Women often face prejudice in the struggle for the highest office in the country
WASHINGTON – The unspoken question often arises during election campaigns: Are Americans ready to elect a woman president? Indeed, just a decade ago, in 2008, another barrier fell, and voters brought African American Barack Obama to the highest office in the country. Is it far from a woman president?
Late January polls show that the most popular Democratic candidate ranks third with 15 percent of the vote..
“I think American voters in this sense tend to be more sexist than racist,” says Michael Steele, who made history in 2002 by becoming the first African American to be elected to a leadership position in the state..
“In the case of Barack Obama, we saw that they preferred a black man over a white woman,” he recalls, referring to the 2008 elections, when Obama overtook Hillary Clinton in the Democratic nomination. Clinton received nomination in 2016, but lost election to Donald Trump.
Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren drew attention to the issue of gender bias during the current campaign, stating in a debate that her rival Bernie Sanders told her privately that a woman could not win the presidency. Sanders denied this accusation. However, the very dispute between the two candidates, who are on friendly terms and share views on many political issues, underscores how sensitive the issue of the obstacles women face when running for the highest positions in the United States is..
In the following weeks, Sanders’ scores rose in most polls, while Warren, on the contrary, lagged behind even further..
Women running for president often have to campaign twice, one for the votes and the other to convince donors of their ability to win, said Amanda Hunter, a spokeswoman for the Barbara Lee Foundation. According to her, women have to prove over and over again that they are sufficiently qualified, and when ethical questions arise, it is more difficult for them to rehabilitate..
Some observers note that women are also more harshly judged by their appearance, voice, and other factors beyond their control..
Women also have to be more restrained to avoid being considered overly emotional. Warren’s two rivals, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigiech, called her hostile and evil. If anger is considered a powerful emotion for a man, then for a woman it is fraught with risk..
Warren raised the issue of being elected for a woman during the last Democratic debate, which took place on January 14. She recalled that among all the participants in the debate, not a single election lost only she and Senator Amy Klobuchar, while the men on the stage lost a total of 10 elections..
Recent research confirms Warren’s claim that in 2018, women and non-white candidates on the ballot were as likely to win as white men..
In November, Klobuchar, speaking about the different standards for men and women in politics, cited the example of Buttidzic, the mayor of a city in the Midwest with no experience in national politics. According to her, a woman with such a track record would most likely not even go to the debate..
However, former Dakota Senator Heidi Heitcamp does not share this point of view, citing as an example Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who, with little experience, managed to win the admiration of the whole country..
Heitcamp agrees that women have to deal with unconscious prejudices: for example, during the 2000 election campaign she herself was told that she “does not look like the governor.” However, the politician believes that people tend to exaggerate the importance of gender when it comes to Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 elections..
What happens when women win elections
“Many would say that Clinton is simply not the right person. She has too much luggage, she notes. “In many ways, she went beyond gender.”.
Michael Steele believes that this “baggage” came from Clinton precisely because she is a woman..
“We want to pretend it’s not true that we still have a very puritanical attitude towards women in our country,” says Steele, who became the first African American to head the Republican National Committee. – She played with the boys and played at their level. So they hated not only her and her politics, but the fact that she, as a woman, implemented her politics so effectively. “.
Although voters rate Warren’s intelligence highly, only 7 percent of Democrats believe she has the best chance of beating Trump, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week..