Let's Talk About Gender and Electability

I’m sick and tired of hearing the various versions of “women can’t win”. When Hilary Clinton was running for president in 2016, I heard so many people around me say that they wanted her to win the nomination (Bernie was too radical for them, unfortunately) and then the presidency. The trouble came when the time to vote actually arrived. “I want Hilary to win, but I don’t think the country’s ready for that.” Granted, the only other option at the time was Trump, so in most cases wherein people around me were adamant on voting they would still vote for Hilary. In other cases, however, people would simply not vote, which was frustrating to see as a teenager who wanted so desperately to vote but hadn’t yet reached the legal age.  

We constantly hear political discussions that so-and-so is great and has great ideas and would be a good president, but she’s a woman and America isn’t ready for that.  

Why? 

Why should we assume that because certain groups of people tend to favor male candidates, female candidates can’t win? We shouldn’t worry about that. There are always exceptions to “the rule” and if we vote in such a way that complies with this assumption then we’re doing nothing more than pushing that agenda. When we vote for one candidate over the other, just because the other is a woman, we are part of the electability problem. And what are we telling young girls when we broadcast this message? You can be the president too, but only when the majority of the country gets comfortable with the idea of a woman being president on their own time. And seriously, even writing “the idea of a woman being president” is absurd, because really it’s as if I’m assuming that this can only happen in one’s imagination when in reality women are people and can hold a position of power.  

But that’s where the trouble lies. Women and power is a scary combination for a lot of men (and women). We’ve all heard the excuses they give: women are too emotional, they’ll start wars every time they’re on their periods, they aren’t strong enough, yadda yadda yadda. It goes without saying that these are all lies perpetuated by a lack of education and stubborn patriarchal values. I mean, do we need to take a comprehensive history of war to remember that most wars have been started by men? Often over insignificant things? No, no we do not.  

In our day and age, you’d have thought that as a society we’d have overcome these outdated ways of thinking but, alas, some people sling tightly to these archaic notions of power and who should get it. Now, we’re facing the same arguments from people in the midst of another presidential election. This time, Elizabeth Warren has been the main target (it’s worth mentioning that even though Amy Klobuchar has probably taken heat for her gender as well, Warren is above her in the polls). Warren’s ability to take on presidential responsibilities has been questioned repeatedly, though it’s a relief to see that the backlash is less considerable than Clinton’s was just four years ago.  

If Elizabeth Warren gets the Democratic nomination, there’s the risk of people voting for Trump or refusing to vote either because they believe she’s got it in the bag, or because they think her gender prevents her from winning. That would be an even bigger mistake than that which was made in 2016 because she is more popular than Clinton ever was. She wouldn’t be considered the “lesser of two evils” if she were to make it to the final vote. Elizabeth Warren won’t lose because too many people believe her gender renders her incapable of the job. She’d lose because people assumed that too many other voters think that way. There is not a single reason to assume that Warren can’t be president; she can, and she has a plan for that!  

Here’s my hot take on this whole issue: Elizabeth Warren can be president. Women can be president. We can balance power AND our own emotions.  

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