Interviews and Profiles with Chris
“These six women onstage are evidence of tremendous progress on the Democratic side of the aisle. Someone such as myself who’s been doing this for so long, we’ve been building the bench for over 20 years, and we have it now. We actually have a bench.”
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“If I was coaching any of the six women, I would be thinking strategically about how these women can assert themselves very proactively, but forcefully. I think that’s going to be key, how to draw attention to yourself in a crowded field of 10, but really 20, candidates and be assertive.”
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It came as no surprise to Christine Jahnke that the chattering classes would instantly cast doubt on whether Elizabeth Warren is “likable enough” to be elected president in 2020.
What was new to Jahnke, a D.C.-based speech coach who trains female politicians, was the backlash: a collective howl raised by voters and political analysts who resisted the premise that the next promising female candidate for president could be critiqued and dismissed in precisely the same manner as the last one. Within hours, Warren’s exploratory committee seized on a swipe perceived as sexist to raise money for a possible presidential campaign.
“Two years ago or three years ago, would that have happened? No,” said Jahnke. “Because that was very typical news coverage. It’s like the key hurdle that all women candidates have to jump over.”
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Christine Jahnke, a political communication expert who has advised former First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has seen some head-spinning stuff while working with Democrats and progressive groups. The author of The Well-Spoken Woman, Jahnke recalls an incident in Indiana, where a candidate she advised arrived to campaign at a veterans’ hall and “some old guy comes up to her, looks her in the eye, and says, ‘Are you the stripper?'”
The best thing a woman can do, according to Jahnke, is have a coolheaded, practiced response ready to go when someone does take that cheap shot: “What you don’t want to do [is] lash out in a way that will be perceived as ‘angry’ or out of control,” she said—and that’s not always easy, because attacks rooted in gender can be distracting and distressing.
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“These different women who are running, and the way they’re running, is going to change politics forever,” said Christine K. Jahnke, a longtime consultant to Democratic women. “They’re rewriting the playbook. But we don’t know exactly what the new playbook will look like.” Read the full story here.
See Chris’ New York Times Quotation of the Day from this article.
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“These different women who are running, and the way they’re running, is going to change politics forever,” said Christine K. Jahnke, a longtime consultant to Democratic women. “They’re rewriting the playbook. But we don’t know exactly what the new playbook will look like.”
So it’s remarkable that here we are eight years later, and there’s a candidate—a young progressive candidate, no less—who’s not only fielding questions about her appearance but doing so voluntarily, with the enthusiasm of a genuine beauty junkie.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” says Chris Jahnke, a Washington, D.C.-based speech coach who was a consultant on Clinton’s 2008 campaign and has worked with Michelle Obama. “It goes against the conventional wisdom of how women candidates should act.” Read the full story here.
The Trump administration’s attempts to suppress research on science from climate change to vaccines has become a call to action for many usually apolitical scientists. And one grassroots activists organization, 314 Action, is trying to get them elected to public office. Well Spoken Woman’s Chris Jahnke spoke to Vice News Tonight on HBO about running for office in a Trump world. Watch the full story here.
This female vocal coach teaches women how to talk without being called angry or shrill.
The balloons hadn’t even begun to drop after Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention this summer when pundits started scoring the way she sounded. There was Brit Hume of Fox News complaining about Clinton’s “not-so-attractive voice” and saying, “She tends to accelerate her delivery and speak louder and sterner.” There was New York Times columnist David Brooks demanding more “humanity” from the country’s first female presidential nominee: “She projects one emotional tone throughout, and it has a combative manner to it, and not a happy warrior manner.” Donald Trump himself took to Twitter to chastise Clinton’s “very average scream.” None of this would have come as a surprise to any woman who’s run for office. Read the full story here.