Five years ago, Barack Obama won the Presidency in a landslide – thanks to record turnout of minorities, young people and women. These are groups that tend to vote Democratic, and Democrats won large majorities in both the Senate and the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the most productive term in recent memory.
Two years later it was over. The Republicans took back the House in 2010 and were eyeing the Senate, too. How could that happen?
It happened because in 2010, Democratic voters stayed away from the polls in droves. Fewer than 40% of the electorate cast ballots that year, and the people who did were overwhelmingly older, white and Republican. And the problem extended beyond Washington to the States, where newly empowered GOP Governors and legislators wasted little time in enacting laws that aimed at turning back the clock: Their agenda included busting unions and terminating women’s reproductive rights, and they schemed to hold on to power in perpetuity by gerrymandering themselves into safe districts.
It’s important to vote for President, and we applaud our readers who were engaged in last year’s re-election of Obama. But the lesson we learned in 2010 is that EVERY election counts, and so does every office, no matter how far it is down the ticket.
So here we are, in 2013. There’s a Governor’s race in New Jersey, where State Senator Barbara Buono has the courage to go up against anti-choice Chris Christie. The polls do not look good for Buono – but does that mean that your vote for her doesn’t count? NO. Plus, you have an opportunity to elect four women to the State Assembly who will help make sure that the Governor can’t run roughshod over our rights.
Polls tell us that Virginians don’t like either candidate for Governor in their fair Commonwealth, which has been ground zero in the War Against Women, thanks to Governor Bob “Ultrasound” McDonnell and his merry band of conservative legislators. A number of pro-choice women are running for delegate seats; we urge you to get out and vote for them if you live in their districts.
And so it goes. A smattering of states and localities are holding off-year elections on Tuesday, and dozens of progressive, pro-choice women are in the running, as you can see at Run, Mama Run, our interactive map that shows you where these women are. They are:
Kate Gallego, Phoenix
Raquel Casteneda-Lopez, City Council, Detroit
Annise Parker, Mayor, Houston