The Point of Electing Women Is to Elect Women
We are more than half of the country and should be more than half of the legislature
It’s a good year to be a woman in a Democratic primary race. According to new research from FiveThirtyEight, Democratic women are winning their primary races twice as often as male candidates. The majority of all female candidates, 65 percent, win their primary races. Being female has helped a candidate more than almost any other factor, including previous experience, military status, or endorsement by name-brand politicians.
I know, I know: identity politics. Get it out of your system now. Any lengthy screeds you have about the merits of voting with one’s uterus and/or vagina can be left in the responses below. (Fun data point: One benefit of the push to nominate more women is that now, not all female politicians have uteruses and/or vaginas.) Regardless, as we head into the midterms, we’re faced with the very real possibility of a blue and female wave. The “female” part of that equation matters, for reasons we shouldn’t (ahem) pussyfoot around.
We tend to hear about female power most often in terms of what it won’t do. Electing women “Won’t Make [Congress] More Bipartisan,” NPR declared this Friday. Electing a woman president “Wouldn’t Erase Centuries of Male-Dominated Politics,” FiveThirtyEight reminded us in July 2016, when Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination. And as we were all reminded approximately five billion times a day throughout that 2016 election, electing women won’t end all sexism everywhere, or get money out of politics, or even guarantee that every individual female politician is someone you agree with or like.
Typically, the person making this last claim has a list of female politicians they don’t like and is happy to detail their sins at length — leaving it up to you, the listener, to make the never-stated but ominous conclusions about what this means for the moral caliber of Womankind. But no one is telling you to dig Margaret Thatcher out of her grave and vote her corpse into your state Senate. For one thing, the corpse of Margaret Thatcher is British. It says something about how dire our feminist discourse is that the very existence of conservative women is so often played as a trump card by the…