This past week, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and professional rich man Michael Bloomberg announced their 2020 presidential campaigns. Which is good news for anyone looking at the field of 19 Democratic candidates, 15 of them male, and thinking, but what about the men?
Bloomberg has decided to skip out on Iowa and focus on Super Tuesday states, which just means there is one less white man in the state who will yell at you about the marginal tax rate. Patrick will be here, part of the fluid mosaic of politicians that flow in and out of our state pretending they know something about ethanol, Casey’s breakfast pizza and Busch Light. Josh Gondleman, the comedian, who recently came to the Iowa Book Festival, not to announce a presidential bid, but to make us laugh, calls the phenomena “corn humping.”
Living in Cedar Rapids, Steve Bullock calls me more than my mom. I’ve had more conversations with Elizabeth Warren than I’ve had with single and emotionally available men. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is around so often I am considering making him my emergency contact. It’s a hue and cry of political rhetoric so exhausting and relentless it’s not surprising so few people in Iowa actually turn up to caucus on Feb. 3.
And while this is the most diverse smorgasbord of candidates in history, the morass of low-polling political men, clamoring for our attention, is exhausting and unsustainable. With the exception of Bernie Sanders’ push to the left, most of these men have struggled to distinguish themselves even from themselves. I’ve met Joe Sestak and I still couldn’t pick him out of a line up.
Everyone is fighting to be the next Joe Biden, but Biden the original wasn’t anything America has ever truly wanted. He only distinguished himself nationally as the bumbling uncle to Barack Obama’s presidency.
Recent polls show Buttigieg rising, but all of the top four candidates are within the margin of error of one another. Meanwhile, Warren, the only woman rising to the top of the polls, is being criticized as unelectable and unlikable and attacked by other candidates as “elite” and, as Buttigieg has said more than once, too focused on fighting.
There are five women currently running. Another historic feat of our democracy. But before we start handing out the “woke” awards, it’s important to point out a recent poll revealed that while 71 percent of registered voters would like to vote for a woman, it’s just, you know, not any of these specific five women. “I like her, but is she electable?” is something you hear often about Warren, the highest polling female candidate. But it’s not something anyone ever says about Buttigieg, whose only preparation for the presidency is running a town in Indiana and even then, whether he did it well still is up for debate. America wants it both ways. We want women in the race, but we don’t want to elect them. We don’t want to hear women.
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We have five women running. And yet, men keep entering the race and insisting that we listen to them. Their voices blend together a deep chorus of obfuscation and pandering, offering the lukewarm version of all the policies Americans want but are too afraid to fund or take from a woman.
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