, at the dawn of Super Tuesday, she was as mathematically in contention, delegate-wise, as Sanders or former Vice President Joe Biden — was seen as just generally not a safe bet because after Biden overwhelmingly won South Carolina, he was poised to be the Democratic Party’s big hope in edging out not Trump but Sanders.
And so more voters than not got cold feet and decided the right thing to do was to pick between two elderly men: one with great big progressive ideas and a new heart problem; and the other with a long résumé as a moderate, an association with a beloved past president and apparent memory problems. Both felt, to me, a lot riskier than voting for a woman who is nearly 10 years younger and in excellent health with plans to realize some of the same big ideas — and even bigger ones. But, you know, no one asked me, a woman.
That's why the erasure of Warren —the smartest, most thoughtful and arguably best candidate for the presidency, with a plan for damn near everything— stings so much.
Voters have spoken, and we’re marching backward because — didn’t you know — now is not the time to select a woman to run against an unpopular, corrupt and impeached president. We need a fella for that.
But: If not now, when? Democratic primary voters apparently feel "safer" with elderly white men in the driver’s seat in November, even as a number of them are shouting "OK boomer" out the passenger window at the competition.
I suppose our best hope is that whoever the candidate is in the end — be it Biden or Sanders — they’ll choose a woman as their running mate, appoint some of these amazing women who had been running to an eventual Cabinet and maybe, just maybe, one will someday have an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that we are indeed ready for our first woman president.
In the meantime, I’ll be drinking out of my Warren-branded "Billionaire Tears" mug like it’s my job, wearing all of my “Warren Has a Plan For That” T-shirts until they’re absolutely threadbare, and summoning as much enthusiasm as I can muster to canvass for the Democrats running to take back the White House, overhaul the Senate and maintain the House. That’s my plan; I learned you have to have a plan for that, even if it doesn't work out like you hope.
• Elizabeth Warren's selfie with my daughter went viral because pinkie promises mean something
• Elizabeth Warren and the sexist hypocrisy of the 'likability' media narrative.
• "Game of Thrones" and Elizabeth Warren were both telling a story about modern American power