This Seat’s Taken: Why Women Running as Incumbents Face Unique Challenges

When it comes to politics, deep blue New York and solid red Arkansas have one thing in common: They’re among the 20 states that have still never had a woman governor.

Last week, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation released Staying Power, new research that examines the challenges and advantages women face when they run as incumbents. Overall, they found that women face similar challenges as incumbents running for re-election as they do as first-time candidates for office.

80 Million No’s Mean No

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.