Elizabeth Warren: Sexism's Next Political Victim


This Article was coauthored by political scholar and writer, Matt Simmons

It seems that a natural side effect of Hillary Clinton's historic candidacy as the first female major party nominee for president was the blatant sexism that followed her campaign. From "Life's a Bitch so Don't Vote for One" bumper stickers, to Donald Trump's declaration that Clinton lacks, "a presidential look", the impact of sexism on the trail can be debated, but its existence was indisputable.

In the recent contributor piece on The Hill, Elizabeth Warren Needs a Political Makeover if she Wants a Shot at the White House, we saw the torch of sexism pass from the 2016 race onto the speculative 2020 run of Elizabeth Warren. Here, an openly liberal opinion writer not affiliated with The Hill voiced their concerns about a Warren candidacy in their brash opening line: "Dear Elizabeth Warren; please shut up".

This speech, coming from the left wing normalizes sexism in politics, echoing comments that the Republican Party used to discredit Hillary Clinton in 2016. For many democrats these remarks serve as a stark reminder of the lack of progress we have made; sexism has found a home in presidential politics.

Warren should not be viewed for her looks, inflection, or demeanor, but rather for her litany of accomplishments promoting democratic ideals throughout her career. At Harvard-- while a professor of Bankruptcy Law-- she took part in engineering critical elements of what would become the Dodd Frank Bill regarding regulatory financial reform. She continued to fight for everyday Americans in the United States Senate through her introduction of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which-- if passed-- would have provide assistance for those with outstanding student loan debt by allowing refinancing at current interest rates, easing the burden faced by millions. Seen by liberals as a champion of the people, conservatives as a fierce adversary, Warren is a legitimate candidate whose continuous promotion of progressive causes makes her someone that democrats should be listening to, rather than telling to shut up.

Additionally, many of the other viable contenders for the democratic nomination in 2020, including Kristen Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar are women. By using sexism as an early tool to discredit Warren's potential rise to the nomination, democrats are fostering a culture of sexism that could jeopardize their only chance to dump Trump in 2020.

If Democrats have any chance of reclaiming the White House, serious internal changes need to be made, starting with the fractious nature between the moderate and progressive sects of the party. Such divisions cannot be reconciled with the continued use of sexist language as a political tactic to wage intra-party warfare. While uprooting Warren's chances of becoming president with such language may serve the immediate interests of her opponents within the party, these attacks go against the fundamental principles of The Democratic Party; one that prides itself on inclusivity and diversity. Sexism has no place within this platform, undermining the very fabric of what it means to be a democrat.