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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation November 9, 2018


(Glamour Magazine article on historic 'firsts' for women's representation)

My dear women's representationists,
This week's missive will be short and sweet as I know we are all inundated with information and news!
There were indeed a lot of new faces and MANY 'firsts' elected to Congress and state houses this week with votes in some states still being tallied - that's the great news, but republican women's representation fell in Congress and that will remain a challenge for the short term at least. The National Conference of State Legislatures and the Center for American Women and Politics have of course done a great job tracking the results and here is where things stand at the moment:
  • 9 women will serve as governors 6D, 3R
  • 22 women serve in the U.S. Senate 16D, 6R
  • 101 women will serve in the U.S. House of Representatives 88D, 13R
  • US now ranks 75th among nations - tied with Bulgaria - in 1998 US ranked 60th

She Should Run has a lot of great information here, while the LA Times and The New York Times did an especially good job packaging the data from CAWP and other sources.

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation posted about new research for next steps for candidates after an electoral loss - here is a link to their website and some highlights below:

As you all know, while 2018 has been a historic year for women running for office, last night didn’t bring good news for every woman candidate. BUT it’s not all bad news! Today the Barbara Lee Family Foundation has released our newest research memo, Relaunch: Resilience and Rebuilding for Women Candidates After an Electoral Loss. You won’t be surprised to hear that our research confirms that losing a campaign is not, and should not be, the end of a woman’s political career.

Our key findings include:

  • The majority of voters still rate women candidates who lose favorably and believe they are qualified to run for office again.
  • Voters reject the argument that many women losing elections is ominous for the future chances of women candidates. 75% of Democrats, 78% of Independents, and 75% of Republicans have no doubts about voting for women candidates down the line.
  • Post-election messaging is the first step towards a successful next run. The best testing post-election statements for women candidates focus on: listening to voters, continuing to fight for their ideals, and getting things done for the community.
  • For voters, the next step for a woman candidate who loses her election is critical. Voters respond especially well when a losing woman candidate: continues to serve as an elected official in her current office; goes on a listening tour to learn about the concerns of her community; and takes a role in her political party.

VoteRunLead is hosting the Women & Power 2018: National Town Hall on Monday November 12th that you can still buy tickets for or plan to watch via live stream! The RepresentWomen team will be there - hope to see some of you there as well!

That's all for now,


P.S. If you are out walking or gardening or helping to recount votes this weekend here is a great segment from Freakonomics on how to fix what ails democracy with a great plug for Ranked Choice Voting - used in Maine, Oakland and elsewhere on Tuesday - from Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter:

The second part of the Gehl-Porter election-reform trifecta: ranked-choice voting.

GEHL: Here’s how ranked-choice voting works. You’ll now have four candidates that made it out of the top four primary. Those four candidates will all be listed on the general election ballot, and you come and vote for them in order of preference. So it’s easy. “This is my first choice.” “This candidate is my second choice.” “This is my third choice.” “This is my fourth choice.” When the votes are tabulated if no candidate has received over 50 percent, then whoever came in last is dropped, and votes for that candidate are then reallocated to those voters’ second choice, and the count is run again until one candidate reaches over 50 percent.

PORTER: And what that does is it gives a a candidate a need to appeal to a broader group of voters.

GEHL: And very importantly, it eliminates one of the hugest barriers to competition in the existing system — and that is the spoiler argument. So what happens currently is that if there’s, let’s say, an attractive third-party candidate, or an independent candidate, both Democrats and Republicans will make the argument that nobody should vote for them because they will simply draw votes away from a Democrat, or draw votes away from a Republican, and therefore spoil the election for one of the duopoly candidates. Once you have ranked-choice voting, everybody can pick whoever they want as their first choice, second choice, third choice. No vote is wasted and no vote spoils the election for another candidate.


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