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The presence of a rampaging misogynist in the White House has inspired thousands of women to run in local races.
When Donald Trump — a man who insults women, boasts about sexual assault, and makes disturbing comments about his own daughter — defeated the first woman candidate for president despite her winning nearly three million more votes, it was a dispiriting moment for women everywhere.
But it was also energizing. The experience of seeing Trump in office, far from scaring women away from politics, is causing more of them than ever to get involved.
Women have been reshaping politics at the national level in various ways, including making 86 percent of the angry calls to members of Congress which have helped to stall much of Trump’s agenda.
But at the local level, the flood of women activists is even starker. So far, all of the state legislative seats Democrats have flipped from red to blue in 2017 were won by women.
“This moment is unprecedented,” says Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, which works to recruit and elect pro-choice Democratic women. “We’ve never seen anything like it.” She says since Election Day, her organization has heard from over 13,000 women from all 50 states interested in running for office.
To compare: In 2015 and 2016 combined, about 920 women contacted the group. “And that was a good year!” she notes.
Helen Brosnan, co-founder and national organizer for Rise to Run, an organization that recruits young women for public office straight out of high school and college, spoke of the importance of women in politics:
Now, more than ever, we need to be filling the political pipeline with young women of all identities and backgrounds. The earlier we start, the more we can normalize the political process for women, break down structural barriers, and significantly lower the age women enter politics. Our leaders should understand and represent the unique and intersecting challenges of today’s world, and we cannot think of anyone better to do that than young, bold women.
Trump and his supporters thought they could silence women and their concerns. But every day under his administration, the activism from coast to coast proves them wrong.
Women are more engaged than ever, and showing our whole country how to make a real difference, one person at a time.
Copyright 2017 Matthew Chapman. First published in Shareblue.