Gender matters more than any other factor when it comes to picking a vice president, at least according to some Democrats.
As the race to be the Democratic nominee for the 2020 election continues to narrow, some are demanding that a prospective vice president be chosen. Instead of listing important factors like alignment of values, experience, or voting records, the most important factor appears to be that the candidate be female.
This week, over 24 female leaders are insisting that whoever becomes the Democratic presidential nominee choose a female running mate. They don’t really care which one, just that she is a woman. In a recent letter to the Democratic National Committee, the group EMILY’s list, along with the Working Families Party and the American Federation of Teachers stated that women are essential if Democrats hope to defeat President Donald Trump in the fall.
“Democratic victory in 2020 will depend on record-breaking participation by women,” they wrote. “Women are the backbone of the Democratic party. Women are a majority of Democratic voters, volunteers and donors.”
In the letter, the women demanded a number of commitments from the eventual nominee and the DNC committee. They want a female majority in the future cabinet, increased investments in women-led issues and other, more general perks. The future nominee should also “lift up and honor the voices and leadership of women serving on your campaigns, including staff and family” and “develop a platform for women who are undocumented and refugee; disabled; lesbian, bi, queer and trans; urban, suburban, rural.”
This letter comes as the formerly diverse Democratic field has narrowed to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders – both elderly white men.
“Put simply, it is time for women’s leadership. In 2018, we delivered the largest recorded gender gap and the largest female congressional delegation to the Democrats,” said Heather McGhee, one female leader who signed onto the letter. “These demands represent the minimum the party and nominee will need to do to keep the momentum going.”
While the letter and list of demands does not name any specific women, it came just after the last one in the race dropped out. According to AFT president Randi Weingarten, who signed the letter last week, Elizabeth Warren’s dropout was a disappointment.
“Regardless of where people were, there was just a melancholy. There was both a sadness and a determination about what was happening with the need to have female voices out there,” she said. “And so by the end of the dinner, we thought let’s just do some work in common.”
The letter demands a female nominee, along with the other women’s issues factors detailed above. The writers imply that if their demands are not met, the Democratic Party will not get the female support – or the votes it needs to win – in the fall.
There has been no official response from the DNC, Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, and the womens’ groups next steps remain to be seen.