This is why we can’t have nice things: Elizabeth Warren, Misogyny, and the Death of Expertise

As I watched the results of Super Tuesday roll in I felt my heart breaking. Elizabeth Warren was my candidate, but she was so much more than that. As a fellow woman and policy wonk, Warren’s compassion, indignation, and attention to the small details of structural change made me believe that there was a way out of our current political morass. I lived in Boston in 2012 and had watched her defeat Scott Brown; I still think she was the Democrats’ best chance of winning the general election.

And before my fellow liberals start yelling at me, let me state upfront that I will vote for the Democratic nominee come November, whoever he may be. I would vote for a literal bag of Cheetos over the current Cheeto occupying the Oval Office. But I had hoped to vote for so much more.

Since 2016 I have placed my hope for the United States in three new developments: the #metoo movement, the number of women and minorities who ran (and won!) for office in 2018, and the initial diversity of the Democratic candidates for President. To watch that initial diversity melt away into a contest between two cisgender, heterosexual, white men in their seventies who both have histories with sexual harassment is … depressing … to say the least.

Remember back in 2015 when liberals were saying they wished Warren was running for President rather than Hillary Clinton? Remember when we covered our newsfeeds, coffee mugs, and tote bags with “nevertheless she persisted?” Remember when no one thought a Consumer Protection Agency was possible until Warren made it happen? Do you? Because it felt like all that was all forgotten once she announced her candidacy for president.

Almost overnight, Warren’s reputation transformed from an eloquent, passionate, and effective politician striving to protect the most vulnerable in society into a schoolmarmish, elitist, and insufficiently progressive tool of neoliberalism. It’s as if there is a glass ceiling in national politics. As if folksy trumps informed or blue sky thinking is better than careful planning.

Warren’s withdrawal from the primaries feels like more than the last serious woman candidate leaving the race. It feels like another nail in the coffin of expertise — an erasure of the intelligence and planning required to govern. In an age when the President should be relying on experts in climatology and epidemiology to keep us safe and secure from current and future threats, don’t we want a president who listens, collates, and then plans? Isn’t that how we will survive as a republic and as a species?

But I won’t give up. I will vote for the Democratic nominee come November. Until then, I will support down ticket Democrats, especially women and minorities who will need my money and my time much more than whoever runs for President. Because no matter how much I want to hide under a blanket and eat chocolate, that is not what intelligent, dedicated and prepared women do. Well, we do hide under blankets and we do eat chocolate, but that’s not all we do.

We make plans. And, nevertheless, we persist.

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