After several male Democratic presidential hopefuls pledged to select a woman as their running mate, 2020 presidential candidate John Hickenlooper wondered why the female candidates in the field aren’t being asked whether they would pick a man.
The former Colorado governor affirmed Wednesday that he would “of course” pick a woman when asked at a CNN town hall.
“But how come we’re not asking, more often, the women: ‘Would you be willing to put a man on the ticket?’” he continued.
“When we get to that point, I’ll ask you that question,” moderator Dana Bash responded, hinting that Hickenlooper’s question was unnecessary.
His spokeswoman claimed on Twitter that Hickenlooper was “making the point that the media too often discounts the chances of women winning the nomination themselves.”
2020 candidates Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) have said that if they win the Democratic nomination in 2020, they would likely pick a woman as their running mate.
Only two women have ever been major-party vice presidential nominees: Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008.
The record number of women running in the 2020 Democratic presidential field has underscored persistent gender inequities and double standards for women in politics.
For example, 2020 candidate South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been praised for his in-depth discussions of policy, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has weathered criticism for seeming too “wonky” when demonstrating her policy expertise.
When launching his campaign last week, O’Rourke faced fierce backlash for declaring in a Vanity Fair profile that he was “born to be in it.”
In response, fellow candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) noted that as a woman, “I wasn’t born to run for office, just because growing up in the ’70s, in the middle of the country, I don’t think many people thought a girl could be president.”
O’Rourke was also forced to backpedal after making what he later admitted was a “ham-handed” joke about his wife Amy and his absence as a father and acknowledged his “privilege” as a straight white man.