For Discussion: Progressive Women Candidates

Here's an observation to provoke a little discussion, perhaps: Why are almost all the candidates who gain support from grassroots progressives male?

I'm talking about candidates who run as Democrats, but against the party "establishment" -- the crash-the-gates types.

The thought occured to me as I put together my latest article in the Phoenix, on the outsider progressives taking on establishment Democrats in Massachusetts.

In the article, I mentioned a number of candidates, at various levels, who have gained some traction among that crowd in the Greater Boston area in the past several years: Robert Reich, Howard Dean, Deval Patrick, Jamie Eldridge, Barack Obama, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Seti Warren, and Peter Smulowitz. You could add to that list John Bonifaz, against Bill Galvin for Secretary of State in 2006; Sam Yoon, against Tom Menino for mayor of Boston in 2009; and Alan Khazei, for US Senate a few months ago.

Among the 2010 candidates trying for that same support I noted Charles Rudnick, Michael Day, Mike Lake, and Mac D'Alessandro.

That's 15 names in all, only one of whom is female. Maybe I'm missing some? Perhaps you could add Grace Ross, but I don't get the sense that the progressive crowd I'm talking about has rallied to her -- she strikes me as more of a liberal "message" candidate.

Anyway, I'm curious what folks might make of this. I'll start with this theory: it takes a lot of chutzpah to run for office at all, but especially to run against the party establishment. My women-in-politics friends always say that it takes more cajoling and convincing to get women to run; maybe that's available for an "establishment" run, but not so much for an "outsider" campaign.

Your thoughts?

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