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Elizabeth Warren Dropped Out & My Heart Aches

March 5th, 2020. Today was a sad day. Today was an expected day, but a sad one nonetheless. Today confirmed another win via the glass ceiling. Today, Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the presidential race — not by fault of weakness, but by fault of the American people.

On this day our hope for a female president died once again, with few embers to relight our hopes after the next four years. 

Hillary Clinton’s near victory in 2016 with her win of the Democratic bid gave female voters a taste for the representation they’d been fighting for. While Clinton failed to win the presidential election, her prior success was seen as a huge stride for America. Yet, her loss also further illuminated an unfortunate reality in our country: we are not ready to see a woman in power. 

I would argue that Clinton was one of the best-prepared presidential candidates we’ve seen in the US. Her positions in the Senate and as Secretary of State, not to mention her former education at Wellesley and Yale Law, were good examples of this. Meanwhile, her competitor was largely known as a prior TV personality with a well-renowned business career. Despite this clear unequal distribution of qualifications, we still were met with an elderly, white, male president for the years of 2016–2020.

America did not want to see a female in a position of power. Her qualifications, demeanor, and talent couldn’t matter less; America was not ready to see a female president. 

Though we didn’t shatter the glass ceiling then, Clinton’s run predicted an easier time for future women running for president. I believed this to be true as I witnessed Senator Warren’s early success in her campaign. 

Warren was an early front runner last fall and summer, drawing tens of thousands of people to support her in a Washington Square Park event. As she toured the country, this support was reflected in other typically blue states like Minnesota and Washington state. 

Warren fought tooth and nail to find success in the presidential race, and a good war she fought. The question is: with ideologies nearly identical to Bernie Sanders and the moderate position of Joe Biden, what went wrong? How did such a promising start with such uproaring support end with no states won-over? 

As she called for structural change, she laid out every step of the way. If you wanted to find the math for her college debt plans, Medicare plans, or climate-fighting plans, you’d find them. She covered her bases, but some are wondering if this ultimately caused her demise. 

An article by the Atlantic details demeaning comments about Warren that are, compared to her prior competitors, unparalleled. “When I hear [Warren] talk, I want to slap her, even when I agree with her.” Yet, as this article states, Warren said and did nothing more provocative than any of her male competitors leaving the sole difference — her gender — as the proprietor of this criticism.

As a society, America doesn’t like to see women who are both confident and successful in fields that have typically been male-dominated. Sure, there are female social media influencers, actresses, comedians, singers, but it’s rare to find a woman who is successful and supported for aspiring towards a leadership position. In our society, it’s unfortunately easier to like a woman who fits into one of the roles the patriarchy has prescribed her or who poses as someone who sees herself as a joke. America likes the Liz Lemon-type woman, the woman we find relatable for not having herself put together.

Speaking for myself, seeing Warren display confidence in her leadership abilities and complete self-control during the democratic debates was empowering, but clearly her poise made others “want to slap her.” Being likable as a man comes naturally, but as a woman, you have to reshape your entire identity for it. Warren refused to allow her competence to take a backup role, for which I commend her, but I wonder if she had pretended to be more of a joke — would she have had more support? 

Warren’s exit has led social media influencers to quarrel over which candidate will get her supporters. It has quickly become a nasty battle of opinions and ideologies, riddled with negativity towards Warren and Warren voters.

What we have to learn is that this loss is not just a jab at Senator Warren and her supporters. It wounds millions of women and sets us back; it teaches young girls that you can try as hard as you might, but the odds are you’ll just be beaten by an old white man. It makes me wonder what I am working for if such an incredibly qualified, confident, and deserving woman can come to such an unfortunate end so rapidly. It deepens my sorrow that, for the women older than me and who have fought longer than I, it appears a lot of leg work and strength has yet to pay off.

Another day, we’ll get into the politics of this. Tomorrow, we will continue fighting for our well-deserved rights. Tomorrow we will fight so that, although not my generation, but the next may hear the shatter of the glass ceiling around them. Tomorrow, we will pick ourselves up and prepare for the next battle.

But today, we will mourn the loss of our hopes and the unfortunate strength of the glass ceiling. Today, we mourn because one step forward turned into two steps back. Today we mourn because we have once again seen the faults of America.

Kyrie Woodard

Columbia Barnard '23

is originally a Washingtonian turned New Yorker. Her hobbies include talking about her cats, Bobby and Greg, and drawing macroeconomic graphs.
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