Candidate Intersectional Rankings*

Candidate Intersectional Rankings*

It is common practice in today’s political environment to carefully profile the essential nature, or intersectionality, of the candidates to establish a fundamental sense of their legitimacy. This encompasses not only the legitimacy of their political beliefs, but, more broadly, their legitimacy as human beings. Given this commentary topic, it is only appropriate that I offer at the outset a disclaimer regarding my own intersectional profile.

I work on an American university campus so it is trivial for me to understand my own intersectional ranking. I am a straight, white, male approaching the twilight of life. As I move around campus I am constantly reminded of my intersectional shortcomings – my straight cisgendered-ness, my white privilege and my potential for toxic masculinity . The profile formed by those three attributes puts me plainly at the bottom of the rankings. Age is only important because it most likely limits my ability to achieve a ”woke-ness” on par with the younger generations.

Ignoring the comments of one of my siblings who noted that, with my profile, “nobody cares what you think,” I present here my understanding of the rankings of the principal competitors for the presidency in 2020. This guide might be helpful to those who are, like myself, mystified by the retrograde movement of our body politic since the days of MLK’s famous, “I Have a Dream”, speech.

Before I begin the rankings, I feel obliged to point out that I am not totally clear on the relativity of the various attributes. For example, does non-cisgenderedness merit a higher score than being female or a member of a minority group?

Donald J. Trump clearly merits a zero in any intersectional ranking. His wokeness score is also zero. But he has other attributes that would take him into negative territory. He is a capitalist, rich, powerful, and often obnoxiously arrogant (what President isn’t?). Importantly, his hairstyle is incomprehensible. We give President Trump an Intersectionality Score (“IS”) of minus 120.

Joe Biden, sadly, ranks with Trump based on his core attributes. He does, however, merit some points given his sympathy for the key profiling concepts that are in vogue today. We give the former Vice President a plus 5.

Elizabeth Warren will outrank any white male, as she is female, which comes with the attribute of “first-ness”, in that she would be the first female President. Warren, apparently anticipating the intense profiling that was to come, reached for the Native American attribute some years ago. Unfortunately, her DNA test did not support her claims. Some might argue that her false claim is tantamount to cultural appropriation and that her ranking should be reduced accordingly. We will take a more charitable view. We also note that she has assembled a portfolio of socialist policy positions that inure to her benefit with her focus on creating a classless, but more impoverished and less free, American society.  We give Senator Warren a plus 28.

Bernie Sanders has core profile attributes similar to Trump and Biden. He was, however, raised as a member of a persecuted religious minority group. In a different political environment, that might garner Senator Sanders a few points. Unfortunately, most democrats do not see Israel as a positive actor on the world stage. Perhaps for this reason or his decades long admiration of the old Soviet Union, Sanders has largely abandoned the religion of his birth. Last, we must note that on the positive side, Sanders is an outspoken advocate for a socialist, classless and more impoverished United States. We give Senator Sanders a plus 11.

Corey Booker is a challenge to rank. He is an African American which in our view offsets most of the negative of being male. Given that he is a member of a smaller minority group, it is logical that he would outrank white females. There are, however, other countervailing attributes. He was raised in a financially privileged home, as both his parents were executives at IBM. More importantly, perhaps, he was a nationally ranked football player in high school and continued to play at Stanford. It is difficult to imagine a more dramatic example of toxic masculinity than playing American football. We give Senator Booker a plus 33.

Kamala Harris should clearly rank high on the list being both female and African American. Some are challenging her status as African American because her father is actually from Jamaica and her mother was from India. We think this is complete nonsense. Since both parents are from minority groups, her situation clearly merits a double score under the race category. This is offset somewhat perhaps by the fact that the Senator did grow up in a well-off elite household, as both parents were notable university professors. We give Senator Harris a plus 41.

Pete Buttigieg is also an intersectional ranking conundrum. He merits a high score for being gay but he suffers from white privilege and, like Harris, class attributes (his father was a Professor at Notre Dame). He is a Navy veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, which obviously carries the toxic masculinity characteristic. He does bring the apparent attribute of “first-ness”, but Mayor Pete says it is unlikely that he would be the first gay President. He certainly would be the first openly gay President. Clearly, Mayor Pete represents the smallest minority group of all the candidates. We also acknowledge that the mayor is young, thus garnering a significant woke-ness score. We grant Mayor Pete an IS value of 47.

Forgive us if we forgo a detailed review of the also-rans. Hopefully, they will step aside soon so that the debate participants can get to say more than 900 words each.

Last, we note that only Trump, Booker and Mayor Pete have any meaningful executive experience. This has never been a required attribute for someone seeking the most powerful executive job in the world, but we thought we would mention it anyway.

So there you have it.

Based on this analysis, we are predicting the democrats will nominate a powerful combination from this group. With Harris running for President and Mayor Pete for Vice President, they will have first-ness in both positions. Moreover, together they will represent a bodacious combined intersectional score of 88. This ticket is a clear winner as, in our view, it is unlikely that Trump could replace Vice President Pence with someone scoring high enough to offset his abysmal minus 120 score on the intersectional scale.

*Intersectionality is a non-empirical qualitative analytical framework that applies deconstructionist critical theory (a literary criticism method) to attempt to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized in society. There are various forms of social stratification, such as class, race, sexual orientation age, religion, creed, disability, gender, which are included in the consideration of intersectionality.