Between contractions, Erin Maye Quade delivered her speech at the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party convention this past weekend. Every 15 to 20 minutes, Maye Quade stepped off the stage to go through a contraction and then returned to the convention floor, ready to talk with party members and convince them to nominate her over opponent Justin Emmerlich.
At first glance, this might feel like an example of Girl Bossing it — of showing the boys how tough we ladies can be. You want a leader who stays tough when the going gets tough? Look no further than a woman who can go between labor contractions and outlining her policy plans!
But while there is no denying how impressive Maye Quade’s feat was, as Jezebel author Gabrielle Bruney notes, she shouldn’t have been in this predicament in the first place. And it ultimately ended in an unfair defeat.
According to CBS News, Maye Quade went into labor around 2 a.m. Saturday, just hours before the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party convention. Her campaign manager Mitchell Walsted confirmed that she showed up while actively in labor and gave her speech in hopes of earning the party’s critical nomination.
The convention involves multiple rounds of voting by delegates. Once a candidate reaches 60 percent of the votes, they receive the endorsement. Maye Quade made it through the first round of voting when she absolutely had to go to the hospital to have her baby.
At this point, it was clear neither she or her opponent Justin Emmerlich would outright win the endorsement, so Maye Quade personally tried to appeal to her opponent Emmerlich to suspend balloting and go to a primary after first ballots were cast.
In order for the convention to be suspended, the motion would have to be supported by a two-thirds vote of the party, and Maye Quade felt that would not happen without Emmerlich’s support.
Emmerlich refused. Ultimately, Maye Quade chose to withdraw from the endorsement process.
"She was not forced out, but she chose to [leave] because with endorsing process, there's often a lot of change that can happen between one ballot and the next, and a lot of persuasion can happen if there's no decided candidate after that first round,” Walsted added.
Emma McBride, political director of Women Winning, told HuffPost that Emmerlich declined to stop the convention. Emmerlich then reached out via the Huffpost’s comment section.
“I was on my way to talk to my floor manager to verify this information when Erin pulled me aside. She asked if I would be willing to suspend the convention and take the race to a primary since it appeared to be about even. I responded by saying I hadn’t verified the count yet and would get back to her. She said that was fine. However, before I was able to speak with her again, she made the decision to suspend her campaign,” he said in the comments.
“Had there been a formal request from Erin or any of the delegates to suspend the convention in order to hold it at a later date I would have agreed, however no such request or motion was made,” he said. “I continue to believe an endorsement is in the best interest of our efforts to keep this seat in DFL hands and to flip the Senate in November.”
Emmerlich “won” the nomination.
Okay, even if Maye Quade or her team didn’t use official language to request a motion to postpone, doesn’t it make sense to postpone a convention if one of the candidates requires immediate hospitalization? If this were a male candidate showing symptoms of a heart attack or kidney stone, would he be expected to submit a formal request to postpone the convention, or would that simply be assumed? And if the answer is “it would simply be assumed,” why wasn’t it assumed for Maye Quade?
Many were quick to note how absolutely bonkers it is that the party, along with her male opponent, had no qualms continuing the convention when one of the candidates, a Black woman, clearly needed to go to the hospital.
And, no matter how Emmerlich frames it, it’s not like Maye Quade had much of a choice in terms of continuing to stay at the convention. “She had to choose A. give birth or B. stay in the race. Was that an actual choice?” one Twitter user rhetorically asked.
The good news is that Maye Quade was able to safely deliver her healthy baby girl at 2 a.m. Sunday. The bad news is like all systems in the U.S., the political machine is set up to benefit those already in power, while a Black woman and a mom is set up to fail.