COMMENTARY: Women in politics — are we there yet?

Imagine you’ve been sealed off in a biosphere for the past decade with no access to media. You emerge this week, anxious to catch up on world news, landing on a webpage covering U.S politics.

There are a lot of photos of old men. What are you looking at, you wonder? Is this a board of directors slate for some posh Florida retirement condo? The confusion is understandable, but no, you would be looking at the three septuagenarian 2020 U.S. presidential hopefuls, comprised of two Democratic nomination frontrunners the youngster in the field is the portly, 74-year-old, spray-tanned Republican White House incumbent who was first elected to office (any office) in 2016. All male. Pale. Stale. You despair.

But this isn’t science fiction, and there is no biosphere. This is what people are seeing and believing is the norm. What must young people, women especially, be thinking about who is best suited to lead them into the future when these are the options?

It’s not that there haven’t been excellent candidates in the crowded Democratic field: Sen. Kamala Harris, African-American, moderate, smart and sidelined early, lacking traction and a sufficient war chest; the moderate, experienced, passionate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, clobbered on Super Tuesday (March 3), when 14 states and 34 per cent of delegates were up for grabs; and Elizabeth Warren, a tenacious, progressive warrior, who became a distant straggler to the frontrunners and packed it in on March 5.

Even the most progressive/radical in the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders, was quoted on his belief that in 2020, a woman is not electable in the presidential race. Bernie was not trying to say a woman shouldn’t be elected. He was just stating the sad truth, that despite the hard-fought, incremental progress in electing women to political office, an experienced, effective woman candidate could not win in 2020 facing the superbly underqualified and widely reviled (outside his core base) autocratic incumbent, Donald Trump. Just like in 2016.

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