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Trevor Noah Gets to the Heart of the Male Privilege Dominating the 2020 Democratic Campaigns

On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah broke down the vastly different way that we treat male and female candidates. Earlier this week, CNN hosted a marathon evening of town hall events with a number of 2020 Democratic candidates. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg each spent an hour with a CNN host, answering questions from their audience of college students. Each candidate had a chance to show what they’re all about.

For Elizabeth Warren, that meant laying out detailed policies to benefit nearly every aspect of American’s lives. As Noah points out, Warren has spent months “releasing policies faster than Netflix releases documentaries about serial killers.”

Just hours before town hall, Warren unveiled an ambitious plan to cancel student loan debt for 95% of Americans with such debt. That, like many of her other policies, would be paid for via Warren’s proposed “Ultra-Millionaire Tax,”  a 2% annual tax on the 75,000 families with $50 million or more in wealth.

Warren laid out that plan in impressive detail during the debate. You can’t watch her speak and deny that she’s incredibly qualified and staggeringly intelligent.

And then we have Pete Buttigieg. He’s certainly charming and inspiring and intelligent. But, “Unlike the rest of the Democratic field, he didn’t come with policy and specifics,” says Noah. “No, he came with heart.”

When Anderson Cooper called Mayor Pete on the fact that his campaign website doesn’t have any policy specifics–”like, nothing”–Buttigieg responded, “We’ll continue to roll out specific policy proposals too,” apparently ignoring the fact that you can’t continue what you haven’t started. “But,” he said, “I also think it’s important that we not drown people in minutiae before we’ve vindicated the values that animate our policies.”

“I don’t know what he just said,” Noah commented, doing a mock slow clap, “but I like him.”

“He still didn’t tell us about his policies, but he made us feel policies,” Noah continued, hitting the nail right on its privileged head. If Elizabeth Warren or any of the female candidates approached a town hall so casually, they would be torn apart. Instead, they’re torn apart for being, as Hillary Clinton was called in 2016, “overprepared.”

“You have to admit, running for president as a man is so much more fun because as a woman, you have to bring extra homework,” said Noah. “Elizabeth Warren calculated 2 cents on every dollar over 50 million. Kamala is breaking down the statistics on maternal mortality as relates to race and class. But a dude can come and be like, ‘Yeah, I’m just going to wing it.'”

(image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.