Warren’s comment should put the whole ‘electability’ question to rest once and for all
Raise your hand if you feel like screaming into the void anytime a pundit or politician raises the whole “are women electable as President” bad-faith argument. Because it’s not only insultingly sexist, it’s unfounded. Thoroughly and completely unfounded. And Elizabeth Warren nailed exactly why that question should be put to rest once and for all during last night’s Democratic debate.
The latest question about Warren running for president comes from a comment allegedly made by her opponent, Bernie Sanders. During a meeting between the two of them back in 2018, Warren says Sanders told her he didn’t think a woman could be elected president. She, obviously, disagreed. He now denies he ever said it, but she’s still sticking to her story.
Now here’s the thing. Whether he said it or not isn’t worth the endless discourse it’s been garnering. Technically, he didn’t say he doesn’t want to see a woman become president. He said he didn’t think a woman could be president. The fear that a woman may not become elected is valid, given the disastrous outcome of the 2016 election. But though that fear may be valid, the question over whether a woman is actually electable is not.
“Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie,” she said after a moderator asked her about the remark she says Sanders made during their meeting. “But look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.”
Warren then pointed out that she and Senator Amy Klobuchar are the only two Democratic candidates on last night’s stage who had never lost an election.
“Look at the men on this stage: Collectively, they have lost 10 elections,” Ms. Warren said. “The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women, Amy and me.”
Also, guess who happens to be the only Democratic candidate running for president who has already beat an incumbent Republican in an election during the last 30 years? DING DING! Yep, it’s Elizabeth Warren.
If that alone isn’t enough to quell the patriarchal head-scratching over whether women can win elections, look at what happened during the 2018 mid-term election: women won. A lot of women won. Many for the first time. And Democrats were able to secure the majority in the House of Representatives because of those wins.
The 2016 election will haunt many of us for the rest of our lives, particularly when we step into a voting booth. But this faux incredulity over whether a woman can win the White House is hardly the first time the voting public has questioned the validity of a candidate, another fact that Warren perfectly highlighted last night.
“Back in the 1960s, people asked, ‘Could a Catholic win?’” she said. “Back in 2008, people asked if an African American could win. In both times, the Democratic Party stepped up and said yes, got behind their candidate, and we changed America. That is who we are.”