The Warren vs. Sanders nothingburger

This latest Warren-vs.-Sanders kerfuffle just makes no sense to me on any level.

Firstly, it seems wildly implausible that Sanders would say categorically and unreservedly that he believed no woman could beat Trump in 2020. After all (as many have been pointing out) Hillary Clinton did beat Trump in the 2016 popular vote, and came within a whisker of winning the election outright.

It also seems far more consistent with Sanders’ general strategy and message to say that Hillary lost because of her baggage and liabilities that had nothing to do with her gender, rather than explaining it through something that approaches the ‘identity politics’ he’s generally distanced himself from.

But if he did say something which was at least similar to this (perhaps along the lines of “the ways in which Trump will attack a woman opponent, coming on top of his built-in incumbent advantage, means it’ll be an uphill struggle for any woman to beat him”), it seems thoroughly unreasonable to automatically interpret this as misogynism/sexism om his part.

After all, there are quite a few people (particularly of the ‘woke’/progressive persuasion) who have said that Clinton lost because she was a woman – not because ‘women suck’, but because women are unfairly perceived differently, treated differently by the media, and so forth. Far from being an expression of sexism, it’s an acknowledgement of sexism as a pervasive problem in society, rather than insisting that the playing field is perfectly level and Everything is Awesome.

You can argue that it’s overly defeatist or pessimistic to downplay a woman’s chances this much, but that’s still a difference of opinion, not a reprehensible moral failing. And indeed, that’s my interpretation of what Warren’s saying by calling it a “difference in punditry”, which sounds to me like “my analysis was X, his analysis was Y, this is Not A Big Deal, I’d much rather talk about our agreements and disagreements on policy”.

And, yet, somehow, this has (at least for the moment) blown up into a huge source of seemingly needless animosity. I just don’t get it.

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