Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. react to the audience Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
I have to admit that part of me was disappointed to read this morning that Sen. Elizabath Warren (D-MA) was dropping out of the Democratic presidential race.
My reasons are, of course, vastly different from those of her supporters. I wanted to sit back and watch Warren and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) politically destroy each other and their party (during the convention) along with it. But it wasn’t meant to be.
But her supporters wanted her to remain in the race in part because she was the last woman still in it outside of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who is sticking around more as a statement/anti-establishment candidate than a viable contender.
So imagine my surprise (not) when reactions from “feminists” and prominent former presidential candidates like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) started rolling in. Many of them, including Harris, trotted out the “woman” card to explain why campaigns like her’s and Warren’s failed:
“Look at what's happened there are no women currently in this race..but 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,” she said
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 5, 2020
In remarks to reporters after she made her announcement, Warren also latched on to the sexism excuse, and promised she’d have “a lot more to say on that subject later on”:
Warren on sexism in the 2020 race: "That is the trap question for every woman. If you say yeah, there was sexism in this race, everyone says, 'Whiner.' And if you say no, there was no sexism, about a bazillion women think, 'What planet do you live on?'" https://t.co/7eG9ZYlQsW pic.twitter.com/zMy5ohtbgd
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 5, 2020
Unfortunately for both Warren and Harris, there are some inconvenient facts about their campaigns and their support base that run counter to their “sexism” excuses.
Firstly, the Super Tuesday exit polls from Warren’s home state of Massachusetts put a dagger into claims that sexism was a primary factor in why she couldn’t win. Take a look:
Tonight, in her home state of Massachusetts, exit polling shows Elizabeth Warren:
– lost women to Biden by 10 points
– lost "very liberal" voters to Sanders by 7 points
– lost college + voters to Biden by 5 points
– lost M4A supports to Sanders by 14 points
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) March 4, 2020
As Democrats are fond of telling their base, they can’t win races if they can’t lock down the women vote. She lost to Joe Biden, a man who has #MeToo problems, by 10 points. In her home state. If she couldn’t win the backing of a majority of Democratic women one of the most liberal states in the country, she wasn’t going to win it anywhere else, either.
In addition to that, there were also reasons why Warren couldn’t just expect women voters to gravitate towards her, as 538 explained in September as she was rising in the polls.
There are also plenty of other reasons why Warren’s campaign cratered which have nothing to do with sexism, but that’s a story for another post.
Harris, like Warren, also enjoyed a rise in the polls during the course of her campaign. But Harris’ time in the top tier was much shorter – and the only person to blame for that was Harris herself.
Media types and liberal commentators were treating her as the invincible candidate after the first Democratic debate. But as July rolled on, her numbers began to decline. And after Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) absolutely took Harris to the woodshed at the second debate over her troubling criminal justice reform record as California’s attorney general, Harris’ numbers dropped even more .
Key to her dramatic fall in the polls was the devastating drop in support from key Democratic voting blocs including black voters and female voters.
Harris’s support among female Democrats went from 24% in early July to 7% a month later. Support among black supporters for Harris went from 27% in July to just 1% in early August.
Keep in mind that in the midst of Harris’ freefall, she blamed the fact that she was a black woman on why she couldn’t regain traction. Even as her support was dropping dramatically from black voters!
Both Warren and Harris may think it sounds good to suggest the fact that they are women played a starring role in the failures of their respective campaigns, but the reality is that’s just not true. They’re using the “woman/sexism” card-playing as an excuse to mask their real failures. It’s embarrassing and yet predictable all the same.