Women Saw Their Experiences at Work Reflected on Las Vegas Debate Stage
From Elizabeth Warren’s fire lines to Amy Klobuchar’s ongoing feud with Pete Buttigieg, women watching the debate saw their experiences at work reflected onstage.
We’ve all seen it: man gets promoted based on potential, while woman gets promoted (if she’s lucky) based on experience — and not to sound like a Taylor Swift song, but she better have more accomplishments than The Man, too. (If you’re still dubious, there’s been data to back this up).
The ninth Democratic debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday included actual exchanges about the workplace, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren asking former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg whether he’ll release an unknown number of women who previously worked for his companies from their non-disclosure agreements related to sexual harassment (Reader, he won’t). For many professional women who were watching, the debate was also a reflection of experiences at work that are all too familiar.
In Las Vegas, two remaining women candidates in a race that drew the largest number of women candidates in U.S. history competed with men who, in Pete Buttigieg’s case, had far less political experience, and in the case of a billionaire like Bloomberg, literally paid his way onto the stage (and didn’t let anyone forget it!).
Even though the political media has largely erased and excluded Warren in recent weeks — a common form of oppression that has damned women across history for centuries — viewers did not ignore her arguments and what they represented. In fact, many viewers saw Warren’s debate performance despite that erasure as characteristic of overqualified women who bafflingly get overlooked at work.
Warren is channeling the rage of every woman who is more than twice as smart & good at her job but gets less than half the recognition of men.— Lacy M. Johnson (@lacymjohnson) February 20, 2020
Some viewers also expressed shock that Bloomberg appeared unprepared to address the resurfacing of his racist policies or controversial history with NDAs — another common workplace trope about how women value overpreparation, while men arrive with excessive confidence.
Warren took Bloombefg down brutally.He was unprepared to hear someone talks shit to him.Everyone else in Bloomberg life is servant & yes-man— Tonia.Htch (@HtchTonia) February 20, 2020
Warren showed she has power to beat Trump.If Bernie doesn't get nomination,I'd gladly support her in the general #finishhim #nastywoman pic.twitter.com/oxsSx3P54N
I’m still legitimately floored at how unprepared Bloomberg was.— VanLathan (@VanLathan) February 20, 2020
As Warren said in a previous debate, she and Klobuchar were the only candidates onstage who had won every election they’ve ever been in (Note: this was before the arrival of Bloomberg, who has also never lost a mayoral election).
While Warren had taken the stance of a unifying candidate and infrequently criticized her opponents in previous debates, she was fiery and unforgettable on Wednesday. The candidate who won the hearts of the left in 2017 when Mitch McConnell interrupted her during former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing got the most speaking time and was the most-tweeted about, according to NBC.
Every woman in corporate America has had a male coworker who went to an elite school, doesn't produce much and keeps getting promoted anyway because someone in a C-suite thinks they have great potential. And its clear some see Buttigieg as the same. https://t.co/x6NekAZxBP— Ginger Gibson (@GingerGibson) February 20, 2020
And yet, the remaining women candidates in this race are slipping behind in the polls and largely absent on cable television, despite Warren having the third place lead in pledged delegates, which are what ultimately decide the Democratic presidential nomination.
Here’s how people watching responded to Warren’s and Klobuchar’s appearances.
frankly, we're wasting our time investing in renewable energy because there is no fuel source purer or more plentiful than amy klobuchar's visceral hatred for pete— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) February 20, 2020
wish I loved anything as much as Amy Klobuchar loves reminding Pete Buttigieg that he has not won statewide— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) February 20, 2020
Elizabeth Warren shows in debate after debate that she’s the candidate with the experience, plans, and vision to unite our country to beat Trump.— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) February 20, 2020
The media may try to count her out. But she will keep persisting and showing why she’s the best person for the job. #DemDebate
Senator Warren showed up tonight and did her homework, everyone else's homework, and then taught the class.— Loren DeJonge Schulman (@LorenRaeDeJ) February 20, 2020