By Jude Messler
On February 10th 2019, engulfed by the fury of a rust belt blizzard, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota announced she was a candidate for President of the United States. Klobuchar joins a large –and diverse– group of Democrats hoping to to win the nomination. Among the frontrunners are four other female politicians: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). Klobuchar’s announcement was met with scandal, the type that only seems to plague female candidates. In the week preceding her announcement the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed published articles slamming her as being ‘aggressive’, ‘cruel’, and ‘abusive’ toward her staff.
According to sources close to Klobuchar, “three people have withdrawn from consideration to lead Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s nascent 2020 presidential campaign” because of her reputation as a tough boss. For years rumors have flown around D.C that Klobuchar is one of the worst Senator’s to work for. The Huffington Post quoted former Klobuchar staffers as saying her office is “controlled by fear, anger, and shame.” These former staffers note how the Senator “demeaned and berated her staff almost daily” freaking out if comma’s were used incorrectly and if her ipad was not charged. Once, she even chucked a binder and accidently hit a staff member. The New York Times recently released an article detailing how Klobuchar had eaten her salad with a comb and then made an aide clean the comb after he forgot to get her a fork. History has administered passes to ‘tough’ male bosses like Richard Nixon, while solely condemning female politicians like Hillary Clinton for being a ‘bitch.’
Yes, working for Klobuchar’s sound’s awful. Yes, her actions are reprehensible. Yes, voters should take her treatment of her staff into account in the ballot box. However, the media’s wall to wall coverage of this ‘scandal’ is pure sexism. When you google Amy Klobuchar her behavior, not her political record is the first thing to pop up. Klobuchar is a two term Senator who just won re-election by 24 percentage points in a state Donald Trump lost by a singular point. Of every Senator, male and female, Klobuchar has past the most legislation during her tenure. She is a highly skilled legislator who is an incredibly successful Senator.
President Trump, like Klobuchar, has been known to be hard on his staff. In two years the present administration has shed forty-two senior staffers and cabinet secretaries. The media has turned a blind eye to the Trump administration’s staff disfunction, choosing to focus on more attention grabbing headlines. When it comes to Amy Klobuchar, pundits overlook her many accomplishments to focus on petty politics. The singular characterization of Klobuchar as ‘demanding,’ ‘unreasonable,’ and a ‘bitch’ paints the picture of a one-dimensional candidate and is blatantly sexist. The electorate will be introduced to Klobuchar as the awful boss. Her work-ethic, accomplishments, and ambition is overlooked because the male dominated media refuse to acknowledge female candidates as complex, three-dimensional beings.
The media’s treatment of Senator Klobuchar is a microcosm amongst a larger problem of how the media portrays ambitious women. As the 2020 election progresses it will be fascinating to see how the narrative develops if a woman becomes the nominee and President.