George Will is consistently, if unintentionally, hilarious. In his worldview, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are wildly popular in Democratic circles simply because they are women, and Sherrod Brown labors on unloved for no other reason than his genitalia.

I’ll let George Will in on a little secret. Sherrod Brown is popular among politically-engaged progressives. If he, and not Elizabeth Warren, challenged Clinton for the Democratic nomination, he would get a lot of support from opinion leaders on the left. But the politically-engaged left is quite small in terms of the actual amount of votes we can provide to a political candidate. What we’re good at is organizing, and that can translate into votes over time.

Here’s another secret: Hillary Clinton is wildly popular even among progressives. You might not realize this if all you do is read left-leaning blogs written by progressives who are still angry about the war in Iraq or the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

Finally, Elizabeth Warren’s appeal is not based on her gender. It’s based on the ferocity with which she defends the little guy and rails against injustices in our country. In this, she shares a lot in common with Sherrod Brown, which is why progressives like both of them.

Are progressives so preoccupied with gender that they prefer Clinton’s risk-averse careerism, or Warren’s astonished tantrums about the obvious dynamics of big government, to Brown’s authentic progressivism? Yes.

Actually, no.

Progressives like all of them. It’s just that Sherrod Brown is the least famous and has the lowest name recognition.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at