Has there been a female Democrat running for any national office in the past, oh, twenty years that FOX and hate radio and the conservative right haven’t characterized as an evil, hysterical, shrill, unAmerican, unqualified, unlikable, unelectable harpy? No, and the upcoming presidential election will be no exception. But despite the fact that this misogynist form of character assassination worked just well enough to keep Hillary Clinton from the White House (with overwhelming help from Russia), it’s reasonable to conclude that the Party Who Cried Harpy has exhausted all its mojo in the era of Me Too. There are many exceptional women running for president in 2020 and they are not all bitches from Hell, as much as conservatives will try to paint them that way.
Elizabeth Warren announced her candidacy yesterday, and while she may or may not be the best candidate to take on Trump, as a brilliant policy formulator and effective communicator she towers over all of last cycle’s Republican contenders and is far more competent and qualified to be commander in chief than Donald Trump. In fact, the same can be said for all of the women who have announced thus far, including Amy Klobuchar who is expected to announce today.
There are a lot of great male candidates in this cycle too, and if one becomes the nominee it would be easy to for vote any them over Don The Con. But it’s starting to feel like the 2020 Democratic nominee will turn out to be one of the women. It’s very early, but a narrative is emerging that only a woman can clean up the epic mess that Trump and his wrecking crew have created. While that narrative itself has an obvious sexist dimension, it’s also true that women have been particularly brutalized by the Trump regime, whether in the treatment of women’s reproductive rights and hostility toward Planned Parenthood by the Trump cabinet, the scaling back of sexual assault provisions at colleges by Betsy Devos, the treatment of Christine Blasey Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings, the lack of women among Trump judicial nominations, the outsized impact that Trump’s healthcare policies have on women, or the insults hurled by Trump at a disproportionate number of women that he resents (and fears). The election of Trump was in many ways a result of sexism as much as it was of racism.
It’s also true that women have been the driving force behind the Resistance, and have taken local elections and the House of Representatives by storm. Who will soon forget the bloc of women dressed in white during the State of the Union speech? (Of course, those women were mercilessly attacked by right-wing social media — “The League of Nazi Socialist women who supported Hitler’s dream of a socialist paradise. They always went to public events dressed in white!”)
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it–there better be a female president before I leave this f***ing Earth. And I’m hoping 2020 is the year. But it will only happen if we beat back all the bullshit that is already flowing from conservative trolls and Russian bots. Who the hell cares anymore about Elizabeth Warren’s heritage? Who the hell cares about Kamala Harris’ past boyfriends? Who the hell cares about Kirsten Gillibrand’s likability, whatever that means? Who the hell cares if Amy Klobuchar is strict with her staff? It’s all just distraction. The President of the United States is an admitted pussy grabber. He cheated on pregnant wife number three with a porn star. Yet he got elected. We have to demand a discussion of the issues, not the personalities. Because on the issues, Trump fails. On the nicknames and faux outrage and ad hominem attacks and sleaze, Trump succeeds. Keep in mind that the venom and bitterness Trump and his media surrogates hurl toward the Democratic women is in direct proportion to the terror they feel at the prospect of losing to a woman in the next election–just like they did in 2016.
The longest serving member of Congress ever, John Dingell, passed away last week. It’s not melodramatic to describe him as a national treasure. And on his deathbed he dictated a final op-ed to his wife, which was published yesterday in the Washington Post. Among other things, his words are a touching and profound reminder of how a true patriot and public servant looks at life in America in the shadow of Trump. Here’s the link: