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With Warren’s Concession, There’s Only One Path Forward…

...That Doesn't Set Feminism Back 50 Years

My Warren sticker on my fridge!

I am an Iowan and, as an Iowan, I had the privilege of participating in our nation’s first caucus. I caucused for Warren. I think she’s brilliant. She’s kind, she listens, she’s thoughtful, she’s truthful. she’s a genius. She’s not perfect, but I like that she’s clearly trying to do better. She is everything in the world that our current president isn’t.  She reminds of many of the women leaders in my own field that I admire and if she ever reached out to me in any way for my expertise, I would be at her disposal.  I’d be on a plane tomorrow.

Seriously.  Call me, Liz.

I don’t necessarily agree with all of her policies. I don’t entirely understand how she would quantify wealth in order to tax the most wealthy among us, and I am not sure Medicare For All is financially sustainable, but I think she’s thoughtful and I think she’d surround herself with wisdom. And, I can clearly remember the moment I became “Ride or Die” for Elizabeth Warren…

It was the moment Bernie tried to gaslight her during a debate and she stood up to him. She approached him and confronted him. It was the “I think you called me a liar on national TV” that earned her my undying affection…and gratitude. I can’t count the number of times in my career I’ve left a meeting and thought, “Did that really happen?” The number of times I’ve second-guessed myself because a man made me feel small. The times I’ve asked someone, “Did you really just say that to me?” to have my concerns dismissed. The number of times I have brought a colleague to a meeting, just to have ears there and confirm that I had an accurate recollection of events. And why? I’m a pretty brilliant woman, myself. I have advanced degrees and am reasonably successful in my career. There’s nothing wrong with my memory.  It’s that the gaslighting can be stifling.

It’s because women are constantly gaslit when they point out the shenanigans some of our male colleagues pull in the spirit of their own advancement. I will forever be grateful to Elizabeth Warren for showing other women that we don’t need to accept being treated this way. At that moment I also realized that I can’t support Bernie.

Bernie is a liar. We already have a liar-in-chief. His main concern is his own electability. What’s the evidence for this? He doesn’t talk about how we treat each other. His own rhetoric encourages the worst behavior in our party. He doesn’t admonish his supporters for their behavior toward the pubic and the media. He gives no sign that he respects anyone past their support for his vision. He might want to give you health care and college, but everything else he seems to bring to the table, we’ve already got. In spades, wearing red ball caps. I want no more of it.

Bernie showed his true colors and we have a responsibility not to ignore them.

Biden was not my first choice. I was a Warren supporter and I’m disappointed. But, I feel the need to push back against the current rhetoric that if Warren is a “progressive,” she has no choice but to support Bernie.  Or that Biden and Bernie are the same as 70 year old white guys. That’s not true. At the core of progressive politics is respect for personal dignity and the honoring of individual, basic human rights. Bernie is not the only Democrats to advocate for this. He’s not even a Democrat. He is a huge dick and a liar and if there is one thing our country doesn’t need right now, it’s another huge dick and liar in the White House.

I’m disappointed a brilliant, capable woman will not be our president, but I’m also not willing to lump Biden in with Bernie. Cranky ole Uncle Joe is known for his occasional gaff, but he’s also the guy who rode the train to work from Delaware 8,200 times because his family needed him after his first wife died. He’s the guy who gave John McCain’s eulogy and sincerely comforted his family, knowing their pain because his own son had succumbed to brain cancer. He’s the guy who stood up for his second wife’s ability to be referred to as “Dr. Biden” because she had earned her degree. And, he’s the guy who always had the back of our first black president. I’ve shown my children this video of Joe Biden in the years before this election as an example of the integrity and collaboration of two men from different backgrounds and life experiences, working together to try and make things a little better. Sometimes I still watch it when I need a reminder that people can work together. It still makes me teary-eyed. I get teary-eyed because I love our country too. I don’t think we need to make it great again. In ideals, it’s already great. We just need to make sure everyone has access to its greatness and that’s what needs to change.

Biden’s not perfect, but he’s got three qualities I admired in Warren – he’s honest, he tries hard, and he listens. He’s not always made the best choice, but I think he learns. I think he thinks there are things he should have done differently and I think he feels the weight of duty. He may not be perfectly polished, but he has empathy.

I get no sense of that from Bernie. What I do get is a profound lack of self-awareness that will lead him to trample over people that don’t agree with him.  He will most certainly trample over women’s voices. We’ve seen it in 2016 and again in 2020. There is no evidence that President Bernie will behave differently than Candidate Bernie.

There is no way to reconcile feminist ideology with a vote for Bernie. None.  It’s not worth giving up the ground we’ve gained as women for Medicare for All or dealing with the student loan crisis because I don’t think there is a lot of light between Biden and Bernie on these issues anyway. The execution maybe, but not core progressive principles.

What there is, is a light between them in terms of how they treat women.  If you were a Warren supporter, there’s really only one path forward.

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Isis the Scientist

Scientist, mother of the iKids, Strange’s wife, professorial, diversity, Iowan, bikes, shoes, debt free zealot, post-stomach. Old crone of a blogger who just never learns. Not close to affiliated with my employer.

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23 Comments

  1. Thank you. I’m so saddened that my vote for Warren won’t count in November. And the last thing we need is another ‘outsider’ populist in the White House. Even if he’s not THAT bad.

  2. I understand the feelings around Bernie, but is supporting a guy who has made a lot of women uncomfortable with unwanted touches really that much better in terms of feminism?

    1. I still don’t get it. Hillbots sent me CP (and I was molested by a neighbor when I was seven) during 2016, but I still voted for her in the end. I still have nightmares about that, and I expect David Brock and all the other Republicans she hired to pay for my therapy.

  3. In the rest of the world, we’ve been mocking the US for electing Trump for years now. He was such an obviously terrible choice. It’s not mirthful mocking at all, it’s us expressing our terrible disappointment in you, in the only way we can keep up for years at a time.

    If you elect Biden (or worse, let Biden be the reason Trump gets re-elected), we’re going to keep mocking you. Biden is also clearly terrible, for several reasons. Chiefly, I’d be uncomfortable with his pro-business ideology. Americans seem to have a very distorted view of how harmful that is to most people, both within the US public, and in all the other countries your corporations corrupt and exploit. The girl-sniffing thing is also deeply disturbing and impossible to excuse away.

    It also seems very odd to let Biden’s decades of history of working against women and minorities be suddenly and completely balanced out by a single ambiguous incident of Warren and Sanders disagreeing about the subtext of a private conversation. Sanders said he was misinterpreted, taken out of context; why not believe him? It needn’t be a gaslighting of Warren; genuine miscommunication does happen. And I’m fully aware that I now sound like I’m also trying to gaslight Warren, but that isn’t my intention. I’m just concerned that Biden’s whole campaign is basically one giant gaslight that goes against the ideals of both Warren and Sanders, and their combined supporters. Biden is clearly far, far worse than Sanders, out of the remaining two Democrat options.

    And on behalf of the rest of the world, we don’t want you to keep up your status quo anymore. It impoverishes us, it robs us, it bombs us, it kills us. Please, stop voting for the comfortable same-old over and over. We get hopeful whenever there’s even a hint that you might finally try someone genuinely progressive for once. Warren would have been great. Sanders will be great. And we’re absolutely desperate for your President Ocasio-Cortez. But we’ll never get that, so long as you keep willingly handing the presidency to some rich guy with rich-guy friends, for the umpteenth time in a row.

    1. Not going to happen. We have a choice: Elect the Democratic nominee (most likely Biden at this point in the process, but Sanders could conceivably still pull it out) or re-elect Trump. Despite the justifiable complaints of many inside and especially outside the US of our terrible behavior over the last 400 years (going back to the slave trade and Metacom’s war, and colonial intervention in the Western Hemisphere since the Monroe Doctrine, and especially since World War 2, Trump is catastrophically worse than any other president ever. He will continue to drive the US and the rest of the world into the clearly visible bridge pilings in front of us. The ensuing wreck should cause no joy for people who think they are innocent bystanders. The explosion and flying debris will cause far more harm to everyone than a continuation of the moderate. democratic policies of Obama, Clinton and Carter, and even those of Reagan and the Bushes. Trump hasn’t actually started a major shooting war yet, but that’s not his fault.

      Don’t tell us to waste our votes on some imaginary unelectable 3rd party candidate who would just guarantee Trump.

      1. “Unelectable” is also a very strange American concept. Everywhere else, being actually elected is what makes you retroactively “electable”, because democracy isn’t considered to be predetermined prior to that.

        However, beyond that, I’m not sure what your point is. I’m not arguing in favour of electing trump, and neither was Isis’s article. The issue in question here is who should be the Democrat’s candidate. If you’re already agreed that it could well be Sanders, then I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make, in response to my suggestion that it shouldn’t be Biden. Given a choice of Trump or other, sure, pick other in almost all cases. But that’s not the current discussion; the current discussion is Biden or Sanders, and Biden is clearly not good for most people. The notion that Biden is more “electable” is perverse and backwards. And Sanders is close as damn to Warren, by most reasonable measures.

        1. “Unelectable” literally means almost zero chance of winning. I was referring to the current situation in the 2020 election post Super Tuesday, not some bullshit principle like “No woman can be elected President of the US”.

          The president will almost certainly be the nominee of one of the two major parties. No third party candidate has won the presidency since Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Since then, Teddy Roosevelt came closest with 27% in 1912. All the polls agree with this.

          Only two candidates have any chance of getting the Democratic nomination (Biden and Sanders). Trump is a dead cert of the Republican nomination. (Bill Weld has no chance.)

          The only thing that could prevent this is either death or a major scandal taking out BOTH Democratic candidates, or Trump dying.* (Trump is scandal-proof, having already gotten away with every conceivable form of criminal and non-criminal reprehensible behavior imaginable. Nothing he could do is worse than things he has already done.)

          I voted for Elizabeth Warren last week, and won’t have another vote until the final election. I will vote for the Democratic candidate, whoever that is. I would prefer Sanders because his policies are much closer to mine, but Biden would be much better than Trump, if only for the Supreme Court.

          [*] Favorite fantasy: Trump sexually assaults Pence’s wife, and Pence shoots him in public, taking out both of them and resulting in President Pelosi.

          1. Okay, I don’t really want anyone to be sexually assaulted, not even Pence’s wife. Maybe Pence imagines Trump did this (knowing his history) and shoots him based on mistaken information?

      2. Or, just do as the centrists keep accusing us of doing, let Trump win until the DNC just realizes this is no longer profitable for them to continue this job. Because I can’t see Biden winning this election. He’s like a more disagreeable version of Hillary Clinton, with all that implies. (Picking fights with your constituents. Really?)

  4. I disagree with this post. Selecting Biden would set feminism 50 years back but Bernie would forward it. People seem to think that either Warren is a liar, or Bernie is a gas lighter, but I believe neither. I believe Warren misinterpreted something Bernie said. I believe Bernie told warren that a specific challenge for a women trying to become president is sexism. There is nothing wrong with saying that. Warren may have interpreted it as a women can not be president.

    Bernie has spent his entire life fighting for women’s and racial rights. He marched with Martin Luther King, He was arrested protesting segregation, he fought for gay rights when it was considerably more taboo, he is on tape a few decades ago saying there are not enough women in government, etc.

    A good example of Bernie setting feminism forward is medicare for all. This would allow tons of women to have access to safe abortions, this would allow tons of trans people to have access to their required medical care. This is literally a massive positive for gender equality. This is also something that Joe Biden is not fighting for, in fact he is fighting it.

    Another problem is the fact that Joe Biden is pretty corrupt. An example of this would be when Trump made that overseas call to get dirt on Biden. He was acquitted during his impeachment trial for that. Sure, Trump was guilty and deserves to be in jail, but being acquitted is almost saying to the american public who dont follow politics that Trump can not possibly be corrupt, and so Trump can turn that argument against Biden.

    I just disagree with his article so much in that Joe Biden does not have a history of fighting for women’s right in the same way that Bernie does.

  5. What bothers me most is not whether Sanders or Biden or Warren or whoever becomes president.

    It’s that I don’t hear a word about the other races. Senate Congress, state house elections. I fear that self-styled “progressives” are going to let them go to the reactionary Right wing, because all they’re paying attention to is the presidency.

    All those races have at least as big an impact on what happens as the presidency. The reason the reactionary Right is pretty much in control is that right-wing organizations started decades ago putting their people into every race, from dogcatcher on up. If reactionary Republicans weren’t in control of the Senate (and, with their fellow-travellers among the “Democrats,” pretty much control the House), Trump would never have gotten away with half of the stuff he’s done.

    Me, I’m not worried so much about Trump or Biden grabbing my crotch. I’m worried about the right-wingers on the State level grabbing control of my body and my life (and making my very existence illegal.) I’m worried about Tea Party Republicans in the Senate putting judges in place that will judge in favor of racism and misogyny. I’m worried about mayors and county executives who appoint police chiefs who implement blatantly racist policies. (I’m looking at you, Bloomberg.) About elected DAs that condone murder by state agents. About school boards that implement racist, homophobic, and classist policies. City councils that implement de facto segregation (my neighbor to the South, Yonkers.)

  6. “… she’s truthful.”
    I respectfully have to disagree.
    Was Liz Warren really truthful when she claimed to be of Native American heritage?
    [from The Miami Herald]
    “In fact, Warren had repeatedly claimed Native American status at a series of institutions for years before she got to Harvard, listing herself as an “American Indian” on her Texas State Bar registration card in 1986, for example.
    And back when the story first broke, Warren offered a 1984 Indian cookbook edited by a family member, “Pow Wow Chow,” and the recipes she contributed to it, as evidence of her native heritage. In fact, the recipes were fakes, plagiarized from books and magazines and utterly unconnected to either her Oklahoma background or (now-debunked) native heritage.
    Her recipe for Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing, for example, was taken word-for-word from a French chef’s recipe in the New York Times.”
    Was she telling the truth when she said her father was employed as a janitor? Was she honest when she claimed that her children attended public and not private schools?

    “Biden’s not perfect…he listens…he has empathy.”
    Not so sure about the empathy part. I’ve seen several video clips of Biden’s exchanges with (and about) younger voters and some union workers where he always comes off as dismissive, short-sighted and certainly not empathetic, literally telling them they’re full of sh$t. What sort of person who wants your vote does that sort of thing? I will tell you. Someone who has been part of a cruel and corrupt establishment political system and doesn’t have their constituents best interests at heart.

    “What I do get is a profound lack of self-awareness that will lead him to trample over people that don’t agree with him. He will most certainly trample over women’s voices. We’ve seen it in 2016 and again in 2020.”
    Again, I highly disagree.
    I remember seeing a video clip of one of Bernie’s first campaign stops in 2015. He was giving a speech where a female member of Black Lives Matter grabbed the mic from him and started her protest talk. Rather than grapple for control, he stood back for a while, listened, then moved off stage and shook hands with some of the audience as he left. It was not too long after that that he hired a Black, female as one of campaign officials.

    In the end, we will never know what was actually said between Warren and Sanders in their private exchange, previous to the debate stage. It looks to me that while she knew the mic was still hot, Warren would do some political posturing in the form of accusation. If anyone is being a gaslighter, it’s Ms. Warren.

  7. “Biden’s not perfect, but he’s got three qualities I admired in Warren – he’s honest, he tries hard, and he listens.”

    This Indian says he is exactly as much those things as Warren.

    But seriously, he strikes me as a more disagreeable Hillary Clinton, fighting with his constituents. Even more dismissive than a typical centrist Dem, those masters of rhetorical onanism. And since Trump is an incumbent, he’ll be harder to beat. Really, anyone who thinks Biden is our best option is an ????? and should be treated as such.

  8. https://news.yahoo.com/seven-women-have-now-accused-joe-biden-of-inappropriate-touching-131204785.html

    I doesn’t seem reasonable to ignore articles like this one. Biden has demonstrated a clear disregard for women. How can this site, of all my favourite sites, disregard that so easily? How can that be equated to something Sanders might have said, and might not have meant as some claim he meant? How can 7 women (at least) be totally ignored, just to give Warren the benefit of a different doubt?

    In short, what good reasons have you got for wanting such a conservative, worrying man as your president?

    Again, I’m not American, I don’t vote in either your primaries or your elections. But the rest of us in the other 96% of the world do have to live disproportionately with the consequences of your actions. Please, reconsider this position.

  9. I remembered reading this a few weeks back and got angry again. This is genuinely one of the worst political takes that I have read, and aligns with this sites mission statement neither in terms of skepticism or feminism. I have been a fan of Rebecca Watson and this site for close to a decade and something like this is honestly indefensible. It gets very difficult for me to tell my friends that they are wrong when they say “How good can the site really be if the quality control let something like that article through?”

    The things you have to ignore in order to say “What there is, is a light between them in terms of how they treat women.” is fucking mind boggling and borders on malicious. With the things Biden has done to staffers, girls and not to mention the Anita Hill debacle, you have to be profoundly disingenuous to pretend that one heated moment between Bernie and Warren should trump that. If you would prefer a sexual assaulter to someone who you assume lied about Warren once in the name of “feminism”, then you are not a feminist. You just want the aesthetic of it so you can claim that your view is right by definition.

    The article would be a lot more honest if it just said that “I am angry that Warren dropped out. I blame Bernie so I would rather vote for someone who has driven conservative talking points for decades than the one who is closest to Warrens policies”. You didn’t care about her policies to begin with if you are so easily turned off.

    As for the whole meme of “electability”, I really don’t know who people think that they are fooling. Trump could run the *exact* same campaign against Biden that he did against Hillary, except now he has even more ammo. Americans seem to use the word “electable” to mean “politician-like”, which is unsurprisingly the exact opposite of what wins elections. People in the US absolutely hate politicians, and with Biden you see basically everything there is to dislike about them. He never admits fault, he goes exactly as progressive as he has to be in order to seem mainstream and he very clearly does not care about real concerns of Americans. Literally telling voters to “Grow up” or “Vote for Trump” rather than give even the slightest hint of encouragement.

    Suffice it to say, I am disappointed that this article managed to get up and stay on a site like this. A site that I think is extremely important in the struggle for rational voices in progressivism and intersectional feminism. It’s disappointing that a writer for it doesn’t seem to genuinely value any of this.

  10. To back up my claim that Joe Biden would set back feminism, he is being accused of sexually assaulting a women right now. This is not the guy we want.

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