Following up on the recent ITFIO blog about women driving the resistance, and women doing so well as candidates in the midterms, the following editorial by Linda Hirshman in the Washington Post is worth reading and considering. She talks about the pitfalls and challenges that any female candidate will have running against Trump, and worries that discussions about “electability” undermine the chances for a woman to win.
Rather than making female candidates bear the burden of our worries, we should direct our energies elsewhere. First, we should be vigilant that the playing field is indeed level. Despite studies showing that the media is getting better at covering female candidates, voters should remain alert to unfairness. One study of the 2008 Democratic primary race found that major-network reporters referred to Clinton by her first name four times as frequently as they did Barack Obama. In 2016, after a primary debate, commentators on the cable show “Morning Joe” described Clinton as “screaming” and “feisty,”while a New York Times news article said she “appeared tense and even angry at times.” As we’ve seen, when voters are given sexist prompts, they may be spurred to make sexist decisions.
It’s important to recall that a woman already “won” the presidency in 2016. Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Donald Trump, whose electoral college victory was made possible only when three swing states went his way by razor thin margins. Those margins will almost surely have evaporated by 2020. Many voters avoided the ballot box in 2016 thinking that Clinton had the victory locked up, or because they didn’t appreciate what an epic disaster a Trump presidency would be. They won’t make that mistake again. The midterms showed us that the enthusiasm and motivation gap between Republicans and Democrats is huge, and Trump’s distasteful government shutdown coupled with the border wall fiasco and the fallout from the metastasizing tax scam (I used to get a refund, now I owe money!) will surely pull thousands away from voting for him again. It’s also a statistical fact that over the span of four years tens-of-thousands of Trump’s voters have died of old age while tens-of-thousands of (mostly progressive) young people have joined the voter rolls. We have a lot of work to do, and can’t afford to take anything for granted, but Trump faces a huge headwind no matter who the Democratic nominee is. And if it’s one of the women, she will not have spent the last twenty years being savaged by an AM radio and Fox “news” hate industry the way Hillary did.
It’s important for resistors to call out and beat back every instance of the news media talking about a candidate’s hair style, or likability, or past boyfriends. That stuff is all bullshit, and takes away from the substance of the issues that our nation desperately needs to address. I call it:
Divertainment — superficial stories meant to divert attention from issues of importance.
When the entire State of Florida is underwater nobody is going to give a damn who Kamala Harris dated or whether Amy Klobuchar was a tough boss.
Enjoy your Sunday and keep resisting…