The Corner

Elections

Interrupting Is Not Evidence of Sexism

People watch the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris at a tavern in San Diego, Calif., October 7, 2020. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

One of the main media narratives that has metastasized since yesterday evening’s vice-presidential debate is the notion that Mike Pence is a sexist because he interrupted Kamala Harris. On several occasions while she was speaking, when Pence made a quiet comment or attempted to speak over her, she shot him a glance and issued an obviously pre-planned, “I’m speaking right now, okay?”

The look on her face made it very clear that this reply had been calculated in advance to convey something along the lines of, “I’m a woman, so I’m very used to being interrupted, but I’m empowered so I’m going to silence you now.”

Despite the fact that Harris herself interrupted both Pence and moderator Susan Page on more than one occasion, Democrats and their many media allies have rallied to her defense in the wake of what was an all around pretty poor debate performance, insisting that she actually won because she had been interrupted.

CNN’s top headline on the debate reads: “Harris on Pence interruption: Mr. Vice President, I am speaking.”

Here’s NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell’s “reporting” on the subject:

Woke celebrity Mark Ruffalo insists that Pence’s few interruptions are proof of his white supremacy:

One writer for the New Yorker was already getting the interruption spin machine revved up and ready to go while last night’s debate was still taking place:

Immediately following the debate, George Stephanopolous offered the sophisticated view that Mike Pence had been “mansplaining,” the progressive word for when a man whose politics they hate says anything to a woman whose politics they love.

Lots of progressives, especially left-wing feminists, suddenly have lots of thoughts to offer about the not-so-secret sexism that apparently motivates men every time they interrupt a woman. The fact that almost the entire media immediately fixated on this line of attack says a lot about how (badly) they thought Harris performed. It’s also evidence of how facile and superficial woke identity politics is.

What could possibly be more condescending than to say to a successful female politician, “You won because the man you were debating interrupted you a few times, and it made me feel bad for you”?

Pence interrupted both Harris and the moderator a few times. He shouldn’t have. Harris herself also interrupted Pence on more than one occasion, and she interrupted or spoke over the moderator. She shouldn’t have. None of this was evidence of sexism. It was, after all, a debate, where there’s generally a bit of back and forth and tension, and everyone expects the candidates to be contentious when attempting to make their point.

Mike Pence treated Harris exactly the way he would’ve treated a Democratic vice-presidential candidate who was a man, exactly the way he treated Tim Kaine in 2016. Harris’s cheerleaders should have more respect for her than to use this foolish argument in her defense.