I’m hard-pressed to understand the swift winnowing of an excitingly diverse roster of candidates to a slate of two old, straight, white-guy pols. (I can say that because I’m old myself--and there are several old white guys among my favorite people.) There were many other entries in this race, and while both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are experienced and qualified, this feels like recycling when what we need a fresh new product.
Think back: In the 2016 election, when many voters longed for a disrupter, someone who would tackle rampant income inequality, unaffordable health care, wage stagnation, and unbridled corporate greed, the Dems decided to run a moneyed candidate with long, deep ties to corporate powerhouses and super PACs, one who struggled to connect with voters on a personal level and who proposed little in the way of novel solutions to deep-seated problems. Yes, that candidate was Hillary Clinton, and perhaps the Dems thought selecting a woman made that a bold choice, but it didn’t.
Back then, their other viable option was the aforementioned Mr. Sanders. Like Clinton, he was far from warm and fuzzy. Unlike Clinton, he proclaimed himself a socialist (not the smartest thing he’s ever done) and ran to the left of almost everybody. But he did have ideas about addressing rampant income inequality, unaffordable health care, wage stagnation, and unbridled corporate greed. The Dems rejected him.
Fast forward to 2020. This year … this year, we thought, would be different. In addition to Joe and Bernie, the Dems were offered a field of diverse candidates, including one who not only proposed fresh solutions to persistent problems—and had plans for carrying them out—but who also had what often seemed to be a nearly-sacrificial personal touch. How many little girls did she engage in the “pinky swear” to let them know they could be anything they chose? How many hours did she stay after rallies so everyone who wanted one could get a “selfie?” How many personal stories did she listen to on cold Midwestern nights?
Assertive, caring, smart, inspiring, Elizabeth Warren is the whole package. So why, on Super Tuesday, was she pushed out of contention by voters who swung to the two males now left in the race? Were they so traumatized by the disaster of 2016 that they believed no woman could win against our gender’s arch nemesis Trump? Could they not see the enormous difference between the two women in question?
Maybe. But this seems like the coward’s way out. It seems like neurotic safeguarding which—remember—always gets you what you don’t want. I hope I’m wrong.