This is the first episode of To the Left, a Jezebel video series chronicling the ways candidates who lost their elections affected the political climate.
Lucy Flores isn’t running for office right now, but she’s still had a profound impact on the Democratic primary process.
In March, Flores published an essay in which she described being made uncomfortable by unwanted touching by former Vice President Joe Biden. Flores’ story reignited the often minimized discussion of Biden’s treatment of women, and the way that men like him seem to have very different boundaries when interacting with women than when they are interacting with other men. (The allegations against Al Franken raised the same basic point: the former senator never seemed to have “confused” boundaries about appropriate touch with men—it was only when he was interacting with women that he seemed to be overly familiar.)
Flores has long been an advocate for pushing the Democratic party toward a set of truly progressive ideals. While serving in the Nevada Legislature, she testified about an abortion she had as a teenager to help make the case for comprehensive sex-education. In 2016, following an unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor two years prior, she ran for an open Congressional seat in her home state.
She was defeated in the primary by former State Senator Ruben Kihuen, who would go on to win the general election. While in office, Kihuen was investigated after multiple women came forward with stories of sexual harassment by the then-candidate. Flores elevated the stories of his accusers and went on record with stories of inappropriate behavior she had witnessed as Kihuen’s former high school classmate.
Flores has made it her mission to continuing highlighting hypocrisy within a party that claims to champion diversity and equality, but often fails women, especially women of color.
Watch the video above for more of what Flores had to say about the lessons learned from her 2016 campaign, and why she doesn’t need an elected title to push for meaningful change in and outside of the Democratic Party.