The misogyny and sexism on display since Trump took office have outraged progressive men and women everywhere. Now women who have had enough are exploding onto the political scene, running for public office in record numbers across America. One primary motive is health care, but the other is outrage with Trump himself. Now the phenomenal wins by women in recent Virginia elections are feeding fuel to the fire. The stories of sexual misconduct by men in positions of power following the Harvey Weinstein allegations are also only adding to the momentum for women of all political backgrounds.
Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List, the largest national organization devoted to electing female candidates, shared her amazement with an overwhelming number of women approaching her organization about running for office:
We have never, ever, ever, EVER seen anything like what we've seen in the past 12 months. Keep an eye on these women! https://t.co/F2GSzQgCre
— Stephanie Schriock (@Schriock1) December 4, 2017
“We have never seen anything like what we have seen over the last 12 months,” Ms. Schriock said. “If you could underline that four times, that’s what I mean,” said Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List.
She’s seen a super-explosion in the number of women contacting Emily’s List about how they can get involved or run for public office. That number went from around 1,000 before Trump won election to over 22,000 today.
The news that 2017 has been a headline-making year for women winning office, even against Republican incumbents, is encouraging in a year of so much horrible news. Women representatives will no doubt help to shape a more progressive, egalitarian, and primarily Democratic government at the local, state, and federal level.
Incumbents overwhelmingly tend to win re-election, but one-third of the women who gambled and ran against Republican incumbents in Virginia “triumphed against formidable odds,” according to The Center for American Women and Politics.
“Twelve new women (11 Democrats and one Republican) will join the Virginia House in January, among the largest single-year increases we’ve recorded for any state and certainly a record for the Old Dominion. Around the nation, women candidates dismissed as unlikely to succeed, usually because they were challengers from the wrong party for the seat, scored landmark victories,” wrote Debbie Walsh from CAWP.
The prospects for women to win races in the US Senate and House look great, with twice as many women counted this year compared to last year – a total of 392. There are also double the number of women running for Governor compared to a comparable cycle in 2013 –a total of 68.
Former President Obama actively encouraged more women to run for office while on a visit to Paris over the weekend. He announced it was time to elect more women “because men seem to be having some problems these days,” AFP reported, probably alluding to the reports of sexual misconduct and news from the White House.
“Not to generalize but women seem to have a better capacity than men do, partly because of their socialization,” Obama said.
Obama was scathingly critical of Trump on climate change, saying there is a “temporary absence of American leadership” on climate change.
In the void of sound American leadership, it’s up to women like those who organized or attended the historic Women’s March on Washington to show America what fair and decent leadership looks like.
For now, leadership that represents only corporations and a wealthy few appears to be the goal, even for some Republican women in the Senate today.
Hear Obama’s remarks in the video below:
During a speech in Paris, President Obama seemed to take a swipe at President Trump for withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. pic.twitter.com/q1FVRUwfn3
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 4, 2017
Featured image: Trump-WomensMarch 2017 via Wikimedia Commons