Why Elizabeth Warren on the Ticket Would Be a Feminist Dream Come True

There was something electric about seeing Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren on stage together for their first joint campaign appearance in Cincinnati on Monday June 27. As soon as the women stood together, hugging each other with genuine warmth, praising each other through the roof and raising up their arms POTUS/VPOTUS style, Clinton seemed less like a beleaguered candidate to whom every accusation sticks and more like the confident frontrunner many of us have been dreaming about.

“I have not heard the roar of the crowd, the raucous applause since we’ve been on the campaign trail in recent weeks,” said Jennifer Griffin of Fox News about the moment Warren took the stage with Clinton.

The photos of the two women, along with the mutual words of admiration and their scathing attacks against Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump (Warren called him a “small, insecure money grubber” and Clinton said she loved to see how Warren “gets under Donald Trump’s thin skin”) caused many to speculate that Warren would be Clinton’s pick for vice president. I have no insider information and couldn’t predict if a Clinton/Warren ticket would bring back Clinton’s double digit lead in the polls against Donald Trump, but I can guess why the sight of the two women together lit a fire of that caused people to write over-the-top love tweets like this:


One reason this was hearted by so many is because the idea of these two powerful women on one presidential ticket would affirm, inspire and reinvigorate the feminist aspect of Clinton’s campaign.

A month ago, the elation over the fact that a woman became the nominee of a major party for the first time in American history was quickly drowned out by the usual chorus of Hillary hatred. She’s a criminal, a murderer, a pathological liar - we’ve heard all the usual slander. As always, the outraged and aggrieved mudslingers make the loudest noise so that the women and men who would have liked to savor this historic moment (even the use of “historic moment” was rejected by those who will never examine their visceral dislike of Clinton) felt like they got to enjoy it for about three seconds before it was gone.

But if Warren joined the ticket, it would bring the focus back to the ultimate glass ceiling that might be on the verge of shattering. Another woman in the stage - a potential vice president - reminded us how amazing this campaign actually is.

Hearing the two women praise each other in Cincinnati also puts to rest the sexist trend of pitting them against each other. The conservative PAC America Rising invoked Warren as a way to diminish Clinton’s progressive politics. Meanwhile much was made of Warren - and specifically Warren - not endorsing Clinton while Bernie Sanders was still a viable candidate, even though plenty of Democrats wait until the race is over before giving their endorsement. Warren is often used to justify Hillary hatred when people say, “I’ll never note for her but I would vote for Warren so that means I’m not sexist.” Of course that would only work if Warren was actually running for president. (When Warren actually was seeking office, she was also called a liar and considered unlikable.) But the point is that Warren is not running for president. It’s Clinton who has worked and scraped and fought her way through all this misogynist dirt dressed as opinion to win the nomination.

Another element about the joint appearance which uplifted: When women who try to rise in business or politics or other spheres receive encouragement and assistance from other women, it’s more than just helpful - it’s empowering. Women are still underrepresented in leadership positions, and that spirit of female empowerment was all over that Cincinnati photo-op, one of the most memorable moments of the campaign thus far.

Finally, the conventional thinking around Clinton’s VP pick is that it should be a moderate from a swing state and most definitely a He. There are still Americans who are uncomfortable with the idea of a woman president. With these Mad Men in mind, a male VP pick would be the safer bet as it would reassure those still harboring conscious and subconscious bias towards women that someone from the old male guard is still close to the biggest seat of power.

Choosing Warren would trade convention for subversion. Choosing a progressive woman from a state that Clinton would win anyway would demonstrate the kind of confidence we dream about for our daughters. A female Democratic candidate for president sends the message that a woman can do anything. Two women on the ticket adds another irresistible twist: A woman can do it, and she doesn’t even need a man to get there.

Watching them on stage in Cincinnati, lots of us had giant red hearts in our eyes.

Devorah Blachor is writing “Let it Go: The Feminist’s Guide to Raising a Little Princess,” forthcoming from Tarcher/Penguin. She writes about feminism and parenting for the New York Times, Huffington Post, The Establishment and others, and writes humor for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Follow her on Twitter, @DevorahBlachor, or on Facebook.

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