And with the suspension of the populist Massachusetts senator's White House bid on Thursday, Democratic women across the country are feeling dejected.
“The emotions would vary from anger to resignation to determination among women about the fact that there’s no women left in the race,” Kathy Sullivan – the longtime Democratic National Committee member from New Hampshire -- told Fox News.
Sullivan – who had endorsed Warren – said the lack of any remaining women candidates (other than Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who’s considered an extreme longshot to win the nomination) is glaring – “especially in light of all the gains women made in the 2018 elections.”
Democratic strategist Meredith Kelly -- who worked for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand before running communications for Gillibrand’s 2020 presidential campaign – emphasized that “there’s definitely a lot of women right now who are feeling pretty disappointed after Elizabeth Warren dropped out.”
“Whether or not you supported Warren specifically, she represents the culmination of a long year for the many talented female candidates running for president and she obviously was the last serious female candidate to drop out,” Kelly said.
As she announced she was dropping out on Thursday, Warren lamented that a field that was once the most diverse in presidential campaign history is now down to essentially two older white men: former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
“One of the hardest parts of this is… all those little girls who going to have to wait four more years” for a female in the White House, the senator said as she choked up.
Even more consequential than this immediate dejection is the possibility that with a 77-year old Biden or a 78-year old Sanders facing off against a 73-year old President Trump in November, there could be a lack of interest on the part of female, younger, and minority voters.
But Kelly isn’t worried about a drop-off from younger voters and women, and she pointed to the Republican incumbent in the White House and the motivating factor for such voters.
“I don’t think anything is more unifying for Democrats than beating Donald Trump, and I don’t think there will be a problem unifying and rally support behind whoever the nominee is,” she stressed.
Sullivan agreed, predicting that “I don’t think it depresses the vote on the part of women because women really understand and get the fact that four more years of Donald Trump would be disastrous for not just women but for the country as a whole… I think women will turn out in large numbers.”
The veteran Democratic Party member said her advice to women who are feeling dejected right now is “go in and mourn for a couple of days but then snap out of it because this is too important. There are a lot of people who are being hurt by the Trump administration and the only way to resolve that is to kick him out of the White House.”
Manny Espitia – a New Hampshire state lawmaker and activist who served as a top adviser in Julian Castro’s unsuccessful presidential campaign – also spotlighted that concerns about Trump will motivate those currently depressed to go out and vote in November.
But he thought that those who are anything but pleased with an old white man as the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer may concentrate their efforts lower down on the November ballot.
“We also have the opportunity to focus on down-ballot races – it’s a really good opportunity for people to look beyond the top of the ticket as well,” Espitia noted.
Having an old white man as the party’s nominee also amplifies the already consequential pick for a running mate.
“The choice of vice president is very important based on age alone,” Sullivan said.
But she emphasized that “I think it’s important that we show to the country that the Democratic Party is open and welcoming to a wide variety of people and not just to white men. I think that’s important.”
And Kelly stressed that “I think it is essential for either Biden or Sanders to have a female vice president and that is not some sort of consolation prize. It’s actually very important so that the women around the country can have more trust in their candidacy and in their eventual administration.”
“More than 50 percent of the electorate are women and we want a ticket that understands the value of Planned Parenthood,” Kelly added. “We want a ticket that has the shared experience of the pay gap. And I think whether it’s Biden or Sanders, it is non-negotiable that they have a female vice president on the ticket with them.”