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Op-Ed: Women Need To Stop Blaming Sexism for Their Failures

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Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren went head to head during’s Tuesday’s Democratic debate in what was perhaps the first big he-said/she-said dispute of the new year.

After Warren claimed that Sanders doubted the electability of women in the 2020 presidential election, the two White House hopefuls proved to viewers that no matter who is telling the truth, both candidates agree in their support for women’s political aspirations.

While we did not learn anything new about the stances of Sanders or Warren from this nonsensical quarreling, it showcased an ongoing trend of politicians blaming gender perception for political shortcomings.

Following an influx of allegations on Monday that Sanders said he did not believe a woman could be president in a 2018 meeting with Warren before her campaign launch, the Massachusetts senator released a statement confirming the closed-door conversation.

On Tuesday’s debate stage, Sanders used his turn at the mic to clarify his position on women on the campaign trail, show support for his female competitor, and relieved the non-existent concern that the Vermont senator is a closeted sexist.

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Sanders said it was “incomprehensible” that he would think that a woman could not be president, pointing out that his 2016 primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, went on to win the popular vote in the general election.

“How could anybody in a million years not believe that a woman could become president of the United States?” Sanders asked viewers, earning applause from the audience.



And because this situation hadn’t taken up enough time that could have been used to discuss issues that working-class Americans actually care about, Warren rebutted Sanders by basically repeating his exact talking points in a poised and well-rehearsed response.

Similar to Sanders, Warren used her time to highlight the successes of female politicians, including herself and one of her opponents, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and called for people to reject the notion that women cannot successfully navigate the campaign trail.

“Look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on,” Warren countered.

But who, exactly, is raising the question?

As a former liberal flipped conservative myself, I have never experienced this apparent discriminatory push to keep women out of power from any prominent figure or movement on either side of the political spectrum, yet somehow it always gets brought up as if one party’s platform is based solely on a war against women.

I do, however, see a trend of women blaming sexism for their failures.

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Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the presidential race at the beginning of last month, had previously pointed to her gender as a potential factor in her campaign challenges, raising the question of whether America is “ready for a woman and a woman of color to be President of the United States.”

While Harris was questioning gender, her voter base was questioning her corporate backers, controversial prosecution history and underwhelming debate performances.

When it comes to ignoring legitimate voter apprehensions and instead opting to approach failure with gender-based blame, nobody compares to the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. In fact, she published an entire book relinquishing the responsibility for her campaign loss to a multitude of factors outside of her control, including sexism.

“This has to be said. Sexism and misogyny played a role in the 2016 presidential election,” she penned.

As a young woman who was about to vote for the first time in the 2016 primaries, I was excited by the idea of casting my first vote for a future female president– a feeling that was quickly replaced with distrust due to ongoing scandals, wishy-washy positions and a career-politician persona.

It was not Clinton’s gender that lost her my vote; it was her actions and her platform.

There is no doubt that America is ready to elect the first female president.

A Gallup Poll conducted in May found that 94 percent of Americans would vote for a woman president. And, as Sanders and Warren both pointed out in the debate, women have proven their electability in high-profile campaigns, including the 2016 election in which Clinton secured the popular vote. 2018 was also a record-breaking year for women running in the midterm election.

Non-incumbent women candidates outperformed their male challengers by 44 percent for Democrats and 34 percent for Republicans, and women were elected to a record number of seats in Congress. So the question is not whether a female president is electable, but whether any of the previous and current candidates are truly the best person for the job — regardless of gender.

The experience of facing scrutiny, smears and slander on the campaign trail is not gender-exclusive. Instead of jumping to blame sexism for hurdles and defeats, politicians should put more of an emphasis on listening to their voter base and learning the best way to represent the American people.

Manufacturing issues of rampant gender bias and embarking on a never-ending blame-game is doing nothing to help empower women. If women are concerned with not being taken seriously, the proper action is to accept personal responsibility, not jump to blaming sexism.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Alex Spencer grew up in Burlington, Vermont, and spent many of her young-adult years on the far-left. After moving to California and being exposed to different viewpoints and gaining a different perspective, she became a passionate conservative, working as a social media marketer, production manager and influencer in the political sphere. In 2019, Alex relocated to Phoenix, where she works as the Influencer Media Administrator for Turning Point USA. As somebody whose political transformation was heavily impacted by social and mainstream media, as well as productive conversations and friendly debates, she aims to promote diversity of thought within the culture and spread TPUSA’s values of freedom, free markets and limited government.




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