Harris highlights ‘challenges’ for women after Warren drops out
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and other leading liberal women drew attention to sexism and the uphill battle female candidates face in running for president after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination on Thursday.
“This election cycle in particular has … presented very legitimate questions about the challenges of women running for president of the United States,” Harris told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Following former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s stunning election loss to President Trump in 2016, many Democrats hoped that 2020 was the year that a woman would win the White House, particularly with five women running for the Democratic nomination.
But in addition to Warren and Harris, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have ended their presidential bids.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is the last remaining woman in the contest, but she has not qualified for the past few Democratic debates and has not been competitive in the primary races so far.
The Democratic nominating contest has come down to two white men in their 70s, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“Look at what’s happened. There are no women currently in this race,” Harris said.
“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.”
Throughout her presidential run, Warren made a point of taking pictures with young girls and telling them that they can achieve whatever they want, including becoming the next president.
“We 100 percent know that the ripple effects of Elizabeth Warren’s big ideas campaign for president will be felt for months, years, and decades — and someday a little girl who pinky swore to Elizabeth that she would run for office will be sworn into Congress and as President,” Stephanie Taylor and Adam Green, the co-founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
Some progressives blamed the news media, alleging sexism led to coverage that tilted the playing field against the women.
“It is clear from Warren’s campaign that there is a glass ceiling held firmly in place for women by a media who relentlessly shape voters perceptions of who is electable through a deeply sexist lens,” said Shaunna Thomas, the co-founder of UltraViolet Action, a liberal women’s group.
“In a year in which primary voters’ top concerns is electability — the media has had a massive impact on how voters perceived the candidates — and when Warren was on the top of the polls, the main narrative driven by the media was that she was not electable. That’s unacceptable. It is the media’s sexism that determined Warren’s fate — from the clear evidence of her erasure in their reporting as a leading candidate to the persistent questioning of her electability — and the media is responsible for hurting her ability to win support amongst primary voters,” Thomas said.