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'Don't Tell Me This Isn't About Sexism'

Common theme emerges in coverage of Elizabeth Warren's departure
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2020 1:10 PM CST

(Newser) – Elizabeth Warren is out. Now come the post-mortems and analyses of what went wrong and what comes next. "We didn’t reach our goal, but what we have done together—what you have done—has made a lasting difference," Warren told her staff Thursday, reports the Hill. Read her full statement via the Guardian, which includes a familiar reference: "For every American who desperately wants to see our nation healed and some decency and honor restored to our government, this fight goes on," she says. "I will be in that fight, and I want you in this fight with me. We will persist." Meanwhile, one common theme in coverage is bitter disappointment that yet again a woman is out of the running:

  • Sexism: Pundits will surely say Warren lost because of fears about electability, writes Jessica Valenti at Medium. But there's more to it. "Don’t tell me this isn’t about sexism. I’ve been around too long for that." Yes, Valenti and other Democratic women will support the nominee, but for now, she's feeling despair "that once again we're going to watch a race to leadership between old white men." The eventual nominee "is going to have to come to terms with the intense misogyny so many female voters have dealt with—and understand that it’s an issue we care deeply about."

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  • Kamala Harris: Another prominent female politician who dropped out echoes the point about sexism above. "This election cycle in particular has also presented very legitimate questions about the challenges of women running for president," she said, per Manu Raju of CNN. "The reality is that there's still a lot of work to be done to make it very clear that women are exceptionally qualified and capable of being the commander in chief of the United States of America."
  • The baggage: Warren was more concerned with becoming president than in becoming the "first female president," writes Amanda Terkel at HuffPost. But "at every step of the campaign, she was reminded that people still saw her as a female candidate, with all the baggage that comes with that designation—questions about her toughness, likability and relatability." It's something male candidates don't have to deal with.
  • Bitter result: At the Daily Beast, Molly Jong-Fast writes that she is "heartbroken" over Warren's departure. She notes that the New York Times described the candidate's demise as "death by a thousand cuts, not a dramatic explosion but a steady decline." For Jong-Fast, "that’s what this election feels like to me now as a woman seeing this once historically promising field down to one grumpy old man, one very old man and Jill Stein 2.0."
  • Ramifications: Bernie Sanders is poised to benefit from Warren's departure given the two candidates' support among progressive voters. However, Politico reports that Warren may not endorse him—or Biden for that matter. She may not endorse anyone, though the campaign has not made any final decisions on that yet. Of course, this sets up a one-on-debate between Sanders and Joe Biden later this month, one that Sanders has been "craving," writes James Hohmann at the Washington Post. Biden may be surging, but Sanders "might be able to rewrite the narrative of the contest for the Democratic nomination" in the March 15 debate.
(Read more Elizabeth Warren stories.)

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