After announcing the end of her presidential campaign outside her Cambridge home on Thursday, one-time front-runner Senator Elizabeth Warren fielded a question from a reporter about the role that gender played on the campaign trail.
“You know, that is the trap question for every woman. If you say, ‘yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘whiner!’ and if you say, ‘no, there was no sexism,’ about a bazillion women think, ‘what planet do you live on?’” Warren said. “I promise you this, I’ll have a lot more to say on that subject later on.”
Some of Warren’s supporters were a little more open about their disappointment.
“I'm really sad. I voted for her and I'm just … really sad,” East Arlington resident Janet Connerney said, walking a dog through the Cambridge Common on Thursday. “It would be nice in my lifetime if we had a woman president, but I guess I’ll just put that one on the shelf.”
Connerney said she was confused and disappointed to see Warren characterized as “angry” or “aggressive” after speaking passionately about issues in debates or on the campaign trail.
“Everybody understands sexism if you're open enough to,” she said. “But pure and simple, that's why she bowed out today. She knew.”
Arlington resident Heidi Hample said she agrees with Connerney. Hample said she questions, at 66, if she will ever see a woman president in her lifetime.
“I'm tired of our system, I really am,” she said. “All women, black women, brown women, all different colors from all the different nations who have come and settled here, I'm tired of us not being heard. I'm just so tired of it.”
Lincoln resident Jennifer Steffeck said her top priority is getting President Donald Trump out of office.
“I have to admit, I actually considered voting for Joe Biden because I thought she didn't have a really good chance at the point when I voted for her,” Steffeck said. “But I decided to vote for who I thought would be the best president, despite thinking she probably wasn't going to win.”
Sarah Williams from Watertown voted for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the primary, but said she was saddened to hear that Warren was out of the race.
“I think it's disappointing,” she said. “She was probably my second choice behind Bernie Sanders. I think she had a good run and she had a lot of good ideas.”
Last fall, most national polls projected that Warren would perform well in the primary elections and caucuses, but she failed to secure a first or second place finish in New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada, and then came in fifth place in the South Carolina contest. Hoping for a Super Tuesday upset, Warren stayed in the race — only to see meager results across the country and come in third in her home state.
On the Monday before the election, Democratic political organization EMILY’s List endorsed Warren, tweeting that “she will be a president with the plans and vision to build an administration for all Americans,” and that Warren “is running for president ‘because that’s what girls do,’ and she has been an inspiration to women and girls across the country.”
Just three days later, the organization’s Vice President of Communications Christina Reynolds said the group is devastated at the news.
“I absolutely think sexism was a factor,” she said in a phone interview Thursday. “I don't think it was the only factor, and I'm not saying that every voter who voted for someone else is sexist by any stretch of the imagination. But I do think that women face and are held to different standards. I think they faced this question of ‘electability’ in a gendered way that I would argue was unfair.”
EMILY’s List endorsed Hillary Clinton for president during the 2016 election. Reynolds said she thinks many voters perceived Warren as a “risk” because they have never seen a female president before.
“After watching a woman lose to Donald Trump, what people view as very important is the threat of a second Donald Trump term,” Reynolds said. “We've spent, you know, a year or more of pundits in the media and the conventional wisdom arguing, I believe wrongly, that women were a bit of a risk, in a year that we couldn't afford a risk.”
In her remarks announcing the end of her campaign Thursday, Warren thanked her campaign staff and supporters for showing “that a woman can stand up, hold her ground, and stay true to herself — no matter what.”
Warren declined to immediately endorse one of the three remaining candidates in the Democratic race.