Aug 22, 2019

The #MeToo election isn't happening

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If you've been watching the 2020 Democratic debates so far — which has a record number of women running in a primary — it's easy to forget that #MeToo ever happened.

Why it matters: It's the first presidential election since the rise of the movement, which the Democrats embraced. Yet the only presidential candidate who's making these issues a staple of her campaign is Kirsten Gillibrand, who's struggling to clear 1% in the polls — and the issues have barely registered in the debates so far.

The big picture: The 2018 midterms were a sign of the political power women harnessed after #MeToo. Women helped the Democratic Party take back the House in 2018 by running in red and purple districts and showing up in droves as voters.

Yet women's issues have so far taken a back seat to others, from health care to climate change and immigration, and to the candidates' fights with each other.

  • For the most part, the debate moderators haven't even been asking about these issues, from sexual harassment policies to paid family leave.

Gillibrand is the only 2020 Democrat who has made her campaign explicitly about women and women's place in this country. She just hosted a reproductive rights town hall, days before an 8-week abortion ban is set to take place in Missouri.

  • But it only got covered by local St. Louis media. Everyone else was focused on Elizabeth Warren's Minnesota rally because of the crowd size.
  • And Gillibrand is still struggling to qualify for the next debate in September. "If I'm on that stage ... I'll bring the necessary attention to the all-out assault we've seen on women's reproductive rights — even if the moderators continue to ignore it," she wrote in an email to supporters Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, Joe Biden, who faced allegations of inappropriate touching or invading women's personal space, is still polling at the top.

  • And none of the top-tier candidates have made women's issues a defining theme. They've saved that distinction for their plans for the wealth tax, Medicare for All and climate change — and, of course, for Trump.

The bottom line: Democrats made themselves the standard bearers on #MeToo issues — practically shoving Al Franken out of the Senate — but you wouldn't know it from the way their campaign to defeat Trump has played out so far.

Go deeper

Kirsten Gillibrand drops out of the 2020 presidential race

Kirsten Gillibrand. Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told the New York Times in an interview Wednesday that she is withdrawing from the presidential race.

The big picture: Gillibrand attempted to brand herself as the women's candidate — focusing her campaign on reproductive rights, child care and her #MeToo advocacy. But with a relatively high number of women running, she struggled to stand out, leading to poor showing in the polls and a failure to qualify for next month's debates.

Go deeperArrowAug 28, 2019

Women’s World Cup earned more than 2x expected ad revenue

Photo: Naomi Baker - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

In the midst of a bitter fight for equal pay, advertisers bought nearly $100 million in U.S. television commercials during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: In response to pay gaps between USA men's and women's soccer, many argue male teams simply drive more revenue and therefore receive greater pay. The women's TV ad sales are arguably another point in dismissing that logic.

Go deeperArrowSep 16, 2019

Cokie Roberts dies at 75

Cokie Roberts. Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Award-winning journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts has died at the age of 75, reports ABC News.

The big picture: Roberts was a pioneer for women in journalism. She shaped the earliest coverage at NPR in the 1970s, won numerous awards for her work at ABC and authored six bestsellers on women in America. In addition, she was named one of the 50 greatest women in broadcast journalism by the American Women in Radio and Television.

Keep ReadingArrowSep 17, 2019