With Donald Trump’s “montage of misogyny, as detailed by the New York Times, getting messier and more misogynistic each moment, and with Bernie Sanders’ support among many progressive Democrats continuing to grow, there is one, and only one, perfect candidate for Hillary Clinton to select right now, as her running mate: Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
The reasons for this truly revolutionary, all-female ticket for president and vice-president of the United States may not, at first look, be obvious. For weeks, as I’ve been floating the idea among friends and colleagues inside and out of politics, the standard retort has been that this country would never elect two women to the two highest offices in the land; that a national ticket needs to be “demographically” balanced; and, in a year when the Latino vote has been highlighted, that Clinton’s running mate must be Latino. In fact, until the beginning of this year, I was a prisoner of that old way of thinking as well, favoring a ticket of Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Julian Castro of Texas. Three major developments over the past three months have changed that and pointed the way to the future.
First, a seminal early January interview on Decider — a media industry website – with NBC Universal’s executive vice president of digital, Evan Shapiro, framed the issue in a way few, if any, politicians or pundits were looking at it. Here’s what Shapiro, the smartest human being on the planet when it comes to understanding all media and its applicability, had to say:
“Television consumption defies demographics in ways that were the norm 25 years ago. I binge-watched Jessica Jones over Thanksgiving weekend with my wife and two daughters, ages 17 and 20. What is that demographic? That’s really a psychographic around a certain niche. It’s more about psychology than demography.”
The thing to understand about Shapiro, who now heads NBC’s comedy platform SeeSo and also guided the IFC network, Sundance and Participant TV before coming to NBC Universal, is that he just doesn’t pull this stuff out of his “very good brain,” the way Donald Trump makes up foreign policy.
Shapiro is to media research what Nate Silver is to political data: he is the guru. When he first arrived at NBC, Shapiro embarked upon a massive research project, interviewing 11,000 people about their on-line viewing habits. He currently has nine more media platforms in development for NBC, and every decision is based upon meticulous research and analysis. So when Shapiro says “It’s more about psychology than demography,” everyone would be wise to listen. The implication for media—and for society—is positively McCluhan-esque.
Secondly, while Trump, trained in Reality TV, showed early signs of instinctively acting upon the Shapiro Shift away from demographics to psychographics, he has been acting like a contestant on “Survivor” over the past several weeks, eating his own skin – especially regarding his life-long Achilles High-Heel: women. From his insults to Carly Fiorina, Megyn Kelly and Hillary Clinton, to his adolescent spitballing of Heidi Cruz, to his bare suggestion of “some form of punishment” for women having an abortion, Trump has single-handedly put women’s rights and gender quality at the epicenter of the 2016 presidential campaign.
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Trump’s terrible tactics — clearly not the product of a very good brain, or heart, for that matter — have worsened the already large advantage Democrats hold with female voters. In 2012, Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney 55-44 percent among women, sealing his re-election. As of this month, in separate polls conducted by both NBC and the New York Times, the GOP front-runner has a 70 percent negative rating among all women — Republicans and Democrats. If the election were held today, Clinton clobbers Trump, 58 to 31 percent among ALL women, a towering 27-point advantage.
In short, Trump has wiped out any political demographic concerning women, and created his own psychotic psychographic: the crazier he gets, and makes the GOP look, the better the Democrats do with all women, especially crucial suburban women.
Finally, the more successful Sanders is, the more delegates he amasses and the more state primaries or caucuses he wins, the more likely it becomes that the Democratic Party will need to be reunited across ideological—or psychographic–lines, rather than along traditional demographic lines. There is only one person who can do that and double down on the tectonic gender chasm between both parties: Warren.
Clinton’s selection of Warren would represent the triumph of psychographics as an astute—and research tested—political strategy. It would bring about the “revolution” Sanders and his surrogates have been advocating, since few things could be more revolutionary in the United States than the first all-female national ticket in history. And, Warren, whose “Warren Wing” of the Democratic Party made it possible for Sanders to find fertile ground in a party he wasn’t a member of until last year, gives Sanders’ supporters—including Susan Sarandon—a place their psyches and their votes can comfortably call home. No one knows more about taking on Wall Street than Warren.
And, just for fun, think of how Trump, Cruz or any other representative of a misogynist movement masquerading as a political party for the last half-century, would flail and fail in the face of two of the most intelligent, articulate female public figures in history, Clinton and Warren. The Clinton/Warren revolution has arrived, and it will be televised–psychographically, of course.
Villano is a Napa-based blogger. He wrote this for his blog, Radical Correspondence.