PoliticsSex & Gender

women are coming for political offices in numbers

October 11, 2018

Digging for silver linings in the era of Trump can feel like a pointless affair, but women and people of color are showing Americans that change is possible by running for office in record-breaking numbers. According to CNN, 256 women won their House and Senate primaries, a new record emblematic of a crucial shift set in motion by Orange Mussolini.

More women and people of color are running for office than in any other election in US history, according to data compiled by the Reflective Democracy Campaign. According to the last census, the American population is made up of 51% women and 41% people of color, while data from elections that took place between 2012-16 shows that two-thirds of all candidates and elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels were white men.

But the tide is changing: since 2012, female candidates have increased by 44%, and, more significantly, candidates who are women of color have increased by 75%. Go. Off. Ladies.

The oncoming wave of women and people color is met by an inverse trend for white male candidates (down 13% since 2012). “For the first time in six years, white men also constitute less than half of Democratic congressional candidates overall,” reported Fortune. “While that is not the case for those running as Republicans and independents, women made gains there as well: up 22% for the former and 25% for the latter.”

Governor’s races tell a different story: for Democrats, women candidates have increased by 67% while people of color have tripled, but that progress is offset by the 86% of white men running as Republican candidates. The real effect of the growing demographic shift may only become apparent in November.

Trump’s win, #MeToo, #TimesUp, and similar movements have compelled women to show up (for themselves), and to run for office, uninvited by the Democratic or Republican establishment. According to the Los Angelas Times, Emily’s List, a leading nonprofit that has helped recruit progressive Democratic women candidates since 1985, has fielded inquiries from around 40,000 women interested in running for office since Trump became president. Between 2014-2016, the group’s record number had been 920.



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