How Does Amy Coney Barrett Do It?
With seven kids and a Supreme Court nomination before age 50, she could teach a master class in having it all. But should she?
The October 3 broadcast of Saturday Night Live opened with a debate spoof featuring Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump and Jim Carrey as his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The mostly unfunny sketch took an even unfunnier turn when Maya Rudolph emerged playing Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris. The conceit was that the boys were refusing to play nicely, and so it took “Momala” (that’s Harris’ stepkids’ nickname for her) to intervene and bring order to the house.
“Why don’t the two of you finish this debate or whatever the hell this is with some dignity, and when you’re done, I’ve got you boys some PB&J and apple slices waiting for you,” she said.
It was a strange turn, not least of all because the usual pigeonhole for Harris is that she was a criminal justice hardliner during her days as a San Francisco district attorney and then California’s attorney general (“top cop” was the nickname Harris gave herself). That premise would have worked better for the sketch, though you can see why SNL’s writers and producers, presumably Biden/Harris supporters, would have been reluctant to use any trope that might place Harris in a negative light. Framing her as a mother figure, on the other hand, could be seen as image-boosting flattery. Look no further than Harris’ introductory video at the Democratic National Convention, which made a huge show of emphasizing what a great stepmother and aunt she was despite not having had kids of her own.
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The assumption is that female leaders can’t really be trusted unless they’re mothers. Or, at the very least, they can’t be trusted by campaign strategists to be relatable to the public at large.
Male candidates don’t get a totally free pass here either. Voters tend to trust the family man more than the childless bachelor. (I’d argue they’d trust…