Dream Bigger, Fight Harder, Does it Matter?

The Democratic presidential field has finally been narrowed down to the two top contenders: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. We went from the most diverse pool of potential nominees in history to two old, white, cis-gendered, straight men. I have a lot of personal opinions regarding all of this, but the one I want to focus on today has to do with my support of Elizabeth Warren, who has just ended her presidential bid early Thursday morning. 

Elizabeth “Liz” Warren was, in my opinion, the single most competent player on the field. She was smart, focused, and ran a fantastic campaign. If you had a problem, you did not have to worry because Liz had a (comprehensive!) plan for that. Her plan to address corruption in Washington, in particular, addressed the root of a problem that has been festering in our political system for decades now.  

So why isn’t she still in this race? In fact, why isn’t any woman still in the race? Or how about anyone who isn’t white? 

Are you surprised? The worst part of all of this for me is that I don’t think I am all that surprised by this outcome. The fact of the matter is that Warren had to dream bigger and fight harder than any of her male peers (and the same holds true for Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and other female candidates). If any of these women commented on whether or not sexism was at play in the 2020 race, people would label them as “whiners” and move on. A tweet by Xeni Jardin went viral Wednesday night: 

“I want my non-women friends to look at Elizabeth Warren’s trajectory and understand how ******* exhausted I am, every woman is, today. Exhausted. Climb every mountain, there’ll be a white man there already who took the lift and gets the prize.” 

Elizabeth Warren was the reason I came to American University here in DC, and I mean that very literally. I wrote about her in my application to my current academic program, and my acceptance to that program was the reason I chose AU. One of the most important decisions in my life was influenced by her inspiration; and I am not the first, or the last, who has a similar tale to tell about this woman. 

I went to see her at a rally in Virginia a few weeks ago, and that experience is easily one of the few things in my life that I will never forget. I will never forget the energy in that room, the way my heart absolutely soared when I first caught sight of her, the way I could not stop smiling because she was only 10 feet in front of me! I will never forget the feeling that she inspired in me. It was a feeling that maybe we can do this, that maybe this woman will be the one to get where no woman has gotten before.

Warren’s ability to be so incredibly genuine and connected to her base, her ability to inspire a true and lasting grassroots movement, her real compassion for the people she wanted to represent, and her comprehensive plans for all of her big ideas were irresistible to me and so many others. Any candidate is only as electable as we vote them to be; I am very much over seeing people tout “electability” as their excuse for not voting for a woman. I’m so disappointed that America did not give Liz Warren the chance she deserved. 

The fact that Warren is a woman meant a lot to me when I was voting, because representation means a lot to me. Just like diversity matters in media and in positions of power, it matters in politics. It matters that a candidate is a woman, or a person of color, or a member of the LGBTQ+ community. It matters that young people have people who look like them to look up to in their government. It matters that Warren brings a unique perspective to the table as a result of her experiences as a woman. 

Here, I’d like to make a distinction: I did not vote for her solely based on her gender, just like I would not expect anyone to vote for someone based just on their identity. However, that does not mean that her gender was not a factor for me, or that gender or identity should not be a factor in any election. It makes sense to put people in power who can broaden our spectrums and push our perceived boundaries. It makes sense to diversify politics. 

Polling StationMSNBC’s Joy Reid tweeted Thursday morning: “One day, American women will decide that having voted for imperfect (and far less than imperfect) male candidates their whole lives, they want a woman president. And they’ll make that choice affirmatively when a smart, qualified woman like @ewarren presents herself. Or not.” Reid makes it clear: there was a viable and electable choice here, and America did not take it. What were we so afraid of? 

 

Photos: Her Campus Media Library

Sources: 1, 2