Things That Matter

Apparently Bernie Sanders Told Elizabeth Warren That Women Can’t Win The Presidency And Here’s Why He’s Wrong

Identity politics have taken center stage in progressive politics once again. This time CNN is reporting that four sources say Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren in a private meeting that a woman cannot win the presidency. Bernie directly spoke to CNN to refute the allegation. However, CNN claims their four sources are credible — two spoke to Warren directly after the meeting and the other two were “familiar” with the meeting. 

Warren and Sanders met in December 2018 to talk about the 2020 election. It was at this meeting that Warren revealed she would run. The two progressives have been allies for years, but with only one able to score the nomination supporters and pundits have attempted to pit them against each other. The two senators have largely resisted and have been supportive on the campaign trail.

CNN sources allege Sanders doesn’t think a woman candidate could earn the presidency.

According to CNN, the two future candidates discussed how they should remain civil to one another, the best strategy to unseat Donald Trump, and Warren told him she felt she would be a compelling candidate because she could build a coalition amongst female voters and could make convincing arguments about the economy. 

This is when Sanders allegedly told her a woman couldn’t win. Sanders has resisted identity politics and takes a broad approach to solving all inequalities which has been both a source of criticism and celebration. Warren tends to take things on an intersectional level.

For example, where Bernie believes Medicare For All will enrich black women who face disproportionately high maternal mortality rates, Warren supports Medicare For All but in addition to it, she lays out a plan to specifically correct the high mortality rates for black women by penalizing hospitals that fail black mothers

“One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics,” Sanders said in 2016. 

His comments about doing away with identity politics have been a source of ire for those who need identity politics to obtain civil rights. 

“Sanders’s comments represent a flank of the Democratic party that partly blames Clinton’s loss on her strong embrace of race and gender issues, which could have turned off white male voters in particular,” according to Vox. “Meanwhile, the marginalized groups who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats fear being thrown under the bus, as they have many times before, so that the party can curry more favor with white Americans.”

Bernie denies claims that he doesn’t believe a woman president could win.

“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders said. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

Kristen Orthman, Warren’s communications director declined to comment. The CNN exposè comes in the wake of reports that Sanders’ campaign had started taking a more offensive approach regarding Warren despite previous efforts to be cordial. Politico reported that Sanders’ canvassers were given a script to undermine Warren. 

The script says that  “people who support her are highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what” and that “she’s bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party.”

The script also featured attacks on Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, the two other frontrunners.

Many agree sexism is an important factor in this presidential election.

“Bernie knows me, and has known me for a long time,” Warren said, expressing disappointment in the script. “He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for, and the coalition and grassroots movement we’re trying to build.”

Warren is the only woman left in the race and has moved up and down first and third place for the bulk of campaign season. Sexism has been accepted as playing a significant factor in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

“The Barbara Lee Family Foundation research shows female candidates pay a higher price than men if they are seen as learning on the job. It’s likely not a coincidence, then, that Warren and other female candidates for president have detailed policy proposals on everything from student-loan debt forgiveness to affordable housing,” the Washington Post noted last May. “By contrast, Buttigieg and O’Rourke — two men with relatively thin résumés running for president — have been piecing together their platforms as they run.” 

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