Still peering through glass ceiling at highest office
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s uphill battle to combat doubts about her electability culminated in her suspending her campaign Thursday, and supporters are as disappointed as she is by the outcome.
“She’s definitely the most qualified, but there’s just something about her.” Sound familiar? That’s because it’s a reprise, last heard when Secretary Hillary Clinton ran for president, and now echoing around the country as voters defend their reasons for supporting Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders despite their affinity for Warren’s savvy plans and well-positioned platforms.
As we saw on Super Tuesday, a long streak of impressive debate performances and carefully communicated plans addressing health care, climate change, and other key issues doesn’t always translate into votes — especially when the candidate happens to be a woman.
It’s time for voters to confront the misogyny that politicians on both sides of the aisle face in running for office, and start pushing themselves and their loved ones by asking, “Would you have the same electability concerns if she were a he? What’s that ‘thing’ you don’t like?” Those are hard questions to face, but if we don’t, then telling our daughters they can be president one day may as well be grouped along with tales of Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.
The writer is a media strategist.
Being a Bay Stater is a mark against national candidates
Thank you for Joan Vennochi’s piece on Elizabeth Warren (“Is it a woman thing or a Warren thing?” Opinion, March 5). I too am pure Warren demographic — white, well-educated, liberal, feminist, older, from Massachusetts — and my friends are true blue for her. Yet, like Vennochi, I too voted for Warren unenthusiastically, and it’s not just that she’s a woman. It’s been clear for months that Warren wasn’t resonating with the country, and I want to suggest one more reason: Massachusetts.
Our Bay State is littered with presidential homes and memorials, but it’s been a long time since Adams and Kennedy scions occupied the White House. Still, our politicians seem to believe it is their birthright. How about “presidents” Ted Kennedy, Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, and Mitt Romney? Even a three-term Massachusetts congressman feels like he can take a shot at it (president Seth Moulton, anyone?).
We are very proud of ourselves in Massachusetts, and for lots of good reasons: We have great universities, a thriving tech economy, and abortion rights (we’ve also got a few problems of our own, but we try not to mention those on the national stage). But just like the rest of the country has come to loathe our cocky sports teams, they don’t seem to like us quite as much as we like ourselves. And they definitely don’t want us to be president.
Biden is most likely to win close contest for White House
Regarding Senator Warren’s performance on Super Tuesday, Joan Vennochi asked, “Is it a ‘woman thing’ or a ‘Warren thing’?” The answer is: It was neither, and both.
Vennochi was correct that “sexism doesn’t explain it all.” Sexism does clearly play a role in presidential politics, and Warren probably offends some people because she is a smart, progressive, outspoken woman who doesn’t shy away from speaking truth to power. But that is not why she placed third in Massachusetts. We love Warren because of who she is: our senator, and the smartest person on the debate stage.
However, Republican victories in 2016 and 2000 taught us that Democrats can win the popular vote and lose the Electoral College. When 46 percent of Americans choose not to vote, almost anyone can win the election. The question is: Who is most likely to win the battleground states that decide presidential elections? This year, the answer is clear: Joe Biden.
Biden is the candidate most likely to win the votes of working people, suburban moms, and swing voters in battleground states. He can unite us and heal the wounds of division that threaten our democracy in the era of Donald Trump.
David J. Murphy
The writer is a former aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and he worked with Biden when he was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Just as with Clinton in 2016, it wasn’t about gender
The other night, I had dinner with friends in New Hampshire who are active in Democratic politics. In our discussions, they were finally able to agree that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 because she ran a bad campaign. Clinton assumed certain states (Wisconsin, for example) would go her way, and she didn’t campaign there.
I think that some people may also need a few years’ distance from this campaign to see that Senator Warren has weaknesses in policy prescriptions, and that her supercilious, elitist attitude turned off voters. It wasn’t her gender, just as it wasn’t Clinton’s gender, that left her behind.
She’s not in Oklahoma anymore, Toto.
Warren was no Clinton
Like Joan Vennochi’s friend, I supported Barack Obama in 2008, and Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in 2016. I also supported Elizabeth Warren in her run for senator and, in the early days of this presidential race, for president. However, unlike with Clinton in ’16, I began to have doubts. Warren wasn’t resonating with voters, and I heard this from friends and family. They admired her intellect and what she had done during the financial crisis, but she wasn’t coming through as authentic. I never grew tired of listening to Clinton and would vote for her to this day, but I did tire of hearing Warren, and I was convinced she could not garner enough votes to beat Trump.
My wish for Warren is to become a leader in the Senate, on the issues she is passionate about, and where she can better the lives of Americans.
It was centrism, not sexism, that drove his vote
For me — a white, educated man — the answer to Joan Vennochi’s question is: It’s a Warren and Sanders thing. Elizabeth Warren being a woman had nothing to do with my voting for Joe Biden and not her. I’d planned to vote for Amy Klobuchar until the Minnesota senator suspended her campaign (and I still would). Biden is a reasonable second choice for me.
Donald Trump represents an apparently extreme swing of the political pendulum to the right. In response, I don’t think the country needs an extreme swing of the pendulum to the left, which Warren and Sanders represent. Klobuchar and Biden both come closer to the balance that I think the country needs now.
Gender has nothing to do with it for me and voters like me.
The candidate morphed, and not for the better
Some time back, we attended a town hall gathering in Concord, where Elizabeth Warren was speaking. She was personable, knowledgeable, and engaging.
She knew her stuff regarding the financial and banking aspects of our country. She did not talk down to us. She explained what she saw happening in real, understandable terms. She gave the impression that she knew who the best advisers could be. And we believed she had sound ideas on the rest of the needs of our country. We were in her camp.
But as the campaigning progressed, she became more caustically aggressive, stooping to the lows with negativity rather than staying the reasonable course of moderation. Rather than swiping at her opponents, she should have remained true to the “teacher” part of herself. Rather than pitching Medicare for All, she should have worked on the idea of fixing what we already have.
I do not believe that she stalled because she is a woman. She stalled because she took the wrong route to win favorability.