Likability, electability, ability: The case for — and against — Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke at an event this month in Sioux City, Iowa.
Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke at an event this month in Sioux City, Iowa.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Warren can withstand, rise above the mud Trump tosses

If Senator Elizabeth Warren, an early entrant into the Democratic presidential derby for 2020, should become the party’s nominee, we know to expect that Donald Trump, assuming that he runs for reelection, will badger and hound her for an alleged lie that she has Native American ancestry.

Assuming for the sake of argument that Trump is correct that Warren told a falsehood, imagine how ironic it would be for him to challenge her on that basis, given the number of blatant lies or distortions that he puts forth on a daily basis, a number that The Washington Post has estimated to average about 15 per day. This is a president who makes it up as he goes along, facts be damned, and his diehard base laps it up and continues to revere him.


I am confident that an intelligent, savvy, assertive leader such as Warren will be able to withstand any onslaught, even one perpetrated by the most dishonorable and vile president who has ever served.

Oren Spiegler

South Strabane Township, Pa.

Hers is a powerful voice for a time of great inequality

I, for one, am grateful to Elizabeth Warren for testing the waters of a presidential run (“Women push back against talk of Warren’s ‘likability,’ ” Page A1, Jan. 4). Whether she wins or not, hers is a powerful voice in defining the kinds of changes needed to reverse the inequality that has been escalating for the past 40 years.

In the same way that Bernie Sanders’ campaign strengthened Hillary Clinton’s platform in 2016 by speaking to the stagnant incomes and resulting struggles experienced by families in both parties, Warren’s message will clarify the choices we face about our future and that of our children and grandchildren. I’m glad that she is not listening to the naysayers — the Globe included — who are ready for her to fail before she gets started. Nevertheless, she persists.


Wendy Holt


She should focus on her work in the Senate

Sadly, Elizabeth Warren has political tone-deafness similar to that of Hillary Clinton. Both are competent, capable women who can contribute most out of an Oval Office spotlight. I enthusiastically voted for Warren as my senator and will, with equal commitment, oppose her as a Democratic nominee for president.

Warren clings, with righteous anger, to the word “fight,” when I long for her to change her mantra to “work,” and then focus her efforts in the Senate on issues where she is so qualified and knowledgeable. She is an expert on our economic and financial systems, which are stacked against middle- and lower-income classes.

She shouldn’t feel bad about the question of her “likability.” Ted Cruz won’t be running again in a presidential primary.

My choice for the first woman president of the United States is Amy Klobuchar, ideally paired with Beto O’Rourke as her running mate.

Elizabeth Bjorkman


This is no time to worry about likability

I am getting tired of reading one story about whether a female candidate should be allowed to express anger on the campaign trail, followed by another that concludes that we are dealing with the most corrupt regime in American history. We are now brought to a new precipice — a government shutdown in which our tax dollars are being held hostage by a disturbed man who expressed pride, while running for office, in paying as little as possible into that fund.

Campaigns and the issues they surface are situational, and there is so much to be angry about in our current situation. Leave likable to Joe Biden. I’m with Elizabeth Warren, who is articulating a very appropriate response to corruption, accompanied by a resume and solutions to rid us of this den of thieves.


So whatever you do, Senator Warren, don’t stop. And please don’t be likable at all to Donald Trump and his cronies.

Larry Lobert

Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.

Taking pet dog on campaign trail only works up to a point

On Jan. 4 you had an article on the difficulty Elizabeth Warren will have overcoming the “likability” issue that plagues female candidates. In the next day’s paper, there was a nice article about how having her dog, Bailey, on the campaign may be a positive for voters (“Team Warren? Maybe it should be Team Bailey.”).

I attended a fiction writers panel a few years ago where there was consensus that if writers want to make a character more likable, they should give him or her a dog.

It works in fiction, as I, a writer, can attest. But it’ll be interesting to see if Bailey and his sweet smile have the power to overcome real-life misogyny.

Maureen Milliken

Belgrade Lakes, Maine

Nods to Clinton’s 2016 loss serve only to prop up the patriarchy

To the media: Every time you’re moved to mention Hillary Clinton in the countless articles you’re sure to write about women presidential candidates for 2020, please remember to mention not only that Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes, but also that, arguably, she would have garnered the necessary electoral votes but for the interference of the Russians and James Comey. The hand-wringing about voters’ acceptance of female political leadership is overwrought and serves to perpetuate patriarchal barriers.


Vivian Tseng