Is America Ready for a Woman President?

March 8, 2020 Updated: March 8, 2020
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Commentary

No sooner had Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) bowed out of her campaign for the Democratic nomination for president than the articles and tweets began, accusing America—and voters of all political ideologies—of sexism.

Although Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is still officially in the race, her poll numbers are low and it’s expected the primary will come down to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden, two old, white men—a significant contrast to Warren and Gabbard.

Since Warren was the last woman standing strongly, women across the internet have observed one thing, in groupthink unison: Elizabeth Warren is not to blame for her failed campaign. Sexism is to blame.

Libertarian and right-leaning conservatives responded with the now-prosaic retort that sexism had nothing to do with it, Warren was just a bad candidate. While I tend to lean toward that view, I do think it might take some time for a female to rise to the rank of president in the United States.

This doesn’t mean Americans are sexist, or that any or all women who attempt such a feat should automatically cinch their party’s nomination and win the highest office in the land, just because she’s a woman. It just means that doing things differently might take time.

At the same time, no one should feel pressured into electing a woman to be president for reasons other than their obvious qualifications—so, of course, only the most qualified should run.

The left’s insistence that the United States is just blatantly sexist, without even considering the kind of candidate Warren was, is irresponsible to the point of arrogance.

The Atlantic observes “America punished Elizabeth Warren for her competence.” Jessica Valenti fretted at Medium, “It will be hard to get over what happened to Elizabeth Warren.” The subhead reads, “I’ve had to come to terms with America’s sexism again and again.” Vanity Fair reported Hillary Clinton says Warren lost because she is a woman. A headline for an opinion piece at the Dallas Morning News read, “Like so many women, Elizabeth Warren turned invisible.”

Nevermind that multiple women were vying for the Democratic nomination, or that one ran for president against Donald Trump four years ago and came pretty close to winning, Americans went from being progressive, cool, dependable voters, to sexist misogynists overnight. Stunningly regressive to a fault: How can voters even be trusted?

Warren was not only a particularly unqualified, dishonest, boring candidate, but the media seemed to rally to her corner almost reflexively because of her gender. This is disingenuous, and Americans are nothing if not wary of this kind of gaslighting.

The American electorate might be a lot of things, but voters tend not to cast their ballots for people for whom the media is obviously shilling even as the candidate seems disqualified, dishonest, and vapid.

As I have observed the utter outcry, complete with accusations of betrayal by women in the media, I wonder if America is ready for a female president, or if any female is truly ready to be U.S. president yet?

While I don’t think sexism is nearly as rampant in America as feminists and progressives tend to claim, these facts cannot be disputed: Only men have held the Office of the President, there are still more men in politics and cabinet positions (although that number is slowly decreasing), and the concept of women running for the office is relatively new, under a decade.

While there are good, persuasive reasons for the fact that no woman has been elected president, including the way women are generally wired, the choices they make about family and work, and the priorities they develop as they age, it would be absurd not to also admit that it will take some time for Americans to adjust to the way a woman campaigns and the way a woman would behave as president, as well how she will complete this incredible task.

After all, I assume feminists believe a woman would be a different, maybe even a better president. If this is the case, half the country will need to get on board with a different kind of leader, running the country a different way. This, just like the undoing of any kind of marginalization—even a small bit—in American society, will take some adjusting to. As we all know, there’s no substitute for time.

That said, if women want a woman to be president, we would do well as a collective (to whatever extent this is possible) to represent our gender well when it is in power. This doesn’t mean we need to act like men, downplay our strengths, or even hide our weaknesses. But if we’re in front of a microphone, let’s not scream about abortions, or lie about our age or ethnicity, or claim that because we’re female we should swing to the far side of sexism and get more of a leg up than a man.

This would not be a true win, but a placating demoralization of everything true feminists fought for, for decades. Two things can be true at once: Warren wasn’t a great candidate, not because of her gender but in spite of it. America still has a way to go before electing a female president.

Nicole Russell is a freelance writer and mother of four. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Politico, The Daily Beast, and The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @russell_nm.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.