Like Clockwork, Kamala Harris Criticized As 'Unlikeable' Because She's A Woman In Politics
As soon as the vice-presidential debate ended Wednesday night, cable news experts and focus groups worked like clockwork on the performance of Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris with sexist and racist overtones.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz said his focus group of undecided voters viewed Harris as the first black and Asian American woman on a major party presidential ticket, "condescending" and "aggressive".
Fox News host Bret Baier asked Karl Rove if the California Senator was "sympathetic".
"If she tried, she failed," said Rove.
Similarly, Fox News host Geraldo Rivera struggled with her "over-grinning, over-smiling." Overall, however, he felt that she did a good job showing the audience that she was "not a creepy woman".
In a tweet, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote that he would rather have dinner with Vice President Mike Pence, the "MOST LIKEABLE" of the two.
And on and on and on.
President Donald Trump, who was not lacking in racist and sexist attacks against Harris, also weighed in.
In a call-in therapy session to Fox Business Thursday morning, the President described Harris as "totally unlikely". Trump later referred to the Senator as "that monster that stood on stage with Mike Pence".
Everything is exhausting - and exhaustively predictable.
During the debate, Pence repeatedly interrupted Harris and presenter Susan Page and talked about them. When Pence told a series of lies and tried to deviate from the Trump administration's failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harris's facial expressions summed it up as if to say, "Can you believe this guy?"
Senator Kamala Harris (California), the Democratic Vice President candidate, debated Vice President Mike Pence at the University of Utah on Wednesday night. Throughout the debate, Pence spoke longer than planned and about Harris. (Photo: Photo by ROBYN BECK / AFP via Getty Images)
For many women and women with color it was all too eerily familiar. Harris endured Pence's gas light, pausing and mansplaining while over-conscious that her every move was being checked. She had to do the impossible gymnastics of being assertive and direct - without appearing too "aggressive" or "bitchy" or "improbable" - and showing emotions - without appearing too "hysterical" or "weak" or "shrill".
At times Harris looked like she wanted to show restraint and not show her feelings and figure out how to call Pence the most diplomatic way. It was another manifestation of this vicious circle: be firm but not angry; Advocate for yourself, but do it respectfully.
Apparently, if you are a woman, and especially a woman of color in politics, you can never seem to win.
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5 Findings from the Vice Presidential Debate
Raised eyebrows and side eye: Kamala Harris was a human GIF machine in the debate
Laura Ingraham Gast: "Kamala Harris was Hillary Clinton in blackface" during the debate
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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