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Women’s First of Many Setbacks

Women’s First of Many Setbacks

A mom’s midterm election view from the kitchen table: Democrats are poised to fail and here’s why


Jul 17, 2017 at 4:00 PM

By Mollie Hemingway and Karen Hess-Cory

In just a few short years, women have been granted the right to vote — for the first time in U.S. history. And, as with any new social revolution, we’ve experienced a few bumps along the way. Many people view women’s voting rights as their birthright, but many women feel that they can be a voice for more than just being on the dance floor or a child’s birthday party playdate. We’ve experienced what we call a “women’s first of many setbacks.” In fact, we live in a country where women are a minority group, and because every minority group is at a disadvantage, women have experienced a history of being marginalized.

When we started this blog (Karen Hess-Cory and Mollie Hemingway, now editors of the New York Times’ Mother Jones), we wondered whether the election of President Trump made the political landscape much more partisan. But we were wrong. The GOP, once considered to be the party of women, has become exactly the opposite.

In the first two years of the Trump administration — the first two years of his presidency — women represented 23% of the U.S. population compared to 26% of the population as a whole. Women accounted for 14% of registered voters, compared to 26% overall. There were 11 women on the Supreme Court (compared to 18 men) and eight women in the House of Representatives (compared to 15 men). Women were only 7% of the Cabinet and 14% of Congress.

Meanwhile, women in the U.S. population were more politically engaged than ever before. In 2015, women were more likely to use email, text, tweet and the Internet to communicate with their elected officials.

In 2016, women voters made up 17% of the electorate, an increase of 15 percentage point from the previous presidential election. That represents a whopping 50 percentage point increase in women’s political engagement.

As we’ve mentioned before, our election analysis is

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