After the results of the last Democratic contest, it was pretty obvious that voters were not interested in the female candidates, at least not in South Carolina.  So why is that?

            You probably won’t find many people who will openly admit they wouldn’t vote for a woman candidate. In fact, a Gallup poll taken in 2018 states that 94% of individuals would vote for a woman for president.

            But, all those traits that we associate with politicians like ambition, competence, aggressiveness, toughness, etc. are usually identified as masculine-type behavior.  There’s a basic belief that since men seem to have those characteristics, they are qualified candidates.

It’s a little different for a woman because women are judged on whether they are “likeable.   I doubt if anybody looked at dead-pan candidate Bloomberg and questioned that, but I heard a lot of Hilary bashers the last time around saying, “well, I don’t know.  She’s just not likeable.”  They never bothered to address her display of competence, toughness, and ambition.  Or maybe they did, and just saw them as “unlikeable” characteristics. Women traditionally are seen as exhibiting warmth, kindness, and empathy. If these traits don’t shine through, the candidate is toast.  On the other hand, if the display of these traits is abundantly obvious, the female candidate may be considered less stable or “emotional.”

Results from the past election indicate that voters will support a male candidate because they presume he is qualified, but not support a female candidate if they believe she is unlikeable.  Male candidates can run with a minimal track record and still be presumed qualified even with less experience. A woman with a long track record of experience opens herself up to a load of criticism, and flaw-finding, (remember Hilary). Women are just more of a target for scandal mongers and political attacks. Men are more easily forgiven for the same things. Men can even run when they present vague notions about what their policies actually are. 

So, voters already have the belief that women must be ultra-prepared to hit the ground running and are quizzed on every potential policy plan in great depth. Men, not so much, I observed.  It seems they get license to kind of figure it out as they go along.

A study done at UC Berkley disclosed that female candidates are generally more qualified than their male opponents when running for local offices, but when a man and woman run against each other, and both are equally qualified, the woman candidate is more likely to lose.

.           What that seems to mean is those female candidates will have to do more to show up in the primary to convince voters that they even deserve to sit in the White House. Female candidates also have to contend with Trump’s sexism, just like Hilary did in 2016.

So, what does this mean when we see Elizabeth and Amy at the bottom of the voting results? Does it mean that the public really doesn’t know their qualifications? That they don’t recognize their suitably to hold the highest office in the land? That their experience is not as valued as the male candidates? That the public finds them “unlikeable?”  Or is this just gender bias continuing as usual?  If any of the above are true then how do Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar clear a different path? Time is running.