The 2018 primary season has begun in the U.S. with a record number of women running for office, particularly Democratic women. More women are running for the U.S. House of Representatives than at any point in U.S. history. An unprecedented number of women of color are setting their sights on national and state office. Eyes are on African American women in particular. Given the underrepresentation of people of color and women in elected office, the presence of African American women in state and national races could have a particularly transformative impact.
According to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), women hold a paltry 20% of seats in Congress and 25% of seats in state legislatures. Based on 2018 data of women’s representation in parliaments worldwide, the Inter-Parliamentary Union placed the U.S. in the 100th position, far behind countries like Mexico (43% women), Spain (39%), France (39%), and Germany (31%). Moreover, CAWP data show that only 12% of governors in the U.S. are women (and no Black woman has ever been elected governor), and the U.S. has yet to elect a woman president. Of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, there are just 38 women of color.
Explaining Trump’s 2016 Win
In order to appreciate the significance of this primary season, we have to go back to November 2016 when the U.S. elected Republican Donald Trump as President. By most accounts, Trump’s upset victory shocked the country and the world….