The Democratic debate on Sunday gave us a very tiny sneak preview of what we can expect from the general election if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination. Whether Clinton goes up against Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or a random nominee of the RNC’s choosing, the media will gleefully pick apart every debate performance, every advertisement, and every candidate statement for signs of sexism. And as is evidenced by what they’re saying about Bernie Sanders right now, it won’t take much to trigger that accusation.
Unless you’re eaten up with the cancer of feminism, you probably didn’t notice Sanders do anything wrong at the debate. Well, scratch that. He said plenty of stuff that runs counter to common sense, facts, and traditional American ideals, but he didn’t call Clinton a whore or suggest that she should spend a little less time on the campaign trail and a little more time in the kitchen. But he did, at one point, shut down Clinton’s interruptions by saying – GASP – “Excuse me, I’m talking.”
This exchange would have been fine if Sanders was facing another man for the nomination. It would have been fine if Clinton had done the exact same thing to Sanders. But in a world where feminists believe that “equality” means that men must walk on eggshells when debating a woman, it was unacceptable.
Now it’s important to remember that many in the media – especially liberal garbage sites like Salon and Slate – are “feeling the Bern,” so we’re not going to see them go after Sanders with the kind of venom they’ll use against a Republican challenger. In fact, many commentators have been defending him. But plenty of others have at least dabbled their toes into the wonderful world of nonsense.
Washington Post columnist Janell Ross wrote:
Why, at this late date and this many debates into the 2016 presidential election cycle, has Sanders made demonstrably little to no effort to alter the way he interacts with the woman he at least strongly suspected would be running against him from the day he declared his campaign? He has almost certainly had the same advice and information that every male candidate gets about the need to be constantly mindful about coming across like a chauvinist or a bully when on a debate stage facing a female competition.
Ross, to her mild credit, understands that it would be overboard to accuse Sanders of being sexist for such a tame incident, so she positions the controversy as some weakness in Sanders’ campaign strategy. But even with that distance, she manages to conclude that it could relate to a flaw in the Vermont senator’s character.
“Does the inability or unwillingness to examine his body language, tone and actions for hints or indicators of sexism — if not real but perceived by some women — tell us all what we really need to know?” she asks.
At Salon, Amanda Marcotte went a step further, telling her readers that the incident was not just a problem for Sanders but also with his supporters. “The Sanders team didn’t apologize for the candidate’s condescending tone,” she wrote, “which reinforces already widespread suspicions that the candidate is gaining support from voters who don’t want to support a woman but don’t want to admit they are sexist.”
There it is. That’s the refrain we’ll be hearing this fall, just as we’ve heard it about Obama for the last seven years. If you don’t like Clinton, you’re probably just a sexist. It will be irritating and amusing to see how far they will be willing to stretch the definition of sexism to make these claims in the general election.