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The Year of the Womxn

The Indivisible Team - 10/18/2018


In 1991, the country watched as an all white, male Senate Judiciary Committee stare down Anita Hill, and rebuff her accusations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas.

And the next year, a record number of women—six!—won races for Senate seats in the face of blatant sexism and dismissal by their male opponents. 1992 was even billed by journalists as the “Year of the Woman”

Of the 28,000 activists who contacted Congress in 2017 through a calling service: 86% of them were women.

Because of  the similarities in our political climate, we have seen a resurgence of women all around the country and find ourselves amidst a new “Year of the Womxn” (meaning women from all backgrounds, including women of color, queer, and trans women).

One thing is clear: women are pissed and their outrage translated to activism.

In 2017, as the GOP-controlled Congress sought to repeal Obamacare, women began to lead the call for political change. In a Lake Research Polling, of the 28,000 activists who contacted Congress in 2017 through a calling service: 86% of them were women.

And women aren’t just contacting their elected officials, they’re trying to replace them. More than 2600 women have won their primaries from the top to the bottom of the ticket this year.

Womxn are changing the way you can run for office!

After the 2017 Women’s March, the largest single-day protest in US history, thousands of women went straight from the streets of DC to Emily’s List trainings where they learned the ins and outs of how to run for office.

More than 25,000 women reached out to Emily’s List in 2017 alone for resources on running for office. And organizations like Emerge America and Run for Something are helping candidates of color and millennial candidates run for office up and down the ballot.

Certainly a reaction to Trump spurred much of this interest, but just like 1991 and 1992, we’re in a new political moment.

Even long-term Democratic incumbents have seen their decades-long of neglect and complacency backfiring. Women stepped forward to challenge the old boys’ club in Washington—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Dana Balter (NY-24), Marie Newman (IL-03), Paula Jean Swearengin (WV-Sen), Tahirah Amatul-Wadud (MA-01), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and many more.

As women declared their candidacies and ran for office, it became evident that they would be running campaigns in new and groundbreaking ways, from playbooks of which many in Washington haven’t seen or have been deemed “unwinnable.”

In New York’s 2nd Congressional District—long considered an impossible district for Democrats—Liuba Grechen Shirley decided to run for office when her member of Congress Pete King voted for TrumpCare. And she made history when she successfully petitioned the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to let her use campaign funds for child care.

In her August campaign ad, you couldn’t help but be compelled by her story, and reminded even of the 1992 “mom in tennis shoes” insult then-candidate Patty Murray endured from her defeated opponent.

“I am in debt, but I am not alone."

Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, clapped back at the notion that Americans struggling with debt should be disqualified from seeking higher office. She proclaimed: “I am in debt, but I am not alone.” Abrams is also vying to become the first black governor of Georgia and first black woman governor of any state.

Across the country, our communities have been too long underrepresented and under-resourced. And we’ll continue fighting until there are no more firsts for women. And that means Senate seats for indigenous people, governorships for women of color, more transgender lawmakers,  and more “moms in tennis shoes” walking the halls of Congress.

Their stories resonate

These historic IndivisiCandidates are changing what it means to run for office and truly represent all of the people in our communities:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), a proud Democratic Socialist, defeated a 10-term incumbent in the June primary. And she will become the first Latina to represent the Bronx and Queens in the House.

Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) will (very likely) become Massachusetts’ first black woman member of Congress. She’ll represent one of the most unequal districts in the country, and bring the needs and concerns of her district to Congress come January.

Christine Hallquist (VT-GOV) is the first openly trans woman running for Governor. She’s running on a platform of raising the minimum wage, protecting reproductive choice, and investing in public education for Vermonters.

Deb Haaland (NM-01) is leading the charge in New Mexico and will likely become the first indigenous woman in Congress. Deb will fight to protect underrepresented communities and lend her voice to issues plaguing her community.

Paulette Jordan (ID-GOV) is running to become the first indigenous governor in the United States, and the first woman governor of Idaho. She’s running in a deep red state on unapologetically progressive issues like expanding Medicaid and raising the minimum wage.

Stacey Abrams' (GA-GOV) campaign is grassroots-led and supported. She's vying to become the first black Governor of Georgia, and the first black woman to be elected governor in the United States.

Gone are the days when of all white, male sample ballots. Instead, we’re stepping up and fighting to win real representation. This year, womxn are at the forefront of the big blue wave and some of our country’s biggest, most formidable challenges.

And story after story of this election will be that womxn ran, womxn built the resistance, and womxn were the blue wave.