Column

It Will Be Hard to Get Over What Happened to Elizabeth Warren

I’ve had to come to terms with America’s sexism again and again

Mar 4 · 3 min read
Elizabeth Warren on February 29, 2020, in Columbia, South Carolina. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

I knew going into Super Tuesday that Elizabeth Warren was unlikely to win big. I had prepared myself for that. What did take me by surprise, though, was just how poorly she fared: Even in her home state of Massachusetts, she finished third.

On Thursday, Warren announced that she was dropping out of the race.

It’s enough to make me feel, well, despairing: that we had the candidate of a lifetime — someone with the energy, vision, and follow-through to lead the country out of our nightmarish era — and that the media and voters basically outright erased and ignored her.

Pundits will all have their theories; fears over “electability” will likely be their #1 explanation. Don’t tell me this isn’t about sexism. I’ve been around too long for that.

Even just supporting Warren has come with an unbearable amount of misogynist condescension. I’m tired of being told that I’m a single-issue voter because I care about a candidate’s gender, even if it’s not the only thing I care about. I’m over being made to feel as if representation for half the population isn’t a necessary and radical political position. I don’t appreciate being told that I’m either anti-revolution because I didn’t support Bernie Sanders or unrealistic because I won’t vote for Joe Biden. I especially resent the theory being bandied about that Warren somehow “stole” votes from Sanders; it’s nonsense.

Whoever the nominee is, their campaign is going to have to come to terms with the intense misogyny so many female voters have dealt with — and understand that it’s an issue we care deeply about. And their supporters are going to have to let us be sad — depressed, even — that once again we’re going to watch a race to leadership between old white men.

These are candidates who, despite their many admirable qualities, don’t have the same proactive plans for issues that impact women like reproductive rights and maternal mortality and don’t understand the way misogyny is embedded in nearly every aspect of American life.

That said, Democratic women will show up for the nominee. We always do. But I hope that whoever it is will bring some humility and understanding into the coming months.

As for me, I need a minute. Last night, my nine-year-old daughter came over to me because I looked upset. When I told her I was sad because I felt like I would never see a woman be president, she told me, “Well, you’ll see at least one — me.”

I want her to be able to hold on to that optimism because the truth is that I’m fresh out of hope to give her.

Update: This post was updated after Warren announced she was dropping out.

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