The Lies They Tell: Deciphering Disdainful Digs Thrown at Democratic Women
Updated: Aug 24
Last month, the internet caught fire as Representative Ted Yoho took a shot at Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (NY-14). Tossing around the word “disgusting” and a sexist expletive or two, Yoho was reportedly upset about AOC’s position on crime and poverty in New York City, but his attack was quite personal and offensive. Here, we take a closer look at some shots fired across the aisle at Democratic women, and get to know the truth behind the jab. In AOC’s case, she’s not “disgusting” -- she’s a woman doing her job.
Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
The Jab: She’s a “fake nurse” (1)
The Truth: The New York Times confirmed that Underwood is indeed a registered nurse and she “worked as a research nurse,” though she “never specifically saw patients”-- something she never claimed to have done (2).
Lucy McBath (GA-6)
The Jab: “Lyin’ Lucy McBath” does not live in Georgia, where she claims residency (4).
The Truth: She does have permanent residence in Georgia, but this attack is based on her long stay in Tennessee during her campaign (3). Representative McBath went to Tennessee in order to “help her husband work through family issues” (4). The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) poked at this rumor, sending a gift basket to her husband’s home in Tennessee in order to see who signed for the package (McBath’s mother in law signed the package, but that didn’t stop Fox News from running the signature in an attempt to further discredit McBath) (4, 5).
Abby Finkenauer (IA-1)
The Jab: “Instead of fixing health care and lowering drug prices, Finkenauer votes with the radicals for endless investigations of President Trump, wasting tax dollars. Instead of working to create more jobs, Finkenauer wants more hearings” (6).
The Truth: According to Finkenauer’s voting record, she has consistently followed through on her promise to support legislation on job creation and health care throughout her tenure in the House (6). As for the claim that she votes with “the radicals” (the attack ad bolstered this claim with a collage of the faces of Finkenauer with Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib), in general, Finkenauer does tend to vote in accordance with her Democratic colleagues (6).
Katie Porter (CA-45)
The Jab: “Katie ‘Restraining Order’ Porter” is estranged from her husband.
The Truth: Porter is a Southern Californian law professor and attorney turned politician. She also happens to be the survivor of domestic abuse, a fact that she was forced to elaborate on during her campaign when her estrangement from her husband was brought up in an attempt to discredit her (7). In 2013, she filed for a protective order against her husband to project herself and her children (7).
“To be made to feel like I’ve done anything wrong ― I’m just outraged,” Porter said. “I have a wonderful track record. I’ve worked really hard to fight for consumers. That’s what I should be campaigning on. But I’m not going to let someone, anyone, say that because a woman’s been a victim of domestic violence, because she stood up for her children’s safety, she’s disqualified. Who will run then?”
Cindy Axne (IA-3)
The Jab: “In 2017, Cindy Axne registered as a lobbyist, working to influence Iowa’s elected officials to vote in favor of her special interests,” (8).
The Truth: Technically, this is not wrong! However, the republican attack ad that the quote above is pulled from implies that Axne has sinister intentions and lobbies for divisive interests that her constituents would disagree with (8). If the viewer does attempt to “learn the truth” about Axne like the ad suggests, they would discover that Axne is registered as a lobbyist, for advocating against… puppy mills (8).
In Axne’s words, “Well, they caught me, I am registered with Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, a non-profit organization fighting for better treatment of puppies and dogs in Iowa’s puppy mills. When I learned that 10 of the nation’s 100 worst puppy mills are based right here in Iowa, I decided to do something about it. I joined the Iowa Voters for Companion Animals and registered in 2017 to join their day-of-action” (8).
Sharice Davids (KS-3)
The Jab: Sharice Davids “supports an extreme agenda that would put families at risk” (9).
The Truth: Sharice Davids is a Native American attorney, and the first openly gay woman from Kansas to be elected to Congress (9). Alana Roethe, the “local Kansas mom” that lambasts Davids for having “an extreme agenda that would put families at risk” is actually fairly extreme herself, much more than what the ad suggests (9). Far be she from a neutral party, Roethe has actually served as secretary for the Kansas Republican party, attended Donald Trump’s inauguration, and was also an alternate delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention (9). As for Davids’ “extreme” politics and agenda, she has definitely had her finger on the pulse (9). She advocated for the abolition of ICE, opposed “tougher border security” with Mexico, and-- the most timely of all-- spoke on the fact that “our police departments are rooted in violence,” all two years before the ground-breaking grassroots movement to defund the police that we’re seeing right now (9). Where the GOP might have called her “extreme” during her campaign in 2018, most of America’s youth today would call her visionary (9).