The DNC handed the mic over to women, but why did they shun the Squad? | Arwa Mahdawi

It’s important to celebrate progress, but it’s also important to acknowledge Democrats don’t seem very keen on giving progressives a seat at the table

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Why did the DNC deliberately omit progressive voices?

Sorry mansplainers, your time is running out. According to an analysis by the New York Times women got more speaking time than men during the Democratic National Convention this week.

The increase in female voices, the Times speculated, is “a signal of how the [Democratic] party’s power dynamics may be shifting” after a record 36 new women won House seats in the 2018 midterm election and Kamala Harris’s “trailblazing” VP nomination.

It’s important to celebrate progress. We should not underplay just how incredible it was to see a biracial Indian and black woman accept the nomination for vice-president of the United States. We should not forget how much work it took to get to this point. As Harris said in her powerful acceptance speech, generations of women paved the way for this. They “marched and fought – not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table.”

But while it’s important to celebrate progress, it’s also important to acknowledge that the Democratic party still doesn’t seem very keen on giving progressives a seat at the table. The DNC may have handed the mic over to women but there is one group of women they seem intent on shutting up: the Squad. Not a single one of the progressive young congresswomen who make up the Squad were asked to speak at the DNC.

What about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, you might ask? She spoke for a whole 60 seconds! She certainly did, but she wasn’t invited by the DNC, she was invited by Bernie Sanders. As AOC explained on Twitter, DNC rules require a roll call and nominations for every candidate that passes the delegate threshold. Sanders passed the threshold and AOC was asked to endorse him. Despite this being standard practice some parts of the media, including NBC, willfully misinterpreted it and cast Ocasio-Cortez as a troublemaker who had hijacked the convention. (AOC, of course, immediately called NBC out on this.)

Ocasio-Cortez is probably the most exciting politician of our time. She, along with the other members of the Squad, have inspired and energized young people and progressives around the world. They’ve helped to demystify politics. They’ve given people hope that we might see a more equitable future. Why were they shunned by the DNC? Why did the establishment think that it was more important that we hear from Sarah Cooper, a comedian, rather than AOC? Why did the DNC deliberately omit progressive voices but invite the likes of former Republican presidential candidate, Governor John Kasich, who defunded Planned Parenthood in Ohio, to speak in a primetime slot? Why did the DNC elevate the likes of Bill Clinton – who still needs to answer questions about his involvement with Jeffrey Epstein – and ignore Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar?

Pragmatism, obviously. Democrats know the left has nowhere to go and so they are able to treat progressives with disdain and focus their energies, instead, on pandering to Republicans who might cross over the aisle. I understand the strategy here. I understand the importance of getting rid of Trump; of course I do. But that doesn’t mean we can’t ask the Democrats to do better; that doesn’t mean we can’t ask the Democrats to stop taking the left for granted. There is nothing the establishment loves more than talking about “unity” – they would do well to remember that that means making progressives feel included as well.

James Blunt once got scurvy in a quest to be a Real Man

The man famous for warbling “you’re beautiful” apparently got scurvy when he was a university student after eating nothing but meat and condiments for two months. Blunt told The Times that he adopted the carnivorous diet to assert his masculinity and annoy the girls in his class, who were all vegetarian.

Your fertility app may be spying on you

The Android version of Premom, a popular fertility app, has been sharing large amounts of user data with three Chinese companies, according to research the International Digital Accountability Council provided to The Washington Post. This is far from the first time women’s health apps have been found to share their users’ intimate details without consent.

The Golden Stake Killer sentenced to life in prison

Four decades after Joseph James DeAngelo raped, tortured, and terrorized women in California, justice has been served.

Sex-selective abortions dramatically reducing female births in India

An estimated 6.8 million fewer girls will be born in India by 2030 because of the use of selective abortions, a new study has found. India is estimated to have 63 million fewer women since sex determination tests took off in the 1970s.

The wine world is rife with misogynoir

Wine should bring people to together but, as this piece in the New York Times demonstrates, the industry is an inhospitable place for black women.

Is there really a dating app for Tesla owners?

The Tesla Dating Company (“because you can’t spell LOVE without EV”) started off as a joke. However it has generated so much buzz that its founder is now considering actually launching it.

Cambodia is trying to criminalize short skirts

The country recently proposed a public order law that would ban women from wearing clothes that are “too short or too revealing” and would stop men from going outside topless. So far the law has received 20 of the 24 provincial administrations across the country; should it go into effect women’s rights activists warn it will “reinforce patriarchy and imperil women’s rights in Cambodia”.

The week in pet-riarchy: compulsory walkies

Germany may soon legally require dog owners to walk their pets at least twice a day for a total of at least one hour. “Pets are not cuddly toys – their needs must be taken into account,” the politician introducing the bill explained. I think this is a great idea myself but a lot of lazy dog owners are, predictably, barking mad about it.


Arwa Mahdawi

The GuardianTramp

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