Monday, January 01, 2018


In The Washington Post, Sean McElwee and Jon Green tell us that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is sending signals that she wants to run for president:
A Democrat hoping to run for president might have a strategy of tacking noticeably to the left — in an attempt to grab the attention and enthusiasm of the progressive activists most likely to work for her and vote in the primaries. And Gillibrand has been doing precisely that. She was the first senator to call for Al Franken (D-Minn.) to step down, has been criticizing Bill Clinton’s failure to resign over allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct, and was an early supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for all” bill. Earlier in December, she called on President Trump to resign over numerous credible allegations of sexual harassment and abuse....

But wait, there’s more — several actions piquing the interest of party activists. In Illinois, Gillibrand endorsed a progressive challenger to incumbent Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski — even before the challenger, Marie Newman, had filed petitions to run. Gillibrand has also taken notably progressive stands in the Senate. Along with Sanders (I-Vt.) and only four other Democrats, Gillibrand voted against the massive annual defense bill. And she unveiled a plan with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to ban states from passing “right-to-work” laws, which enable workers in unionized shops to refuse to pay dues, a major conservative priority.
Gillibrand is one of many potential Democratic nominees I could support enthusiastically in 2020. I expect the field to have a lot of strong female candidates.

But I wonder how that will work out. I'm concerned that there's a subset of male voters who are usually reliable Democrats but who might not pull the lever for Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, or Amy Klobuchar out of sexism. They'll give other reasons for not voting, or for voting third party -- just as they did in 2016. They won't acknowledge that they see the nominee as "ball-busting" or "castrating" (or maybe they will acknowledge that).

This is just a hunch about a certain subset of bro-ish male voters. I don't have much to back it up -- although a Massachusetts poll conducted in November by WBUR has some disturbing numbers.

Elizabeth Warren, who's up for reelection in 2018, has solid support in the state -- a 55% favorable rating, as opposed to 38% unfavorable. But there's a huge gender gap. Among women, her approval rating is 65%-27%; for men, it's 44%-50%.

The gender gap for Donald Trump is half the size -- among women, Trump's favorable-unfavorable rating is 22%-72%, while among men it's 34%-60%. And both genders like the state's moderate Republican governor, Charlie Baker (women, 68%-10%; men, 65%-19%).

Why is Warren underwater with men in one of the most progressive states in the union, a state where men as well as women despise Trump? I'm guessing it's not ideology.

I know that a lot of Trump-hating bros who loathe Hillary Clinton voted for Jill Stein in 2016 (though a lot voted for Gary Johnson or stayed home or cast a write-in ballot). A Stein vote would seem to suggest a lack of sexism -- but Stein had a lot of nasty things to say about Clinton, so maybe the sexists didn't feel threatened by her.

I hope I'm wrong about this. If I'm right, I don't know what the solution is. You go to an election with the voter base you have, and I fear some of us are sexist idiots.

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