After Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the last top-tier woman running for president, dropped out of the Democratic primary race following a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) suggested that voters showed an “element of misogyny” in rejecting female candidates for the nation’s highest office.
“I so wish that we had a woman president of the United States, and we came so close to doing that,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference on Thursday, hours after Warren called it quits, according to The Hill. “I do think there’s a certain element of misogyny.”
Pelosi went on to indicate that the issue is an emotional one for her as House speaker.
“Every time I get introduced as the most powerful woman, I almost cry, because I wish that were not true,” she said, according to The Hill.
A marble ceiling
Pelosi said she didn’t think it was an intentional bias that caused Democrat primary voters to reject woman presidential candidates like Sens. Warren, Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
“Many of them will tell you, they have a strong mom, they have strong sisters,” the House speaker said Thursday, according to Politico. “But…they have their own insecurities, I guess you would say.”
Still, Pelosi reiterated that the American people overall would accept a woman president. “I think the American people are ready,” she said of the possibility, according to The Hill.
“I never thought we would have a woman speaker of the House before a woman president,” she added, “because if you want to talk about tradition or whatever that is, this is a marble ceiling. It’s not a glass ceiling.”
A higher standard?
Of course, Pelosi didn’t acknowledge the very real reasons voters could have had to reject these female candidates. Klobuchar struggled with name recognition, while Harris faced criticism from opponents for her inconsistent application of the law as a San Francisco prosecutor and wanted to make radical changes to the criminal justice system, among other issues.
Meanwhile, Warren — who garnered more support than any other woman candidate but still failed to win even her own state of Massachusetts on Super Tuesday, according to USA Today — repeatedly lied about her race and life circumstances, and alienated businesses by constantly threatening to punish them for being successful.
And has Pelosi forgotten that Hillary Clinton came awfully close to becoming the first woman president in 2016? It wasn’t her womanhood that cost her the election, either — over 65 million Americans were apparently more than willing to vote for a woman, The New York Times reported at the time.
Indeed, there were legitimate reasons for voters to reject each of these candidates, but maybe Pelosi is right about gender playing a role. After all, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have just as many major flaws as the women running for the Dems’ nomination did — maybe even more) — but somehow they are both still in the 2020 race.
At least for now.