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Bernie Sanders thinks being a woman is a ‘problem’ for Elizabeth Warren

Lily Wakefield January 20, 2020
Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders. (Scott Olson/Getty)

Bernie Sanders, while trying to insist that a woman could be elected president of the United States, said that being a woman is a “problem” in a presidential election.

Warren has claimed that Sanders told her during a discussion in 2018 that a woman couldn’t win the 2020 election. She told CNN: “I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.”

Sanders has denied ever making the comment, but he faced questions on a potential female president in an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio on Sunday, January 19.

Asked if he believes that gender is still an obstacle for female politicians, Sanders said: “The answer is yes, but I think everybody has their own sets of problems.

“I’m 78 years old, that’s a problem… If you’re looking at [Pete] Buttigieg, he’s a young guy. People will say he’s too young to be president.

“You look at Elizabeth [Warren], she is a woman. Everybody brings some negatives.”

He added: “I would just hope very much that the American people look at the totality of a candidate, not at their gender, not at their sexuality, not at their age, but at everything.”

Sanders also said: “The world has changed, and to those people who think that a woman cannot be elected, you’re dead wrong. If you think a gay American cannot be elected, you are dead wrong.”

While Sanders’ comments may have been an attempt to acknowledge sexism, homophobia and ageism, many took issue with him equating his age and Warren’s gender as “problems” for presidential candidates. Others made the point that sexism was the problem, rather than Warren’s gender.

One Twitter user wrote: “Bernie Sanders says being a woman is a problem, like being 78 and having a f**king heart attack.”

Another person wrote: “I am a Black woman. Being such is not a ‘set of problems’ equal to being aged.

“Once again, Bernie’s over simplistic, reductive and dismissive ignorance around sex, race and sexual orientation looms larger than a Goodyear blimp. What a bitter pill to swallow, if he’s the nominee.”

Another said: “There is no legitimate reason that a woman can’t be president simply because she’s a woman.

“However, the president being less than two years shy of 80 is, in fact, a legitimate concern.

“He absolutely equated her gender to a problem. The problem isn’t her gender, it’s his misogyny.”

Mike Casca, Sanders’ communications director, wrote on Twitter that in the interview he was “very clearly calling on voters to move beyond the societal scourges of ageism, homophobia, and sexism”, and added that “Donald Trump is going to use racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia in the general election”.

In December 2019, it was revealed that Sanders’ newly-hired deputy director of constituency organising had a history of antisemitic and anti-LGBT+ slurs. It was later announced that he was “no longer with the campaign”.

More: 2020 presidential election, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, sexism

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