The Year of the Woman
In all the chaos since the election, many people didn’t realize how many gains women made. Female voters this year made the difference in choosing the president. For the past three decades politicians and pundits talked about the “Year of the Woman” although it never came. This year amidst the Coronavirus and Trump not conceding the Presidency, women turned out in large numbers. Some women still say women’s rights have not gone far enough, but the numbers prove otherwise.
As Gerald F. Seib writes in the WSJ, “if you look at the Republican congressional pickup, it’s that for the Republican Party as well.” In the US women make up 53% of the electorate. According to the Associated Press VoteCast survery of over 110,000 women, they went 55% to 44% favoring Biden. Among men, Trump won 52% of the voters with 46% voting Biden. In sum, that margin of female voters is what enabled Biden to win. Kamala Harris is the first female vice-president as Hillary Clinton in 2016 was the first female presidential nominee.
A record-shattering number of Republican women were elected to the House. At least 17 new Republican House members are women, with two races involving GOP women still undecided. That means Republicans nearly doubled their previous record of nine new Republican women elected in 2010. The number of GOP women in the House will more than double. In 2016 Kellyanne Conway was the first winning female campaign manager. This year on the Biden team, another female campaign manages, Jen O’Malley Dillon won.
Women in certain swing states made huge impacts on the election outcome. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was a critical ally of Biden and helped him win Michigan. Cindy McCain, the late wife of John McCain endorsed Biden after the long-running personal feud between Trump and John McCain. Arizona went Democrat for the first time since 1996. It will be interesting to see what a Biden cabinet would look like. With Mitch McConnell in charge of the Senate, Biden will likely have to pick a couple Republicans because otherwise he will never get cabinet officials to approve people like Elizabeth Warren.
Biden’s wife Jill similarly saved the day for him. With Biden facing mental decline and bits of hysteria all summer long, Jill Biden went on near ten times the amount of talk shows as her husband and convinced people that Biden had a good support system for him should he develop dementia or Alzheimer’s. It was almost like Jill Biden ran for president, given her widespread popularity. Jill Biden also advises her husband on education policy. As of now, Nancy Pelosi has no serious challenger for the Speaker’s role but that could change. The rising star of Congress is Rep. Liz Cheney who is the third-ranking House Republican. Some say that women will be calmer and more reasonable in government after watching aggressive chaos from Trump vs. Biden. The amazing part is that the most liberal and most conservative politicians both consist of large numbers of women. We are at a point now where the number of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice women in Congress are nearly the same.