What the Women Who Ran for Office in 2018 Taught Us | Author Caitlin Moscatello (SEE JANE WIN)


In the wake of the
2018 elections, more women hold office
in the United States than ever before in
American history. Many analysts have called 2018
another year of the woman. But there are
countless vital lessons to be learned from the
diverse group of women who ran for office
in 2018, lessons that will continue to shape
American politics for years to come. When women run, they change
the dynamics of an election, including which issues
get talked about and when. It is no coincidence
that in the first half hour of the first
Democratic primary debates, candidates were discussing
the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion access,
and rights for trans women. Senators Warren,
Harris, and Gillibrand have been putting women’s
rights at the forefront of their campaigns,
and as a result, their male colleagues
have had to address those issues much
more prominently than in previous elections. If there were ever a US
presidential election that a woman could
win, it is this one. We saw record turnout among
Democrats in the 2018 midterms and heightened excitement
around a diverse group of female candidates. While some Democrats are
worried about voters not being ready enough for
a woman president, nothing we saw in 2018
suggests that this is the case. And the dynamics of the
Democratic Party are changing. In 2018 elections, 60%
of women voted Democratic versus 47% of male voters, and
black women proved yet again to be by far the most reliable
progressive voting bloc. If you see it, you can be it. Representation
creates a real change. White men hold a vast
majority of elected seats in this country because
they run for office more than anyone else. It’s not necessarily that
they’re more electable. For example, in state
elections in 2017, we saw a trans
woman, Danica Roem, defeat a man who called himself
Virginia’s chief homophobe. And after that,
Amanda Litman, founder of the progressive
organization Run for Something, told me the group saw
a spike in trans women interested in
running for office. We are already seeing the ripple
effect of both 2016 and 2018. This time around, there
are multiple women gunning for the Democratic
nomination for president, and I predict that more and
more women will run for state and congressional seats– and not only that,
but diverse women. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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