A Wednesday panel discussion on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports tried to answer the question of whether a woman can get elected president. The subject began as a result of an article written by MSNBC contributor Lisa Lerer at The New York Times and the Vogue photo shoot that included the all of the Democratic women running for President with the exception of Marianne Williamson.
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus began the conversation by stating that the question of female electability will continue until a woman gets elected, a point Mitchell interrupted to agree with. Marcus compared the public's perception of women candidates from, "A woman who is running, isn't that amazing. It's like a zoo animal” to "we have a woman who is the front-runner and then the nominee, but she lost. Now we have an election that's quite fascinating where it's not one lone zoo animal or even one loan front-runner, but a number of significant, totally legitimate, to be taken seriously."
What the liberal Marcus didn't say was that the "zoo animal" attitude came mostly from liberals who are so caught up in the cult of identity politics that they don't look beyond the candidate's gender and they ignore any warning signs about the candidate's shortfalls and then cry sexism when they lose, a mistake she repeated later when she said that the Democratic women are or should "be taken seriously."
Later in the segment Heidi Przbyla stated that in 2016 it was hard to separate out the misogyny, which was "absolutely" there in 2016, from years of anti-Clinton sentiment, "of a woman who had risen to power and gotten the nomination and isolated that and had a discussion about whether we're ready to elect a woman, that would have been a clearer test case."
Liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson then made the point that this entire discussion was essentially meaningless because, "You never get a clear test case on gender or on issues, for that matter. It's candidate versus candidate when you get to the general election and that's how people vote."
In words not often said before at NewsBusters, Euguene Robinson is right. Everybody knows that conservatives are never going to vote for Kamala Harris and that liberals are never going to vote for Nikki Haley. But only liberals and some in the media interpret their candidates losing as "Americans just aren't ready for a female president."
Here is a transcript for the July 3 show:
Andrea Mitchell Live
12:26 PM ET
ANDREA MITCHELL: I want to bring up a subject of Lisa Lerer, our friend and colleague at "The New York Times," writing today that after “nominating the first woman in history to head a presidential ticket, nearly six months after a wave of energized women swept Democrats into power in the House, and a record number of women run for president, the party still finds itself grappling with the strangely enduring question of the electability of women,” Ruth?
RUTH MARCUS: We're going to be asking this question, people are going to be asking this question…
MITCHELL: Until a woman gets elected
MARCUS: … until a woman gets elected. So I see this as an evolution. First it was “A woman who is running, isn't that amazing. It's like a zoo animal.” And then we have a woman who is the front-runner and then the nominee, but she lost. Now we have an election that's quite fascinating where it's not one lone zoo animal or even one loan front-runner, but a number of significant, totally legitimate, to be taken seriously women
MITCHELL: And to take them seriously, let me just point out that Vanity Fair has an Annie Leibovitz spread with some wonderful pictures -- I'm sorry, it's in Vogue, Vogue not Vanity Fair. Vogue’s profile on the women running with Annie Leibovitz pictures, these wonderful pictures on these women, iconic pictures.
MARCUS: Someday this is not going to be a curiosity. It's going to be a normal fact of life. We're not quite there yet. Every election we get a little bit further.
HEIDI PRZBYLA: You know part of the problem was, Lisa and I covered, along with Andrea, the Hillary Clinton campaign and we absolutely saw and discussed it afterwards, we absolutely saw misogyny on the campaign trail, but it was very hard to separate that out from of just anti-Clinton, decades worth of anti-Clinton sentiment in the country and to separate out, so if you just took a pure example of a woman who had risen to power and gotten the nomination and isolated that and had a discussion about whether we're ready to elect a woman, that would have been a clearer test case because we're always grappling with that question of the legacy of the Clintons as well, we didn’t have a perfect test case.
EUGUENE ROBINSON: You never get a clear test case on gender or on issues, for that matter. It's candidate versus candidate when you get to the general election and that's how people vote.