What if Bernie were a woman? Here’s how it might look.
On Tuesday morning, Senator Bernice Sanders (I-VT) held a press conference in which she defiantly refused calls to end her campaign by national Democratic leaders. The mother of four has been under fire for “distracting” from the campaign of frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who has only surged in the polls since he began his bid for the White House, last year.
In addition to dwindling poll numbers from what was already considered a lackluster start for a campaign, Sanders has been heavily criticized by economists across the political spectrum for a campaign platform that has been called — even by some noted progressive economists — as “wholly detached from our political reality”.
“Her math is, to put it nicely, a bit off,” observed one political commentator who asked to remain nameless. “I realize that she wants government to take a nurturing approach, but frankly, the numbers don’t add up. Not even close.”
Other reasons for her lack of support have been mentioned.
“A president needs a good temperament. I need to know they won’t get emotional with the nuclear launch codes. The Senator is a good woman at heart, but her attitude is a bit much for me,” said one middle class man. “She shouts a lot during her campaign rallies and debates. And what is with the finger wagging? I feel like my wife is nagging at me for whatever the hell.”
Reporters and cable news contributers have regularly commented on the Senator’s less-than-polished appearance, to put it delicately.
“For godsake, someone get that woman a hairbrush,” exclaimed one prominent host on Fox News. “And why is she always wearing the same outfit? Has she heard of contact lenses? Perhaps makeup? Or is that part of the patriarchy, too?”
Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton is leading national polls in every demographic by wide margins, most surprisingly, perhaps, among Millennial women, including at Sanders’ alma mater.
“[Secretary Clinton] is the most qualified candidate in modern history,” stated one female college senior at Wellesley. “I’m a proud feminist, but I don’t think that means I can’t support a male candidate if he’s clearly the most qualifed. Hilary has vastly more experience in domestic and foreign policy than any other candidate, regardless of party. Why shouldn’t I vote for him? Also: his name is badass. You see a lot of women named “Hillary” but rarely a man named ‘Hilary’.”
And yet, many have accused the Sanders campaign of shielding the candidate with a blanket feminist defense when her rhetoric and tactics are called into question. Following revelations that her staffers inappropriately accessed and downloaded information from Secretary Clinton’s voter database and after Sanders campaign volunteers were found to have impersonated members of a prominent union in Nevada, a Sanders campaign spokesman asserted the media has “conspired” to frame his boss as corrupt and hypocritical because of her gender.
“This would never happen to a male candidate for president.”
Indeed, Sanders’ status as the most prominent woman candidate for president in a generation has inspired heated debate among Democratic voters, many of whom are confused as to why her gender should be a factor.
Decrying what they deem “sexist” rhetoric, so-called “Hilary Bros” have made a concerted effort to dispel what they call “misandrist reasoning” by Sanders supporters trumping up the historic nature of her candidacy.
“I mean… yeah, a woman’s right to choose is still under threat and reproductive health is horribly underfunded and violence against women continues to be a pervasive problem and women are paid far less than men for the same work in nearly every occupational field and women only have 20 percent of the seats in Congress and state legislatures despite making up half the population, but other than that… I see no reason why it’s important that we finally have a woman president”, said one younger male voter, his lip trembling in righteous fury at the blatant sexism against men on display by Bernice Sanders.
And they’re not alone. Women have spoken out, too.
“I would never vote for a candidate because he has a penis. Why should having someone with a uterus matter?” said one young woman, who lives in a state in which a male-dominated legislature recently passed a law requiring all women seeking abortions to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds and watch a video on their “options” in such a situation.
“It makes no sense,” she continued. “I don’t mind driving hundreds of miles to an abortion clinic with money I don’t have because my state’s male lawmakers have closed down nearly every other facility with pernicious and unnecessary regulations.”
To be fair, many Sanders supporters have emphasized that voting for someone based solely on gender is ill-advised.
“This isn’t just about gender,” said one female Sanders volunteer. “If that were the case, I’d have campaigned for Sarah Palin in 2012. I just think that in a country in which we’ve had 44 consecutive male presidents, it’s long past time for a woman to be in the Oval Office, and it just so happens that Sanders is a woman in addition to being highly qualified.”
“And by the way,” she added, “women who support Secretary Clinton should be respected for their decision, but I take issue with women (or men) who claim gender isn’t an important factor in deciding whom to support.”
When asked for a response to this common like of thinking among women supporting Sanders, a Hilary Bro replied, “Actually, I think they should look up the definition of “qualified”. She‘s been the primary sponsor of only a handful of bills that became laws in her career in the Senate. What has she been doing with the rest of her time? Raising money for EMILY’s List?”
“Name one accomplishment,” he seethed. “Name just one.”
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