Jacques: Democratic women, stop your whining

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants you to think her struggles to gain momentum in her presidential bid are due to her sex — and the bias of the American public. 

The Democrat took a swipe at fellow White House contender Pete Buttigieg, who leads her, by saying the South Bend mayor likely wouldn’t have garnered the support he has — given his light resume (in her opinion) — if he were a woman. 

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the Iowa Democratic Party's Liberty and Justice Celebration, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Last weekend, Klobuchar doubled down on her thesis in an interview with CNN.

“I’m focusing here on my fellow women senators — Senator Harris, Senator Warren and myself,” Klobuchar said. “Do I think that we would be standing on that stage if we had the experience that he had? No, I don’t. Maybe we’re held to a different standard.”

OK, boomer. Maybe you're behind in the polls because you’re boring and have failed to inspire the country. 

Klobuchar, 59, is making herself sound dated with her whining over the rise of millennial Buttigieg, 37. 

Yet she has plenty of company in making these sorts of excuses. 

California Sen. Kamala Harris raised similar claims to explain her single digit showings in the polls, questioning whether Americans are ready to elect a woman as their commander in chief. 

“Essentially, is America ready for a woman and a woman of color to be president of the United States?” Harris posited in an Axios interview in late October. “There is a lack of ability or a difficulty in imagining that someone whom we have never seen can do a job that has been done 45 times by someone who is not that person.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks to supporters outside the Statehouse after she filed to be listed on the New Hampshire primary ballot, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Concord, N.H. At right is N.H. Executive Councillor Debora Pignatelli.

And let’s not forget that Hillary Clinton has spent the years following her loss to Donald Trump trying to blame sexism and other character flaws among Americans for why she isn’t the first female president. Perhaps she’s forgotten she did get 3 million more votes than Trump. But thanks to the Electoral College, Trump outplayed her. She didn’t campaign smart enough. 

Buttigieg is executing an impressive campaign. In just a few months, he’s gone from an unknown outside of Indiana with an unpronounceable last name to becoming a name most voters recognize. As a millennial, he’s harnessing social media and the press, doing nonstop interviews that make him seem Midwest normal. He’s also a veteran and extremely intelligent, and his reasoned arguments have helped him stand out from his Democratic opponents, even on the crowded debate stages. 

Rather than fight back against Klobuchar, he’s embraced the idea that sexism likely has hurt some women candidates. 

Women can complain all they want about misogyny and sexism, but Buttigieg faces an even more pronounced barrier: He’s gay. 

A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 50% of respondents said they were either definitely or probably ready to have an openly gay president, while 37% had reservations. When registered voters were asked if the country as a whole was ready, those numbers dropped to 40% — 45% weren’t optimistic. 

Morning Consult Vice President Tyler Sinclair told Politico that women fared better than gay candidates. And a poll by found 77% of Americans are moderately to extremely ready to elect a woman president, and 55% believe their fellow citizens feel the same way. 

Given his higher ranking on the hierarchy of victimhood, it’s even more impressive that Buttigieg is doing so well in the polls. For a while he was leading in Iowa, but Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has edged past him, 20% to 19.7%, according to the latest numbers from RealClearPolitics. In national polls, he’s trailing at 8%, but is still several points ahead of Klobuchar (2.3%) and Harris (5.3%). Warren — a woman — is second nationally only to former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Klobuchar, Harris and Buttigieg will get a chance to face off again Wednesday, along with seven other leading candidates, in the next presidential debate. 

The all-women moderator team should push the women on stage about these claims of sexism. 

I’m guessing that’s not the real reason that Klobuchar and Harris are lagging. 

Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques