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Politics Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee

13:26  20 february  2018
13:26  20 february  2018 Source:   thehill.com

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Barbara Mikulski Barbara Ann Mikulski Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions MORE (D-Md.), Sen.

Months later, it’s at times hard to imagine Democrats failing to nominate a woman as their standard-bearer against President Trump in 2020 . Wwcd. Feb 2018. #1. I don't vote based on the gender of the candidate. left-of-center2012.

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At a birthday party for Hillary Clinton in October, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) delivered a toast - and a sobering thought - for the evening's attendees: "If Hillary couldn't win the White House, I don't know which woman can."

Some of the party-goers - including the former Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and former secretary of State Madeleine Albright- nodded ruefully as Feinstein, standing in the doorway of a family room at the Georgetown home of major Democratic donor Elizabeth Bagley, made the remark, according to two attendees.

Months later, it's at times hard to imagine Democrats failing to nominate a woman as their standard-bearer against President Trump in 2020.

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The Hill Posted at 7:20 pm on February 20, 2018. thehill.com/homenews/senate/374522- dems - ponder - gender - politics - of - 2020 - nominee .

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Some of the party's strongest potential candidates are women, including Harris and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

More pointedly, the rise of the #MeToo movement and Trump's own controversies with women make it feel incongruous for Democrats to name a white male as their candidate in the next presidential race.

"The MeToo movement is a powerful force that could lead to Democratic midterm wins in 2018 and victory in the 2020 presidential race," said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.

"The presence of a female candidate way at the top of the ticket in 2020 would be the best way to harness the energy of the MeToo force; a powerful current ignited by Harvey Weinstein's behavior that could undermine Donald Trump's campaign for a second presidential term."

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The Hill 61d ago. NEW: Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee hill.cm/r7Q8EYV pic.twitter.com/28gocSAFsI.

While a number of strong women candidates appear likely to enter the 2020 race, they are likely to get some competition from the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), among others.

And Trump's own surprise run to the 2016 GOP presidential nomination shows the foolishness if political predictions.

Some Democrats also say it makes little sense to nominate a woman as the party's candidate just on the basis of gender.

One senator who spoke to The Hill on condition of anonymity said colleagues are talking more about prioritizing the need to find a candidate who is tough, authentic and credible no matter whether they are male or female.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he does not think the Democratic nominee's gender is "as critical as having someone who can draw a sharp contrast with an incumbent president who has been accused of sexual assault by 18 or 19 people, who has bragged on tape about committing sexual assault."

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Bernie Sanders Bernard (Bernie) Sanders Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.), President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden Joseph (Joe)

“As Clinton tries to salvage support among the Bernie Sanders Bernard (Bernie) Sanders Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary Their sad attempt at pandering to the Sanders wing is another example of a typical political calculation by D.C. insiders.”

"I think that is one of many areas where the American people are going to look for us to draw a sharp contrast with the incumbent president," Coons said.

Feinstein's comment also highlights questions within the party about whether latent sexism in the U.S. culture would hold a woman back in 2020.

There's a lurking feeling in the Democratic caucus that Clinton's gender may have hurt her in battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which voted for a Republican in 2016 for the first time in decades.

"Misogyny is out there and is a factor whether people want to admit it or not," said one senior Democratic aide.

Other Democrats say the selection of the nominee should not be so contrived.

"Democrats should know better than to be cornered by a 'woman' mandate," said Democratic consultant Tracy Sefl, who served as a surrogate on Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. "Voters have already shown they're looking beyond gender. I'd like to believe that the party will be most eager to put forth a candidate who embraces the #MeToo movement. To whatever close degree the movement resonates with that candidate, woman or man, we need a candidate who be interested in helping propel this stunning cultural shift."

Feinstein said she has become more optimistic about the prospect of a woman becoming president since expressing her doubts at the Georgetown event.

"I think there's been a change since I said that which makes it more possible for a woman to be elected," she said. "But I think it's difficult. There's no question, it's still difficult," Feinstein told The Hill.

Feinstein said the enthusiasm of the #MeToo movement has made the chances of a woman winning the presidency seem more realistic.

"What's changed is the strength of women. Women getting out and voting. Women coming together. The #MeToo movement. All of this puts the woman more in the position of being accepted."

Even if a woman isn't on the top of the ticket in 2020, one Senator predicted it will be a diverse team. "It's not going to be two white men, I can tell you that," the lawmaker said.

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