Democrats should commit to an all-women ticket in 2020

For all the right reasons, Bernie, Joe, Cory and the rest should step aside

Published November 22, 2017 4:00AM (EST)

Kamala Harris   (AP/Damian Dovarganes)
Kamala Harris (AP/Damian Dovarganes)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.


The Democratic Party should embrace an all-female ticket and a platform centered around health care, income equality, diplomacy, humility and human rights—right now.

Should the best man win? That is not the right question. Are there women in the Democratic Party who can do a better job than Donald Trump? That’s the right question.

Gillibrand and Oprah, Warren and Harris, hell, Michelle and Hillary, I don’t give a damn. There are 100 women . . . scratch that, there are 1,000 women . . . scratch that, there are a million women who could do a better job than Trump and the Republicans in running this country. Let’s pick two.

Let’s break the glass ceiling and banish the louts once and for all.

Because It’s Time

Ninety-nine years, 364 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes — and not a minute more!

Women secured the right to vote with passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. Women shouldn’t have to wait another day, no less another four to eight years to run the show.

Lindy West, writing in the New York Times about Louis C.K., said, “The solution isn’t more solemn acknowledgments from powerful male comedians. We have those. The solution is putting people in positions of power who are not male, not straight, not cisgender, not white. This is not taking something away unfairly — it is restoring opportunity that has been historically withheld.” Simply swap out “comedians” and insert “politicians,” and you get where I’m coming from.

Bill Cosby was so extreme in drugging his victims, it was almost possible to see him as the exception—a sex-crime equivalent of mass murder. The college rape scandals were, well, in college. Harvey Weinstein is different. The frenzy began because Weinstein was a powerful media icon exposed by the world's most famous movie stars. For the movie business, where film production, festivals, markets and openings take place around the world, with the hotel often a temporary office, the “casting couch” seemed baked-in. But these accusations set off a chain reaction because they were workplace-related and because the sheer number of women coming forward made it crystal clear — a predator at work with a 40-year career, is a predator who can do a world of damage to women for 40 years.

In some perverse way, our groper-in-chief Donald Trump helped to fuel the personal bravery and outrage. This year's Hugh Hefner post-mortems also set the stage. One group, mostly men, wanted to celebrate his liberal politics, while many women were simply appalled. Here was your classic sleazy guy, rotating young women with ample breasts in and out of his bedroom until his dying day at 91 — and being applauded. Trophy-wife behavior may have finally become a legacy disqualifier. Roy Moore and underage girls, Kevin Spacey and underage boys, Louis C.K. and aspiring female comedians, the outrage and our understanding of the scope of the problem growing every day. The genie is not going back in the bottle.

Because It’s Winning

The Vox headline read, “Women defied conventional wisdom to win in droves in Tuesday's election.” Of the 15 seats held by Republican white males in Virginia, nine were won by women, one of them a transgender woman. Women now hold 28 seats in the Virginia legislature, the largest percentage in Virginia history. Across the country there were firsts for women holding elective office.

According to Axios, “More women are running for office at every elective level.” "More than 15,000 women have contacted She Should Run" and "more than 19,000 have contacted Emily’s List." The Women’s March is believed to be the largest single-day march in U.S. history. With a groundswell of this magnitude, don’t we want women at the top of the ticket, too?

When the Washington Post exit poll asked, “Which one of these five issues mattered most in determining how you voted for governor today?” by an overwhelming percentage, 39 percent respondents chose health care. Gun policy at 17 percent, taxes at 15 percent, immigration at 12 percent and abortion at 8 percent lagged far behind.

Donald Trump’s mano-mano gamesmanship with North Korea has also given the average American fits, and according to Gallup, his approval rating for handling North Korea is at an all-time low. Only a third of Americans think he can do the job. Diplomacy has never looked so good.

Women saved the Affordable Care Act with senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine casting two of the three deciding no votes. And women will defeat Donald Trump.

An all-woman ticket will bind the platform and energize the base. I can hear the candidates now. Health care is not a women’s issue, it's America’s issue. Inequality in wages and the workplace are not women’s issues, they are America’s issues. Human rights is not a women’s issue, it’s humanity's issue. Diplomacy is not a woman’s issue, it is the path to peace.

Tip of the Iceberg

Al Franken will not be the last story, not even close. There will be more politicians exposed for inappropriate sexual behavior. Each new revelation will make it just a little bit easier for the next woman, and in some instances, next man, to stand up and speak out. The revelations feed on each other to propel the next truth.

We may still be three years out, but the bar will rise and scrutiny of male candidates going forward will intensify. The ground has shifted. What once may have been considered “funny” is no longer acceptable behavior. The party can simply avoid the risk of a last-minute photo undermining a winnable 2020 election. There is no harm in men agreeing to step aside and clear a path.

Bernie supporters will certainly argue he drives the conversation, is the strongest messenger and deserves a second shot. But there is a greater good, and an even more powerful message to be sent. Bernie can continue to keep the party honest and chair the key Senate committees needed to carry out the agenda.

After the pussy-grab tapes, I was certain Hillary would win in 2016. And I told anyone who would listen, when women enter the voting booth, they will vote for Hillary. Yet 51 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump. I was dead wrong.

There was the added sting for women of Hillary losing to that guy. Trump is the living definition of the word lout—an uncouth and aggressive man. But times can change, and lucky for us, Americans usually go in the opposite direction when picking their next president. Democrats can offer America the anti-lout, anti-bully, anti-predator ticket: two women who finally, after 100 years, break the glass ceiling and send the world a strong message about our values as a country and the role of women in our society.

By Rick Gell

Rick Gell is a board member of the Digital Media Licensing Association and was previously head of content at Pond5.