The backlash against Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential run has already started, as some Democrats are apparently feeling dejected with his announcement. Some critics are stating that women simply aren’t being given the same amount of attention in the media as O’Rourke.
As Politico reports, not long after announcing that she would be running for president, Elizabeth Warren quickly suggested three policy proposals and undertook 30 different campaign visits — to 12 states — to discuss her 2020 run.
However, in marked contrast, O’Rourke has only visited Iowa and given a brief description of his presidential bid. Some Democrats have noted that Beto has been receiving a much larger amount of press than Warren.
Democratic political consultant Anne Marsh has suggested that one thing that never appears to change in the media is that white men are always given the largest amount of publicity when staging presidential campaigns. Marsh cites the staggering amount of press currently surrounding Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, and even Donald Trump — with female hopefuls like Elizabeth Warren left out of the publicity.
“I feel like the media is always captivated by the person they seem to think is a phenom: Bernie. Trump. Beto. But they always seem to be white men who are phenoms. In a year where we have more choices than ever, more women and more persons of color than ever, none of them seem to be deemed a phenom.”
The breathless, sweeps-like cable television coverage that greeted Beto O'Rourke's first campaign events stunned and frustrated many Democratic operatives — particularly women — who viewed it as an example of the double standard at workhttps://t.co/NsW1mboWRy
— POLITICO (@politico) March 15, 2019
As Marsh continued, “It’s a replay of Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton. Instead, it’s Beto O’Rourke in the Bernie Sanders role, to the detriment of every woman running. Not one woman got that kind of coverage. Not one. Not Kamala. Not Kirsten. Not Elizabeth Warren. Not Amy Klobuchar in a blizzard.”
The 2018 midterm elections were an unprecedented time for women in politics, with last year’s elections showing staggeringly large gains for females in Congress. Just last month, five women announced that they would also be running for president in 2020.
However, as Marsh and other Democrats have complained, none of these five women — including Elizabeth Warren — has been showered with as much praise and press as male candidates like Beto O’Rourke.
Tracy Sefl, a Democratic strategist and former adviser to Hillary Clinton, has claimed that the press are intent on “romanticizing” O’Rourke, noting that the Iowa coffee shop that Beto visited to discuss his 2020 run was filled with more reporters than actual residents of the state. Sefl cited this as a perfect example of the media’s fascination with male candidates, apparently favoring them over those who are women.
When Elizabeth Warren visited Iowa, the crowds of people wanting to hear her speak extended for many blocks. However, her speech was not carried live on air, as O’Rourke’s had been.
As Sefl suggested, “A woman could never say ‘I was born to do this.’ But you know what? I think that some women were and it pains me that a woman couldn’t get away with saying that.”
But despite the complaint of many Democrats that presidential candidates like Beto O’Rourke are receiving far more publicity than the women in the race, perhaps the fact that five women are even running for president in 2020 proves that things have still progressed, somewhat.