More women running in US midterm elections amid #MeToo movement

World Today

Supporters rally for Democratic 48th congressional district candidate Harley Rouda at Main Street Park on the morning of the midterm elections, in Laguna Beach, California, U.S. November 6, 2018. (REUTERS/Monica Almeida)

Some have called 2018 the ‘Year of the Woman.’ Female voters are considered key, and many are energized by the #MeToo movement. A record number of women are running for office.

How will these women do at the polls? CGTN’s Karina Huber reportS.

The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2016, hundreds of thousands of American women protested in the nation’s capital. A year -and-a-half later, a record number of American women (almost 600 of them) are running for seats in the U.S. Congress or for governor.

A record number of those women, most being Democrats, have won their primaries and advanced to the midterm elections on Nov 6.

American women haven’t traditionally voted for a candidate just because she’s female, but that could be changing. In several jurisdictions, women were victorious despite being relative unknowns.

Twenty-eight-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York scored the biggest upset. She beat her male counterpart who had served for ten terms.

Debbie Walsh is the Director of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University. She said the strong turnout in support of women (particularly Democratic women) is in direct response to the election of President Donald Trump.

“There has been an activation – particularly among Democrats on the left saying – what happened?” Walsh said. “We’re worried about a whole set of policy issues related to the election of Donald Trump. We can’t afford to not be involved and engaged.”

Despite the political activism among female Democrats, Walsh said women still make up less than a quarter of the candidates running for office this cycle. She doesn’t expect a tsunami of women in Congress this year.

When it comes to elections, most Americans are loyal to their party first. Republican women are not likely to vote for female Democrats. Experts said if there is to be a ‘blue wave’ dominated by women in Congress this year, more Democrats will have to come out and vote.

Robert Lehrman discusses the US midterm elections

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke to Robert Lehrman about U.S. midterm elections and voter turnout. Lehrman was the White House chief speechwriter for former Vice President Al Gore.