Women in Politics

Nov 8, 2017
The 2017 Elections Prove That Women Are Putting Everyone on Notice

November 7, 2017 was a great freaking day to be a Democrat.
We took home governorships in Virginia and New Jersey; at least tied if not flipped the Virginia House of Delegates in the party’s best performance in the state since the literal 1800s; and wona special state Senate election in Washington that gave Democrats control of the state’s entire government and therefore control of all of the state governments on the West Coast. And those are just a few of the highlights.
Already this morning, our feeds are filled with thinkpiece after thinkpiece after thinkpiece after thinkpiece after thinkpiece about how the night was a huge win for Democrats. And it was.
But you know who brought the damn house (and in some cases, the House) down? Women.
Last night, voters in Virginia elected the first two Latina women, the first Asian woman, the first openly lesbian woman, and the first openly trans woman to House of Delegates seats. In Minnesota, Andrea Jenkins became the first openly transgender person of color to win public office, where she’ll be serving the fine people of Minneapolis on the city council. Seattle elected Jenny Durkan, its first openly lesbian mayor and the first woman mayor of the city since the 1920s. Crystal Murillo, a 23-year-old recent grad, proved that young people are in this and took home a city council seat in populous Aurora, Colorado, defeating a 79-year-old incumbent. Democrat Vi Lyles will be the first Black woman mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, a key city in a major battleground state. And Sheila Oliver is now New Jersey’s first-ever Black lieutenant governor.
And that’s just on the candidate side. Analysts are already calling last night’s Virginia races the “revenge of the suburbs” after Democrats achieved a near-sweep of northern Virginia. Almost all of EMILY’s List-endorsed pro-choice women candidates won their House of Delegates races. Planned Parenthood raised over $3 million dollars for its candidates in Virginia and talked to over half a million voters. And this doesn’t even begin to describe the countless hours so many people, particularly women, put in on the ground canvassing, phone banking, donating, and supporting women candidates, many of whom were unknowns and didn’t have the traditional support of a party.


Women voters also turned out. In the Virginia gubernatorial race, White women with college degrees favored Democrat Ralph Northam by 16 points. In a huge shift from the 2016 election, married women came out for Northam by 10 points compared to the one-point lead they gave Trump just a year prior in the state. Over two-thirds of voters under 30 went for Northam, compared to 45% who voted for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in 2013. And Black women continued to make it rain, with 91% of them voting for Northam.
Make no mistake: Women came to play on Election Day 2017 as candidates, organizers, and voters. And it paid off.
Of course, there’s still plenty of work to be done ahead of the midterm election that takes place November 6, 2018. The Democratic Party is still a hot ass mess. Republicans are trying to put tax burdens on middle-income Americans, take away our reproductive rights, continue their attacks on undocumented immigrants, and so much more. In the Virginia and New Jerseygubernatorial races, the overall majority of White women still voted for Republican candidates. Trump is, well, Trump.
So, what can you do to fight back and keep this momentum going, a year out from the crucial 2018 midterms? Here are some options:

1. Get involved with grassroots campaign efforts for races at all levels.

Yes, federal races are shiny and exciting and important. But chances are there are some incredible local and state candidates who need your help. Nothing beats getting into the community and knocking on doors. The earlier these campaigns can mobilize large numbers of volunteers, the better.
Additionally, candidates aren’t the only things on ballots. In Maine on Election Day, for example, residents voted to expand Medicaid in the state. By getting involved early, you can help decide how these measures are written on the ballot and turn out people to the polls.

2. Put your money where your mouth is.

Many first-time candidates face the issue of not having support from their political parties. It’s a catch-22: Parties don’t want to endorse candidates until they’ve shown some fundraising and political prowess, but many candidates can’t reach their fundraising goals or meet key people without the backing of the party. Even if you’re in the bluest of areas, you can help women anywhere in the country.

3. Have the difficult conversations.

Here’s the truth: You’re not going to expand anyone’s worldview or change a person’s long-held opinion overnight. But women, particularly white women, are in a place to talk to one another and to their loved ones about these issues. By starting now and discussing topics like reproductive rights, gun control, and police brutality as well as systemic issues like sexism, racism, and homophobia, we’re more likely to see change by the time Election Day 2018 rolls around in a year. Start small and work up towards the big things.
A year ago today, Hillary Clinton lost the presidency. There are plenty of other people who’ll write that take, so I’m not even going to go there. But I’m here for women like Danica Roem, Kathy Tran, Elizabeth Guzman, Hala Ayala, Andrea Jenkins, Vi Lyles, Sheila Oliver, and all the those who are coming up the ranks now.
I’m with her. But by “her,” I’m now talking about a whole lot of ‘em. And you know what? They’re going to knock everybody’s socks off.  Source

Nov 8, 2017
5 Ways Women Won Big on the First Trump-Era Election Night

One ongoing narrative of 2017 is how the presidential victory of Donald Trump last year has inspired a record number of women to pursue politics. In August, Emily’s List, a group that supports pro-choice Democratic women, said it had received inquires about running for office from 16,000 women—an unprecedented total—since last November. The outpouring of interest has been so overwhelming that the organization has had to expand its Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Election Day on Tuesday marked another chapter in this story, as it presented voters with their first opportunity to consider female candidates in the Trump era. At the same time, the contests gave female voters a fresh chance to exercise their electoral power at the ballot box.

Here are some of the ways in which women won in the first nation-wide elections since 2016: Read more

Nov 7, 2017
If You Want To Celebrate This Anniversary, You Need To Vote Today

Hours before the polls were set to open in New York City, dozens of people gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women obtaining the right to vote in the state of New York.
The Empire State was definitely ahead of the curve and helped to established a precedent for the movement: Three years later, the 19th Amendment was ratified, allowing some women across the country to vote. (Women of color were mostly blocked from voting for decades — until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned racial discrimination, securing voting rights for all minorities.)
Through her work at the New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to celebrate the women in the suffrage movement, and she encourages people to remember how hard they fought.
“The struggles, the trials, the tribulations that women had to endure for decades before earning the right to vote 100 years ago — that to me should be an inspiration for women today,” Hochul told Refinery29 at Monday’s event. “I want people to say, ‘I have a moral responsibility to honor their legacy, their work, their sacrifices. And I’ll do that by making sure I never, ever miss an election.’ That’s my main message.”
To honor that legacy, the commission is organizing several educational events until 2020, including erecting two statues honoring suffragists Rosalie Gardiner Jones and Sojourner Truth. (Jones is also featured on the “I Voted” sticker people will receive at the polls today.)
And as Hochul said, educating New Yorkers about the rich history of the women’s suffrage movement could be a way to inspire them to vote. But that’s no easy feat: Historically, the state has a shockingly low voter turnout. State Sen. Betty Little told Refinery29 she understands that sometimes it’s difficult to take time out of your day to go to the polls, so the commission is trying to create a way for no-excuse absentee and early voting in order to facilitate the process.
“A woman can’t always get to the polls on a Tuesday … We’re half the population, but we’re not the half of the voting population,” Little said. “Our legacy should be to promote women voting.”
No-excuse absentee and early voting would provide more access to the ballot box, Hochul added. “Let’s find ways to deal with the many barriers [women] may face,” she said. Going to the polls on Election Day is crucial, and people should be able to do so without a glitch. And on a day like today, which is an off-year election, folks are choosing everything from mayors to state lawmakers and voting on ballot measures all across the country — and everyone or everything they choose can have a larger, more direct influence on our everyday lives than the decisions slowly made in Congress and the White House.
“Our local elections are as important as the national elections, because they impact our day-to-day lives: From how often your garbage is picked up to who is educating your kids,” State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told Refinery29. “Hopefully after this past November, and the things that have unfolded since then, people are beginning to understand that government really does have an impact in our lives. We can’t just be spectators. If we are able to participate, we have the responsibility to do so.”
After all, the women before us fought most of their lives to make their voices heard at the polls. Now that we have the right to vote, it’s our duty to use it.  Read more

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