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With Warren out of the presidential race, supporters wonder why she didn't catch on

Elizabeth Warren stands next to union workers on strike
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Elizabeth Warren stands with striking UAW workers in September 2019.

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s exit from the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee has left many of her supporters dismayed, but not surprised. With her steady decline in the polls—including a third-place finish in her home state of Massachusetts on Super Tuesday—few were expecting a comeback. On Thursday morning, Warren announced that she would not be continuing with her campaign.

Keith Owens, a Detroit resident and Warren supporter, told Stateside that Warren’s failure to gain momentum may have been a result of voters believing that she was “trying to push things too far.” He said that right now, voters are less inclined to push for big structural change. What they are most focused on is choosing a candidate they think can defeat incumbent President Donald Trump.

“And obviously the sexism...there was just fear that she wouldn’t be able to pull it off,” he added.

Yesterday, Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer addressed how sexism interfered with Warren’s chance at the presidency in an article titled “Elizabeth Warren's campaign has derailed — and it's OK to be angry.” In a conversation with Stateside host April Baer, Kaffer said that America’s misogynistic history has shaped voters’ mindset about politics in the current era. All but one American presidents have been white men, she noted.

“So, we have this cultural situation where people who aren’t white men are asked to identify with and view them as leaders,” Kaffer said. “That’s one of the hurdles that women have to get over as candidates.”

However, Kaffer pointed out that Warren’s campaign still had an impact, even though she dropped out. Her candidacy, Kaffer said, is a stepping stone toward a more diverse ballot.

“When you have a toddler and you want them to try a different kind of food, you have to put the new food in front of them—what, like, fifty times?—before they’ll eat it,” Kaffer said.

It’s kind of the same with voters, she said. If qualified women continue to run for office, including the presidency, their presence will become the norm in American politics.

This article was written by Stateside production assistant Lia Baldori.

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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