Sometimes it’s good to take a break from the Republican Party’s explicit agenda to deprive women of their rights and humanity. So let’s change it up and take a look at some “progressives” who want in on that.
Oh? Did you think misogyny was a purely partisan game? Nope.
Behold, “progressives” fighting for their political beliefs, with violence, vulgarity, and — extra tasty cherry on top — death threats toward Nevada’s State Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange:
It’s unfortunate that while we were making these efforts to ensure that we conducted a fair State Convention, the Sanders campaign was deliberately sharing misinformation about how the convention operates to get people riled up. And after starting this fire, they had no capacity — and no desire — to control their own supporters from hurling threats and insults and being disruptive to the proceedings. We were forced to conclude the State Convention at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel quickly because event security no longer had the capacity to control the unruly and unpredictable crowd. […]
Since the State Convention was adjourned Saturday night and Sanders supporters posted [Lange’s] cell phone number and other contact information online, our chairwoman has received thousands of death threats and threats of violence and misogynistic insults that aren’t fit to print. Our chairwoman had to be given a security detail throughout Saturday just to be able to move around the room and go to the bathroom safely. Our office was vandalized by protesters with hateful insults. This activity is beyond the pale.
Just how beyond the pale, you might be wondering. Here’s the transcript of a voicemail left for Lange by one particularly charming fellow:
Hi, Berta Lange. This is a citizen of the United States of America, and I just wanted to let you know that I think people like you should be hung [sic] in a public execution to show this world that we won’t stand for this sort of corruption. I don’t know what kind of money they’re paying for you, but I don’t know how you sleep at night. You are a sick, twisted piece of shit, and I hope you’ll burn for this. And you can return my call at (619) 838-9222. I’d love to go into further detail with you about this, though I am sure you don’t have the courage to do so, you cowardless [sic] bitch, running off the stage. I hope people find you.
Awww, he seems nice. Calling a woman a “twisted piece of shit” and a “bitch” and hoping that she will both burn and be hanged in public (sorry, bro, but have to correct your word usage for you) seems like a great way to ensure that the Democratic Party adheres to your idea of a progressive message. Bonus points for demanding that Lange respond to him. “Hi, I hear you want me to die. How can I help you?” NOPE. But sometimes men get even angrier when they harass a woman and she doesn’t even have the decency to acknowledge him.
That’s not all. There are more — many more.
It should not be necessary to tell progressives that calling a woman a “bitch” and a “cunt” for doing her job, threatening her and her family, and harassing the businesses she works with are not acceptable political actions. Nor should it be necessary to explain that she did not bring this on herself. It’s conservatives who wrongly blame women for being assaulted, right? Not progressives, who are supposed to know better.
It also should not be necessary to ask that Bernie Sanders forcefully and unequivocally condemn the actions and attitudes of his supporters. And yet, asked about the chaos and violence caused by his supporters in Nevada, this was Sanders’s response:
In case you didn’t quite catch that, his response was to say nothing. He simply turned and walked away. His campaign then released a statement on Tuesday, blaming the Democratic Party for the behavior of his supporters:
If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned. I am happy to say that has been the case at state conventions in Maine, Alaska, Colorado and Hawaii where good discussions were held and democratic decisions were reached. Unfortunately, that was not the case at the Nevada convention. At that convention the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.
If only those supporters were treated with the respect the Sanders campaign believes they are due, they wouldn’t have thrown chairs, vandalized property, shouted epithets at Clinton surrogate Sen. Barbara Boxer, and begun a despicable campaign of harassment against the state party’s chairwoman. In other words, because Sanders supporters were treated unfairly, according to the campaign, Lange was asking for it. Bitch had it comin’.
In this election, we’ve come to expect this sort disgusting, violent hatred from Donald Trump’s fervent supporters (and staff!). That’s the Republican Party for you, right? We know it will get worse once Hillary Clinton is officially the first woman nominated for president by a major political party. But this isn’t coming from the Republican Party. This is coming from a “progressive” campaign, and from a self-identified feminist candidate who claims to understand and support the fight for women’s equality as well as, if not better than, other women politicians.
The Sanders campaign demands that the Democratic Party “open its doors and welcome into the party” the people who support his campaign. There is not, and should never be, room in the Democratic tent for the kind of behavior exhibited his supporters and his own campaign. There is only one appropriate response to those who seek to achieve political goals with violence and misogyny, especially when it comes from supposed progressives, and that’s to slam the door firmly shut.
Here’s this week’s good, bad, and hideously ugly:
- How about we switch it up with some good news? Last week, Republican (!!!) Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed the Contraceptive Equity Act. It does just what it says, going further than the Affordable Care Act by making nearly all types of contraception — including long-lasting birth control like IUDs and emergency contraception — more accessible and affordable for women. This is a legit win, ladies. More of this please.
- Speaking of contraception: The Supreme Court finally issued its eagerly-slash-dreadingly anticipated decision in Zubik v. Burwell — aka, the birth control case with the nuns. And the decision is … drumroll please … NO DECISION AT ALL! The justices unanimously kicked the case back to the lower courts and asked the parties to pretty please figure it out amongst themselves and come up with a compromise “that accommodates petitioners’ religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women covered by petitioners’ health plans ‘receive full and equal health coverage, including contraceptive coverage.'” Because that will definitely happen. Except as Greg Lipper, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, explains, “These cases will almost certainly return to the Supreme Court, which may or may not have nine members by that time.” In the meantime … well, what happens in the meantime isn’t clear either. But this is clear:
If these cases concerned religious objections to virtually any type of medical care other than contraception—vaccines, blood transfusions, gelatin-covered pills, you name it—they’d have been laughed out of the Supreme Court. But because they involve reproductive care, we’re now in the fourth year of litigation, with no end in sight, even though the objectors need not pay for or otherwise provide contraceptive coverage. Despite the Affordable Care Act’s explicit attempt to ensure that women’s healthcare is no longer treated as second-class care, we have a long way to go.
Go read the whole post. And stay tuned …
- Faux libertarian Sen. Rand Paul is up to no good. The Kentucky senator who thinks government serves no purpose and should never do anything, ever, is still pushing his one exception to his own rule:
[He] sent out a fundraising appeal for the National Pro-Life Alliance, an anti-abortion “personhood” group today, seeking contributions to help the group pressure members of Congress to cosponsor Paul’s Life at Conception Act, which seeks to bypass the Supreme Court in order to ban all abortions.
The senator introduced his personhood bill in 2013, and it still hasn’t gone anywhere because he’s as bad at being a senator as he is at being a presidential candidate. And while plenty of “pro-life” Republicans support the idea of personhood — a law to declare that a fertilized egg is a citizen with full constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment, and yes, that is completely nuts — they also know that personhood bills have been defeated in every single state where they’ve been proposed. Personhood bills aren’t just bad and dumb; they’re bad and dumb politics too. Guess that’s why Sen. Rand is back to fighting for his never-gonna-happen bill.
- What do you think “too female” means?
— The Mary Sue (@TheMarySue) May 15, 2016
- Who’s up for another Year of the Woman? But even bigger and badder than the last one:
If Democrats take back the Senate in 2016, they’ll likely have women to thank for it.
The party is likely to have at least six female nominees who are challenging Republican incumbents in their top-targeted states, helping them flip the four seats necessary to take back Senate control, if Democrats hold the White House.
And Democrats believe they have the perfect storm brewing to help them do that — likely the first female presidential nominee coupled with a probable GOP nominee who has a well-documented history of controversial remarks about women.
Donald Trump’s unapologetic sexism is so well-documented, in fact, that his own party is freaked the flip out about it:
Earlier this year, the National Republican Senatorial Committee admitted in a leaked private memo to candidates and campaigns that Trump’s rhetoric was a headache.
“Houston, we have a problem: Donald Trump has said some wacky things about women,” wrote NRSC executive director Ward Baker. “Candidates shouldn’t go near this ground other than to say that your wife or daughter is offended by what Trump said. We do not want to reengage the ‘war on women’ fight so isolate Trump by offering a quick condemnation of it.”
Of course Republicans don’t want to get caught fighting about the war on women again — because they’ll lose.
But now, with the reality that Trump will be their party’s nominee, it’s becoming harder for candidates to distance themselves from him. Not all vulnerable incumbents have said they will endorse him for president, but not one has said they won’t. Ayotte, in fact, tried to saddle the fence by saying she supports Trump as the GOP nominee but won’t endorse him.
There’s no question that Trump has a woman problem — a Gallup poll last month showed that 70 percent of women have an unfavorable opinion of Trump.
If you thought that double-digit gender gap in 2012 was fun, just wait until this November.
- Let’s live dangerously and wrap it up with some more good news. Last week, the Obama administration issued guidelines to every public school in the country, mandating equal treatment of transgender students, under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination against students based on gender. Yay! As the president explained in an interview with BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner this week:
“We’re talking about kids,” the president said from the Roosevelt Room in the White House. “Anybody who has been in school, in high school, who has been a parent should realize that kids who are sometimes in the minority, kids who have a different sexual orientation or are transgender are subject to a lot of bullying, potentially. They’re vulnerable.”
Naturally, conservatives are in total agreement that schools should protect children from — HAHAHA, yeah right. The entire right, from Fox News to the governor of Texas, is OUTRAGED!!! at the thought that transgender people should be treated with dignity.
JFK wanted to send a man to the moon. Obama wants to send a man to the women’s restroom. We must get our country back on track. #tcot
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 17, 2016
WhatEVER. Fighting for the “right” to discriminate against transgender people is going to end as well for conservatives as their fight to discriminate against gays and lesbians. They will suffer defeat in the courts and in their pocketbooks. (See, for example, North Carolina and its suffering tourism industry.) And they’ll suffer in the history books too, because you don’t get a medal for protecting bigots who want to bully kids and tell people how and where to go the bathroom. So get your zingers in now, Gov. Abbott, because it’s just a matter of time.
Join us next Wednesday for another round of reporting. Unless we’ve won the war by then.