In certain circles, Amy Siskind and David Pakman are somewhat famous.
Siskind is a former Wall Street-executive-turned-activist, best known for her website The Weekly List, in which she chronicles everything that’s gone wrong during every week of Trump’s presidency. Pakman is a former adjunct professor at Boston College who also hosts a podcast in which he similarly catalogues the many perfidies of the Trump administration.
Both are a lot more famous than they were before the month of December began, and not just within those certain circles. And surprisingly, it’s also not for their concordance. Anything but, in fact.
Their story begins on Dec. 19, when Siskind announced on Twitter that she refused to consider any “white male candidates” in the 2020 Democrat primaries.
I will not support white male candidates in the Dem primary. Unless you slept thru midterms, women were our most successful candidate. Biggest Dem vote getters in history: Obama ‘08, Hillary ‘16. White male is not where our party is at, and is our LEAST safe option in 2020.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) December 17, 2018
“I will not support white male candidates in the Dem primary,” she wrote.
“Unless you slept thru midterms, women were our most successful candidate. Biggest Dem vote getters in history: Obama ‘08, Hillary ‘16. White male is not where our party is at, and is our LEAST safe option in 2020.”
This is a pretty good argument unless — and sometimes it helps to do this — you think about it.
Hillary lost and Obama was a cultural phenomenon — a phenomenon that seems unlikely to duplicate itself in a 2020 field where the very white Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and (sigh) Robert “Beto” O’Rourke were the only candidates to crack 5 percent in a recent CNN poll. Of the candidates meeting Siskind’s parameters, Cory Booker is at 5 percent and gaining no momentum, and Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have seen their support cut by more than half.
Of course, Siskind has an issue with Beto, as well:
We have some unpacking to do too folks on the internalized sexism and racism in our own party – and despite what the numbers tell us and nature of our base – why we presume white male is safe. Why say, a Beto is held up but a Stacey Abrams is not.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) December 17, 2018
I don’t get Betomania either, but he’s at 9 percent and Stacy Abrams hasn’t even made the polls.
Beyond strict pragmatism, there was also an ideological problem with this, which Pakman decided to point out (or mansplain) to her: This is kind of racist/sexist in its own right.
isn’t there something not progressive about pre-emptively dismissing a candidate based on their race and gender? I feel like there’s as word to describe that…as a progressive, I won’t be jumping on board with that idea.
— David Pakman (@dpakman) December 18, 2018
Siskind’s riposte was also fairly progressive, essentially questioning Pakman’s manhood:
Secure men are always at the fore-front of diversity. They don’t see their place or status threatened by lifting women, people of color, or people of all sexual orientations because they are comfortable with themselves.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) December 19, 2018
So now the argument’s shifted to white men lifting women and minorities up by disqualifying themselves because they’re comfortable with their white manhood, not because this is a good strategy for the Democrats. I mention the shift because I think the two are mutually exclusive; that they have to do the work of “lifting women, people of color, or people of all sexual orientations” assumes they need lifting to win, not that they represent the best hope for the Democrats.
Pakman, however, seemed to agree with Siskind — he just didn’t see how what she had to say made the progressive movement stronger.
that’s exactly right, and I’m 100% onboard with that. It seems to be the exact opposite of pre-emptively disqualifying candidates on the basis of race or gender.
— David Pakman (@dpakman) December 19, 2018
And then things moved off of Twitter in a very big way, at least according to Pakman:
2 days ago @Amy_Siskind posted that she won’t vote for white or male candidates in 2020. I pointed out this is racist and sexist. Yesterday she blocked me on Twitter. Today she called Boston College demanding they not have me back as adjunct faculty.
— David Pakman (@dpakman) December 20, 2018
When you can’t beat ’em, try to get him fired. As it turns out, Pakman hasn’t taught at Boston College in at least a year, according to The College Fix, which could explain why this is arguably the worst possible way to end a Twitter war. We also have to point out that this is just an allegation, but Siskind’s response seemed to indicate something had happened.
Asked by The College Fix what her exact complaint was — Pakman simply disagreed with her, after all, and didn’t use sexist language or anything like that — Siskind was vague.
“Mr. Pakman can publicly apologize and explain his misstatements. I understand he has been corrected,” she said. “People are watching how he conducts himself.”
Actually, I’m more interested in watching how Siskind conducts herself. But that’s just me.
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