Tag: gender card

Hillary supporter Jessica Valenti plays the “vote for someone that looks like you” card

Jessica Valenti, a Hillary Clinton-supporting columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian, effectively called for Democrats to vote for Hillary simply because she’s a woman:

When it comes to women in politics, the United States is pretty much the pits. Women make up half the population in this country but hold less than 20% of congressional seats and comprise less than 25% of state legislators. The numbers for women of color are even more dismal.

On the world stage, the US ranks 72nd in women’s political participation, far worse than most industrialized countries – and with numbers similar to Saudi Arabia’s. A United Nations working group late last year called attention to this disparity in a report that found massive discrimination against women across the board, an “overall picture of women’s missing rights”.

And so it seems strange that at a time when the country has the opportunity to elect the first female president, the idea that gender might be a factor is considered shallow in some circles.

Valenti, for all intents and purposes, effectively said the truth about Hillary’s presidential campaign: many, but not all, of Hillary’s supporters are supporting her because she’s a woman. I think that’s just as sexist as a Bernie Sanders supporter saying that he or she is supporting Bernie because he’s a white male and/or Jewish, something that virtually no Bernie supporter believes. I’m not supporting Bernie because of race, gender, religion, etc. (in fact, I’m a white male atheist), but because my political ideology closely lines up with that of Bernie.

One would only need to look to Wisconsin for a couple of real-life examples of how destructive this style of race and gender-baiting politics truly is. In a 2012 Democratic primary for a seat in the Wisconsin State Senate, Elizabeth Coggs called for voters in a Democratic Wisconsin State Assembly primary that year to “vote for someone who looks like you”, a reference to the fact that Millie Coby, a black woman, was running against Sandy Pasch, a white Jewish woman, in the Assembly primary. Both Coggs and Coby lost their primaries. Additionally, five of the seven members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court are female, yet Wisconsin’s highest bench is probably the most right-wing government institution in the entire country. As a matter of fact, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is ridiculously corrupt (outside political groups have had considerable influence on re-writing ethics rules for Wisconsin Supreme Court justices), hyperpartisan (the Wisconsin Supreme Court has sided with Republican Governor Scott Walker on every major case they’ve ruled on since Walker became governor), and even violent (in one instance, conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser put liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a chokehold).

It’s pretty clear to me that Hillary Clinton and her supporters think that it’s a valid crime for a white man like Bernie Sanders to stand up for progressive values and seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

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My thoughts about the first Democratic presidential debate

Having watched last night’s Democratic presidential debate, I’ll begin by saying that I believe that Bernie Sanders won the debate, with Martin O’Malley having the second-best performance, followed by Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee.

My thoughts about Bernie Sanders’s performance

The Good – He upstaged Hillary Clinton on an issue directly affecting HRC (the private email server “scandal” that has been concocted by the GOP). He also defended himself very well, especially on gun safety and on the Veterans’ Affairs health system scandal.

The Bad – He mentioned his campaign website twice during the debate.

My thoughts about Martin O’Malley’s performance

The Good – He came across as the strongest candidate on gun safety, invoking the story of a family who lost one of their own in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre.

The Bad – He tried to defend his zero-tolerance policing policy from his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, which was one of several factors that have led to distrust between the police and the public in Baltimore.

My thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s performance

The Good – She came across as very professional during the debate without coming across as scripted or boring. She also cracked a joke at a very inappropriate remark from lead moderator Anderson Cooper about her bathroom usage.

The Bad – She twice invoked the fact that she’s a woman during the debate. She also gave weak answers on a number of issues, most notably marijuana legalization and financial regulation.

My thoughts about Jim Webb’s performance

The Good – He used his wife’s story on immigration very well.

The Bad – He used the NRA’s talking points on guns.

My thoughts about Lincoln Chafee’s performance

The Good – Nothing about his debate performance was especially good.

The Bad – He blamed his father’s death on his vote for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in the late 1990’s. Furthermore, he made an odd remark comparing himself to a block of granite at one point in the debate.

The big winners (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

The Democratic Party – All in all, the debate was a great showing that Democrats can have an intelligent, civil discussion about actual political issues between candidates representing various factions of the party.

Civic engagement – CNN’s telecast of the debate received the most viewers of any Democratic presidential primary/caucus debate in television history.

The internet – For the first time since the 1960 presidential general election debates, there appears to be a major disconnect between two media platforms on debate performance. In 1960, it was between radio (whose listeners viewed Richard Nixon as the debate winner) and television (whose viewers viewed John F. Kennedy as the debate winner). This time, it’s between television (which has been trying to spin a Hillary Clinton debate victory) and the internet (most people on social media view Bernie Sanders as the debate victor). I’d expect the newer platform (in this case, the internet) to come out on top.

The big losers (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

Anderson Cooper – Cooper, CNN’s lead moderator for the debate, tried to use his position to smear Bernie Sanders on a number of GOP talking points against him and failed, and he also made a very inappropriate remark about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom usage after one of the commercial breaks.

The mainstream media – See my remarks about the internet being a big winner above.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee, one of many Republican presidential candidates, took to Twitter during the debate and made downright racist remarks about Korean people while attacking Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden – With Hillary Clinton giving a strong enough debate performance to calm down those in the establishment who were fretting about Hillary, and Bernie Sanders solidifying the progressive base of the party, there’s not really a path to victory for Biden if he were to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

Debate fairness – CNN shut out Lawrence Lessig from participating in the debate despite the fact that Lessig is a Democratic candidate for president.