In granting his first daytime television appearance of his 2020 presidential campaign to "The View" on Tuesday, Beto O'Rourke responded to criticism about his decision to grace the cover of Vanity Fair in March. In the cover story, O'Rourke claimed that he was "born" to run for president. Critics quickly pointed out the double standard that would have ensued had a woman declared the same thing.
Here's how the argument went:
Hunt’s point is well-supported. One prominent study found that people are less likely to vote for a woman if they see her as “power-seeking,” while male politicians pay no price for similar behavior. The same study found that power-seeking female politicians induced “feelings of moral outrage (i.e., contempt, anger, and/or disgust)” among male and female voters. The shorthand for all this — ambition — is a celebrated trait in men. But both men and women don’t like ambitious women. (Vox)
"The View" co-host Meghan McCain asked O'Rourke about the controversy, to which he apologized for doing the photo shoot because he now recognizes how much it exposed his "privilege."
O'Rourke has also caught flak for quipping about how his wife raises their kids "sometimes with his help," flak which he said he "deserved." The candidate explained to McCain that his wife Amy is the principle caregiver to their kids and she does the "lion's share of work," especially while he's on the campaign trail. He said Amy called him and softly corrected him, "I know what you're trying to say and I appreciate it, but the way in which you said it sounds flip." He agreed and said he needs to "rethink" his language and express it differently.
"I have a lot to learn," he said.
Of course, others (including this author) would say it's just a magazine cover and that it's hardly worth a national debate about gender.
O'Rourke, one of the 22 Democrats in the race, is currently polling in single digits.