Have you heard Lucas St. Clair was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and is a carpetbagger in the Democratic primary for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District?

The rumors are not true, mind you – St. Clair grew up in Piscataquis County without running water or electricity– and the false narrative about him being a pretty boy is not being pushed by Republicans exclusively.

There are not-so-subtle suggestions St. Clair isn’t an authentic Democrat within the Democratic Party primary because his personal story is not sad enough. St. Clair hasn’t suffered enough, apparently, to pass the woe-is-me litmus test of those in the party who resent success generally and St. Clair’s lineage and authentic bonhomie in particular.

Some Democrats think because Donald Trump won in Maine’s 2nd District that voters there must reflect his values and that candidates should bend to meet them on their level regardless how low that may be.

To them St. Clair is one-dimensional – rich – and, therefore, suspect but his perceived pedigree is also used to justify bias using sexist tropes and paradigms.

The trope? St. Clair is not an authentic candidate to represent the largest rural district east of the Mississippi River because his mother is Roxanne Quimby who made a killing selling her Maine-based company, Burt’s Bees, to Clorox for $970 million in 2007 and then had the audacity to create a national monument in the middle of the woods and give it to America.

The paradigm: Every ambitious woman is a bitch. St. Clair, ergo, is a son of one.

We saw it with Quimby’s original partner and company namesake Burt Shavitz, too, who under this paradigm we were supposed to feel sorry for because of his connection to Quimby. Poor Burt of Burt’s Bees who conceded that he lacked ambition, that he had an affair with an employee, and that he happily agreed to get bought out by the company bearing his name on extraordinarily generous terms.

Under the paradigm, though, Quimby is not admired for giving a bumbling recluse a comfortable life but instead blamed for taking advantage of Shavitz, who died a rich man on the back of her ingenuity and hard work.

Now we’re supposed to question St. Clair’s motives and credentials because big bad Quimby had the audacity to raise him to be a good man?

Democrats smearing St. Clair because he was raised by a single mother who achieved the American Dream in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District are skirting misogyny and it’s a dark shade of blue. It’s sexism packaged as “rural” or “progressive” values.

There are extremes on the left who are no better than the extreme right when it comes to blaming women for the decline of rural white guys. They are convinced they deserved the privilege that came with the company towns that used to support the middle class in northern Maine. They resent Quimby for her commercial success and fault her personally for paper mills folding in the 2nd District. They voted for Donald Trump in part because they hated Hillary Clinton and resented her, too.

Democrats running for office should call out sexism, not enable it. Don’t tell me Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Nancy Pelosi should resign because they are too old. Don’t tell me Lucas St. Clair is damaged goods because his mother is too ambitious.

Cynthia Dill is a civil rights lawyer and former state senator. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]


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