Midterms 2018: Women Taking Center Stage

By Kiana Claudio & Allen Hopson

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The midterms are likely going to feature more women lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives. A record number of women could be elected into Congress.

According to POLITICO’s Women Rule Candidate Tracker – a special feature dedicated to providing data and numbers behind the record number of female candidates running for office in the 2018 midterms on both the state and federal levels, 589 women have either announced or are currently in the middle of a run for office as a Representative, Senator or Governor. Currently, about half of them have won their primary elections and are hoping to win in the general election on Nov. 6.

POLITICO’s special report goes on to predict that the 2018 midterms can set a substantial change in the makeup of Congress. In total, the current Congress has 84 women serving in the House of Representatives. That number, according to POLITICO, is poised to triple to 211 by the end of the midterms.

The Center for American Women and Politics says in a poll that primaries have been held in forty-nine states with the exception of Mississippi’s special Senate election and Louisiana who will hold special on election day. For the House, there will be 67 open seats. There are currently 47 women running for open seats. The Center also states that out of 35 Senate races, there are 16 women candidates. More than half the number of open seats are being held by women candidates.

What’s the word in New York? We can start with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, is a Puerto Rican Latina from Queens who won in New York’s Democratic Congressional Primary against 10-term Congressman Joseph Crowley, in N.Y.’s 14th congressional district. Now that there is a local Queens woman heading to Congress, it might embolden and inspire women to stand up and possibly run for office themselves. Ebonie Jackson, Director of The Women’s Center at York College, said it’s a very important round of elections because there are so many women running. “I think it’s great,” adding, “It’s a direct reaction to the sexism and  that the current administration has been openly perpetuating.”

Not everyone is on board. Bonnie Kirschtein, 54, a Westchester resident who works in Long Island City, Queens says, “As an American, it’s my duty to vote always, but I don’t think voting for this midterm election will make any difference especially me being from New York.”

In a recent speech, former President Barack Obama said the November midterm elections will give Americans a chance to restore some sanity in our politics.

York’s Jackson says the best response to today’s issues is for women to vote. She supports the idea that women are coming out to make their voices heard and not trusting that all will be well. Jackson argues that voters should be concerned about the temperance and knowledge of elected officials. She also believes that institutions like the Supreme Court deserve more attention. She says the public should take the process of nominating and confirming Supreme Court justices seriously because of the lifetime appointments and generational impact of their decisions.

Jackson brings up the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He was accused of sexual assault by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when the two were in high school in the 1980s. Jackson compares this case to the hearings and controversy surrounding Clarence Thomas in the 1990s. Referring to Thomas, Jackson says, “ He was eventually appointed to the Supreme Court. That next election, there were a record number of women who ran for Congress and were elected, and that was called the Year of the Women.”

According to the Washington Post, The Clarence Thomas case also dealt with a tightly focused inquiry to sort out claims of sexual assault against a Supreme Court nominee. Jackson says the best thing to do is for women to become more active in the political process and voting. Jackson adds the midterm election could be more important than the national election.

Jackson shares a quote that she found from Facebook saying, “If all of the women who were eligible
to vote, actually voted, we would have the power to affect every election.”

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