The most widely cited statistic in this year’s voting rights debate is that 361 bills to restrict access to the polls have been proposed in 47 states. But the same progressive think tank that made that calculation has also tallied 843 bills that set out to expand voting access.
The For the People Act, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, will be the most expansive voting and civil rights legislation in a generation and is already the most consequential anti-corruption bill brought to the floor of the U.S. House.
Women were no doubt key to the victory of President Joe Biden and the election of first woman vice president, but the story of the gender gap in 2020, and in every context in American politics, is complicated.
The defeat of Donald J. Trump feels like emerging from a misogyny-trauma-hangover. The fact that he was ever elected and, as of this writing, has received over nine million more votes than his first run, is a massive global metaphor for rape culture.
For survivors of abuse and those who care for them, it was traumatic to watch his first ascendance to power, horrific to live through, and dehumanizing to have the prospect of a second term dangled in front of us. From the perspective of a women’s studies professor and life-long-feminist, one who is closer to sexual assault than anyone likes to be, the whole process felt traumatic.
The 2020 elections were a historic moment for women in politics—from Kamala Harris’s history-making win, gains for women’s representation, gender gaps delivering a win for the Biden-Harris ticket, and more.
“We can no longer define political citizenship simply by the ability of a person to exercise the right to vote and run for office. We must expand our definition of who may take part in this country’s democracy, and in doing so bring a new cohort of long overlooked constituents into the fold of our political processes,” writes Swathi Kella, Harvard ’23.
Trump’s latest rhetoric reflects the ultimate gender stereotype: A woman’s place is in the home.
Rhetoric characterizing women primarily as wives and mothers harkens back to the earliest days of this republic. Now as then, such rhetoric fundamentally misrepresents the interests and identities of most women.
The Latina electorate has the potential to flip swing states and congressional districts. This may be the year it does.
“I truly do believe that Latinas can be the deciders this election,” says Stephanie Valencia, president and co-founder of Equis, a Latinx research firm.
With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Thursday’s debate was a more muted, substantive exchange, with a focus on many of the issues disproportionately impacting the majority of the electorate: women.
“LGBTQ women are volunteers, donors, activists, and voters. We’re the engine of the progressive movement.”
So why are they still so underrepresented in government?