Just days after dropping his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Cory Gardner.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was ecstatic. “John Hickenlooper is far and away the strongest candidate to beat Cory Gardner, and we’re proud to support him in his run for Senate,” a spokesperson told media outlets.
Hickenlooper joins 11 other candidates, including seven women, who hope to challenge Gardner in the general election. Six of those seven women were not happy the DSCC chose a male candidate over one of them and let them know it.
In a letter sent on Women’s Equality Day last week, those six female candidates strongly condemned the committee’s early endorsement and insinuated sexism was at play. “All of us, like many women in Colorado and across the country, have seen well-qualified women passed over for male candidates in the workplace time and again,” the women wrote.
“The DSCC, by its endorsement, is implying that we should defer to a male candidate because you seem to believe he is ‘more electable,’” they continued.
What these women don’t seem to understand is that official campaign committees tend to put their valuable resources behind the candidates they believe will win races. “Electability,” not gender, is the name of the game for these committees.
Maybe the decision doesn’t seem fair because Democratic primary voters in Colorado haven’t had their chance to weigh in yet, but it’s certainly not sexist.
The DSCC has endorsed women over men in other Senate races already, believing those candidates have the best shot at helping them retake the Senate, which is the left’s second-highest priority in 2020.
When I read stories about Democrats waging identity politics wars against each other in the primary campaign season, I’m of two mindsets.
On one hand, from a purely partisan perspective, it’s amusing to watch them being hoisted by their own petard, especially considering how for the last decade or so Democrats have relentlessly, and falsely, accused Republicans of waging “wars on women” on various issues.
To watch Democratic women play the woman card against their own party and to see the party scramble to defend their decision is a popcorn-worthy sight to behold.
On the other hand, as a woman I find it insulting the argument is being made that because a man is viewed as more electable over female candidates that somehow that equates to sexism. It doesn’t.
The identity politics dilemma is not just playing out for Democrats in the Colorado Senate race, but also the presidential race. The male candidates are being put on the spot about picking a woman as their vice presidential running mate should they become the nominee. Not based on actual qualifications, I should note.
Liberal commentators and other Democrats are pressuring male candidates to say they’d pick a woman simply on the basis that she’s a woman.
We’re seeing identity politics play out here in North Carolina against Democrat State Sen. Don Davis over his pro-life views.
“It’s extremely frustrating that one Democrat [Davis] betrayed women, OB/GYNs, his party and [Gov. Roy Cooper] tonight in order to side w/ GOP” in overriding Cooper’s veto of the Born Alive bill back in April, said Davis’ Senate colleague Natasha Marcus on Twitter.
The pro-abortion groups Lillian’s List and Planned Parenthood accused Davis of “turning his back on women” over his vote. They vowed to primary Davis with a “progressive, pro-choice woman.”
I guess it never occurred to Marcus nor those women’s groups that Davis might be pro-life for reasons that have nothing to do with being anti-woman.
The Colorado Senate race, the Democratic presidential race, and the left’s push to primary Davis all vividly demonstrate the folly of identity politics.
Stacey Matthews is a veteran blogger who has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to Red State and Legal Insurrection.