The reasons why a woman will be on the Democratic ticket are in the news every day.
That news is not just ugly, violent and unbelievably cruel, but repulsive in the extreme. And it affects women in visceral and now political ways.
While this may sound alarming, the list below points to some reasons why even Orange County—that Republican bastion—is now majority Democratic.
The answer is women.
Research from the 1980s demonstrated that when corporations or businesses or even academia got caught in a scandal, it was best to have a woman “clean up the mess.”
Seriously, this stems from the earliest years in the country when women were considered the “moral” guardians. “Men would be men,” but women were actually the arbiters of moral standards—and must behave accordingly. The female was “more trusted” than the male.
Watch the news. When it is bad, a woman is in front of the bank of reporters expressing regrets, apologies, or spinning faster than Kellyanne Conway.
Underneath all this is a visceral reaction among women, not obvious in the polling. The sheer revulsion, disbelief, shock and now horror, is moving women away from the “white male” power dynamic.
Consider women’s reactions to the news over the past several years:
- A “porn star” President whose lies constantly shred the Ninth Commandment
- A President whose abusive rhetoric, speeches, avarice, and behavior towards women, people of color and different cultures is shocking to any civilized human
- The dozen-plus women accusing Trump himself of unwanted sexual harassment
- The behavior of his allies—now many in prison or under investigation or awaiting trial for “misdeeds” that appear more traitorous than mistaken
- The vile “dark web,” “Twitter-verse” and non-stop put downs of anyone in disagreement
And it is not just politics. It occurs in sports, the media, the church and even the Boy Scouts.
Too many instances to count, but the images and stories linger.
The video of a woman being dragged—by the hair—out of an elevator in Las Vegas by an NFL player comes to mind. And the NFL actually keeps a rather large database of players’ arrests.
The worst sports examples:
- Larry Nassar, the former Olympic Gymnastics coach who sexually abused the young girls entrusted to his care. Called “a monster” by a U.S. Senate investigation into abuse of Olympic athletes, Nassar—alas—wasn’t the only abuser.
- Olympic figure-skating scandals followed
- The latest Boy Scouts furor counts hundreds of former scouts alleging sexual abuse
Expand the list to those felonious abusers (mostly rich and powerful) kept under the radar for decades:
- Jeffrey Epstein, convicted pedophile and now accused sex trafficker and abuser of hundreds of under-age girls
- Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, Charlie Rose, etc. and etc.
- The Roman Catholic Church’s litany of sexual abuse of altar boys
- Add the unspeakable treatment of the separation of mothers and children at the Mexican border
- And the recent mass murders in Ohio and Texas.
These victims and their stories have moved the female “moral” guardians (and many men who argee) in ways yet to be detected by pundits or pollsters.
Their votes and their voices and their quiet—but profound—revulsion for such behavior, will guarantee a woman on the Democratic ticket in 2020.
Which one? No one knows, but several can be discounted already.
Marianne Williamson is too loving. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is not a serious contender. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota lacks the heft of a big state’s backing. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York struggles with her anti-Clinton past.
Which leaves the two female heavyweights: Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California.
One of these two women will be on the Democratic ticket and the other is a sure bet for a cabinet post. Treasury for Warren. Attorney General for Harris.
Why? The thousand plus reasons listed above. And the fact that 56% of women identify themselves as Democrats or leaning Democrat.
Democratic women will stay home if a woman is not on the ticket. It is, after all, the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. And they will vote for a woman.
The biggest danger to the Democrats—and the biggest gift to Trump—is to have an all-male ticket in 2020.
But it’s not going to happen.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.