This is a letter to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle from 1916. Look, this person is just trying to be helpful to the cause!
“Have to voters of Montana stopped to seriously consider whether there will be gain to them in sending a young woman to congress? Admittedly there will be novelty in such a proceeding; admittedly the state will be talked about for such action on its part, but will the talk be beneficial to Montana or otherwise? Montana has earned something of a name for herself as one of the most progressive of states looking for practical results rater than the sentimental or freakish; and voters should seriously consider whether by casting their votes for Miss Rankin, regardless of how attractive a personality she may have, they would not be giving the state undesirable publicity.
“Have the suffragists of Montana considered whether the sending of a young woman to congress would promote the cause of suffrage? Is it not true that such action on the part of the voters of this state, by unduly advertising the desire for office on the part of women, would seriously retard the suffrage movement in other states?
“Is there any justification for the claim that the women of Montana owe suffrage to Miss Rankin? Is it not true that other women, Mrs. H. L. Sherlock for example, were working for woman suffrage before Miss Rankin was out of her cradle? Did not suffrage come to Montana rather through the example of other states around her, and through the action and votes of men of the state? Miss Rankin undoubtedly had a part, but no more than many other men and women.
“Has Miss Rankin had the life experience that is necessary to make her a useful servant of Montana in the halls of congress? Does she understand the land questions arising in this state, the questions relating to the various irrigation projects, and other matters of practical importance to the state’s development? If Miss Rankin was a young man instead of a young woman – of the same age and experience – would anyone think of sending her to congress? If we are going to send a woman to congress from Montana, would it not be well to send one who has had a woman’s part in life, who has won her place in the state in a woman’s way?”
I liked this bit best: “Is it not true that such action on the part of the voters of this state, by unduly advertising the desire for office on the part of women, would seriously retard the suffrage movement in other states?” Don’t look to eager, ladies, it might hurt the cause if you’re too bold.
The implication that she’s not a real woman who won by following a “woman’s way”, and at the same time questioning whether a woman could actually know anything about the practical, manly issues in Montana is just icing on the cake.
The candidate, by the way, was Jeannette Rankin, who won the election handily and went on to become the first woman elected to the US Congress. She was a dedicated pacifist who voted against our entry in World War II…and she was also a Republican. I don’t think she’d fit in any more.