Statement from NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — What started as the most diverse field of presidential candidates in history has come to this: six white, mostly male candidates on the next Democratic debate stage.
Senator Kamala Harris ended her campaign following a wave of negative publicity about dissension among her staff, shortfalls in fundraising and a perceived lack of focus for her candidacy. Just about every candidate for office has experienced something similar—but while white male candidates are rarely driven out of the race, women and people of color are subjected to a different, harsher standard.
Senators Harris and Gillibrand, like so many other women who run for office, were hobbled from the start by media narratives that pounce on any and every perceived misstep. These biases resulted in coverage of irrelevant incidents, doubling down on the falsehood that women are genetically, emotionally, or experientially less qualified to hold high office than men.
With Cory Booker and Julian Castro shut out of the next debate, there will be more billionaires on the stage than people of color. History has shown time and time again the influence of the vote of women, particularly women of color. Candidates need the support of this constituency to get elected, but why aren’t we supporting them when they choose to run? When women run for office – and when they win – they expand opportunity, advance fairness and defend democracy. We must welcome their leadership and not discriminate against them from the start. We must reject this rigged election system and work towards electing feminist candidates who truly represent all of us.
Kimberly Hayes, Press Secretary , firstname.lastname@example.org , 202-570-4745