I am at a loss as to what to write about this week. I think I’m a little depressed about Elizabeth Warren dropping out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination following her steep descent in the polls and inability to generate the number of votes she needed to begin accumulating delegates. She was so clearly the best candidate, in my mind. While she didn’t have Hillary’s baggage, and she was exponentially more personable than Ms. Clinton (and equally smart), the American populace didn’t trust her, for some reason. Multiple Democrats I spoke to held her missteps against her disproportionately to their seriousness. One woman said she was turned off by Elizabeth’s claims to have Native American heritage, and thought it was misguided for her to have released her DNA results. (But what if she HADN’T released those results? She would have been criticized for THAT. This is a pattern that keeps repeating . . . Women and people of color have to be exceptional, and yet their errors and hiccups are deemed unforgivable. They are held to a higher standard, and so fall further when they do something – ANYTHING – wrong.)
Another Democratic woman I know thought Warren was “being mean” when she repeated a statement by Bernie Sanders that he didn’t think a woman could be elected president in this country. Yet another woman I know – otherwise very liberal in her thinking – excoriated Warren for attacking Michael Bloomberg during the debate by repeating an allegation that he had told a woman employee to have an abortion when she announced her pregnancy. I pointed out to this woman that, had Elizabeth been selected as the nominee, and had she gone after trump that way in the general debates, Dems would have cheered her on. In fact, she would have to be twice as “tough” and “mean” as a man to stand up to trump’s inevitable bullying and name-calling. But she didn’t get the chance, so we’ll never know.
(Do you notice that these are all women making these criticisms? It hurts my heart when women are so unsupportive of other women. It’s true, woman are not perfect beings. But I have to believe, as a percentage, there are far fewer female assholes in the world than male ones.)
But here’s the best thing about Elizabeth Warren. After what must have been a crushing Super Tuesday, and her difficult decision to end the campaign she had worked so hard and so well to develop, down to the smallest detail (and which she was still willing to tweak as she heard from constituents and evolved her positions, as I would hope any intelligent world leader would do), she still managed to invite Rachel Maddow into her home in Massachusetts and do an amazing, gracious interview – without even getting choked up, which I frankly did a few times listening to her – and end with a still-positive message. And to top off what would have been a devastating week for most folks, she did a brilliant cameo on Saturday Night Live and hugged everyone at the end (coronavirus be damned!). (I especially loved the GIF she did with Kate McKinnon that made the rounds on Facebook where they were dueling dancing Elizabeths, and McKinnon could barely keep a straight face at the end watching Liz’s genuinely playful postures.) I love you, Elizabeth Warren, from your trim, colorful blazers to your comfortable shoes, from your “I have a plan for that” to “She persisted”! I know she will continue to be the kind of senator and public servant (perhaps with a role in the next administration?) who blow-torches through interrogations (as she reminded us today in a clip from 2016 she posted on Facebook of her grilling Leonard Chanin to emphasize what a terrible choice Chanin would be to serve as acting Deputy Director of her beloved Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; “He doesn’t belong within 100 miles of the CFPB,” she said in today’s post) and sparkles as a role model to the future Katie Porters and AOCs of Congress, state and local governments and the world, including all those little girls to whom she made pinky promises. Ideally, some of her “plans” will even make it into the Democratic platform to shape policies for the near future (such as her blueprint for a new disability plan based – as most of her “plans” are – on intensive consultation with the people who have the most stake in her positions).
So now we’re stuck with Bernie and Joe, two septuagenarians battling it out for a chance to defeat yet another septuagenarian in November, who represent the left and center (right?) of the Democratic Party. The general consensus seems to be that Joe is the “normalcy” candidate, while Bernie would prefer a revolution. Our system of government is so broken – trump being as much a symptom as a cause – it could probably use a good blowing up and starting over. But people are afraid, and I get it. We just want to feel safe again. We want what we EXPECT to happen to actually happen. And above all, we want trump GONE.
I truly hope that, if Biden wins a majority of the delegates (which appears likely, although it ain’t over till it’s over), Bernie can convince his supporters to work together with the rest of the party to remove the orange stain from the Oval Office. Perhaps it would take something as simple as letting the Bernie Bros have a powerful voice in the platform process, a kind of “horse trade”: If we work together across the invisible line dividing the party to elect a Democrat as the 46th president, maintain the majority in the House and actually gain four (or more?) seats in the Senate, the moderate winners will make (and KEEP) some promises to the left on matters where agreement is the strongest, such as with family leave and child care and humane and economically effective immigration policy, for instance, and save the Medicare-for-all health care battle for later, or as something to be worked on in installments rather than all at once. Show trump and his Republican toadies who the REAL dealmakers are! And also show how the American democracy is supposed to work – allowing the minority a voice, but respecting the will of the majority, until the next election rolls around to effectuate any necessary adjustments. Because for the first time in four years, the majority will really BE the majority and not just a vocal segment of the minority that managed to, by some combination of voter apathy, Hillary hatred, garden-variety cheating and a Russian finger on the scale, elect this abomination who, in my mind, is not even worthy of a capital letter for his name.
Apologies – I didn’t really mean to be so rabidly political this week after last week’s screed on socialism. Losing the hopeful optimism that Elizabeth Warren represented for me was a tough blow. But, like Liz, I’m going to try to stay positive and see a way forward through the fog.
Some of my favorite stickers from my daughter’s collection.