April 30, 2019
From the nation's leading source on all things women and politics.
Rousing Discussion at the 2019 Senator Wynona Lipman Chair Event 
Donna Brazile,  Minyon Moore, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry and Debbie Walsh
Last night CAWP hosted our Senator Wynona Lipman Chair in Women's Political Leadership event on the Rutgers University-New Brunswick campus, joined by our 2019 co-chairs, Donna Brazile, Minyon Moore, Yolanda Caraway, and Leah Daughtry. The co-chairs discussed their recent book,
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics, in a conversation moderated by CAWP Director Debbie Walsh. They shared how their remarkable friendship was forged as Black women political operatives in a professional space dominated by white men, the importance of their work, and how their book came to be after an earlier attempt at a movie of their lives ended up altogether too Hollywoodized.

They also focused their expertise into an analysis of the 2020 election, the media, and the Democratic Party. On the persistent under-representation of women in politics, Brazile said, "We have to inspire women to run. We have to FILL the political pipeline," and create a deep bench of women with political experience. Daughtry told the audience that "electability is a self-fulfilling prophecy...They're all electable if we vote for them," in a discussion of the 2020 primary and women struggling to gain traction. On persistent engagement, Moore said that, "People think that campaigning and voting is an event. It's not. It's a lifestyle." Brazile, on the relationship between Black women and the Democratic Party, said that "We are giving you everything we have...there should be some type of recognition for that," and that the Party should be championing Black women candidates, while Caraway noted that even after Democratic victories, "we still need to stay on top of it and hold them accountable." Daughtry gave advice to the women running in 2020, as well as any woman seeking office: "Trust your instincts. Don't hand your campaign off to the boys. RUN. YOUR. CAMPAIGN...It cannot be a campaign that doesn't reflect who you are."

The lively conversation, which is peppered with anecdotes and asides, can be viewed on CAWP's Facebook page.
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Gender Watch 2018 Contributor Sayu Bhojwani at Eagleton This Week 
This Thursday, May 2nd, Sayu Bhojwani will appear at the Eagleton Institute of Politics to discuss her recent book, People Like Us: The New Wave of Candidates Knocking at Democracy's Door. Bhojwani is the founder and president of New American Leaders, a nonprofit focused on bringing new Americans into the political process, and was the first New York City commissioner of immigrant affairs. Last year, Bhojwani joined the roster of expert contributors to CAWP's Gender Watch 2018 project, where she provided analysis about immigration and women of color in the 2018 elections. Bhojwani is a visiting scholar at the Eagleton Program on Immigration and Democracy. The event begins at 5pm with a reception, followed shortly by a discussion of the book; books will be available for purchase and signing. Registration is required.
Women Voters Turned Out Big in 2018 
Photo:Sam Morris/Getty Images
Last week, the U.S. Census put out new demographic data about voters in the 2018 midterm elections, and, as has been the case for decades, women voters turned out at significantly higher rates than their male counterparts. In 2018, 55% of eligible women voters cast a vote last year, compared to just 51.8% of men, while the overall voting rate was 53.4%. In addition, there was a significant increase in the voting rate from the last midterm election in 2014, with the total women's voting rate jumping by 12 percentage points; for men, that increase was 11 percentage points. For more information about 2018 voter turnout, see this post from the U.S. Census, as well as the underlying data. For historical comparisons, check out CAWP's fact sheet Gender Differences in Voter Turnout, and find more data and analysis about women voters here.
Welcome, CAWPsters, to a newly-inaugurated corner of our newsletter dedicated to the 2019 and 2020 elections: Election Watch. In the Election Watch section, you can see the latest CAWP data, analysis from CAWP scholars, and a selection of news from the campaign trail. As always, to find the most recent information about elections, as well as historical data for comparison, see our Election Watch page, where you can already find a list of candidates running for office in 2019, as well as rumored candidates in 2020 races. Excited about something more...specific? CAWP is also following the 2020 presidential race and the *six* women seeking the Oval Office next year. You can find out about the candidates and see historical information, data, and analysis about women and the presidency at our Presidential Watch page.
So what are we Election Watching this week? We've been keyed into a conversation that's opened up in the media around the concept of "electability" and what that might mean for the 2020 presidential race. Joe Biden is officially in the campaign and currently topping polls, with Bernie Sanders just behind him, and the horserace narrative of the moment seems to be whether voters see a white male as the most electable candidate to challenge President Trump. On NPR, Danielle Kurtzleben interviewed a number of Democratic voters who believe, at this point, that the best way to contend with the GOP and Trump in 2020 is to seek a white male nominee.
For Vox, Ezra Klein interviews philosopher Kate Manne about how we define something as nebulous as "electability" and how women face differing standards and expectations; she tells him, "My worry is electability is a smokescreen for this sadly common thing, which is not wanting to support a female candidate." The Christian Science Monitor talked to CAWP's Kelly Dittmar to delve a little further into this disparate scrutiny, and Dittmar discussed the media treatment of Senator Amy Klobuchar's behavior towards her staff as a major story for her campaign requiring weeks of reporting, while similar reports about her colleague, Bernie Sanders, remain largely uncovered. Speaking of which, The Boston Globe's Jess Bidgood writes about Sanders escaping the sort of personality-based scrutiny women candidates face under a headline that inverts gendered campaign coverage: "Is Bernie Sanders Likable Enough to Become President?"
McClatchy, meanwhile, reports on the growing frustration among Democratic insiders about women candidates failing to gain purchase in the 2020 horserace and the double-standards they face on the trail, with multiple male candidates with slight experience and few proposals gaining a great deal more attention than accomplished women with ambitious policy ideas. The New York Times, on the other hand, takes a look at the results of election 2018, driven in large part by energy around the candidacies of women and people of color, and the 2020 presidential field, the most diverse in history, and considers whether a white man should be the face of the party at this moment.
After the 2016 election, when the "electable" candidate was a woman and electability was derided as less important than vision, and now with a 2020 field in which electability is paramount and the candidates deemed electable all happen to be men, it's tempting to view the whole discussion as a descent into an absurd Lynchian fever dream, but Cate Gormley of Lake Research Partners reminds us on Twitter that electability, and the biases and assumptions that undergird it, is a serious obstacle to full political equality. It's going to take a lot of will, organizing, and work to push past the circular logic that a woman can't be elected because a woman has never been elected.

Oh Joe
Joe Biden is officially running for president, and reactions were mixed. The Washington Post's Amber Phillips notes the controversy about his over-intimate personal style and his poor handling of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings, and wonders whether Biden has a serious problem with women voters, who vote at higher rates than men and are more likely to support Democrats. Also in the Post, polling data seems to back up Phillips's analysis, with men supporting Biden at much higher rates than women. In the immediate prelude to his candidacy announcement, Biden called Anita Hill to, ostensibly, apologize for the way she was treated back in 1992. Hill found this apology unconvincing, telling The New York Times, "I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, 'I'm sorry for what happened to you.' I will be satisfied when I know that there is real change and real accountability and real purpose."

She the People 
Last week in Houston, She the People, an organization promoting women of color in politics, hosted a candidate forum for the contenders in the Democratic primary. The candidates who attended were first asked as series of questions from moderators Aimee Allison and Joy-Ann Reid, before facing questions from the women in the audience. Senator Elizabeth Warren made news at the forum by announcing her plan to combat the United States' dismal maternal mortality rate, a problem that disproportionately affects women of color [ CNN]. Senator Bernie Sanders seemed to struggle in front of the audience of women of color, as his failure to speak to their concerns with specificity lead to audible groans from the audience [ The Root]. Read more about the forum, and how the candidates fared, at The New York Times, or watch video of the full event here.

A new group seeking to harness the power of women activists and voters launched yesterday: Supermajority. Spearheaded by former Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards, Black Lives Matter co-founder Aliza Garza, and Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Supermajority is cross-generational and multiracial, and its goal is to mobilize two million women over the next year as activists and community leaders. Read more about their launch at the AP, and watch their announcement video on YouTube.
In Other News 

The New York Times analyzes polling and donor data for an infographic about which candidates will qualify for the upcoming Democratic presidential primary debates, and shows that, if the qualification were decided today, five of six women candidates would make the debate stage. Warren, Harris, and Klobuchar would qualify on both metrics the party is using to determine participants, while Gillibrand qualifies via polling and Gabbard via number of individual donors. M.J. Hegar has joined the growing list of candidates that fell short of victory in 2018 already setting themselves up for 2020 runs, as she announced a challenge to Senator John Cornyn. CAWP Director Debbie Walsh talked to The Star-Ledger about a 1940s-era New Jersey statute that requires party committees in each election district be comprised of one man and one woman. Progressive for its time, the rule is now seen as restrictive for women in circumstances where they might capture both spots and also as exclusionary towards transgender and nonbinary candidates. Walsh told the paper that simply nullifying the law, rather than altering it for modern times, might be the wrong approach to take with a rule that has expanded women's political participation in the state. Jean Sinzdak, CAWP's associate director, spoke to The Toledo Blade about a state legislator telling her personal story of rape and abortion during a debate about Ohio's new fetal heartbeat bill, telling the
Blade, "There's been a reckoning in state capitals with all kinds of issues related to women's personal safety and women sharing their stories, and that's a pretty new phenomenon."
CAWP Calendar

Center for American Women and Politics
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