Women’s March aims for political wins
A year after the Women’s March cast a cloud over President Trump’s inaugural weekend, more than a million demonstrators gathered again in dozens of U.S. cities last week to protest the president—hoping to translate that activism into a “pink wave” of electoral wins in this year’s midterms. Some 600,000 people marched in Los Angeles and 300,000 in Chicago, many of them wearing pink “p---y hats” with cat ears and waving signs reading “Impeach Trump” and “Grab ’em by the Midterms.” Protesters showed support for the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment by chanting “Time’s Up,” and in Los Angeles actresses Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Viola Davis shared stories of harassment and abuse with the crowd. Volunteers registered people to vote at street-side stalls; in Las Vegas, organizers said they signed up 10,000 voters.
The new wave of activism triggered by Trump has led to a surge in female candidates for office. At least 79 women are exploring runs for governor in 2018—potentially doubling the record for female candidates, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. The number of women Democratic candidates likely to challenge incumbent House lawmakers has quadrupled from 52 in 2016 to at least 208 this year.
What the columnists said
The female backlash against our “self-described p---y grabber” president is now a genuine political movement, said Charlotte Alter in Time.com. It’s not just the record number of female candidates; there’s also been a surge of donations from women to political campaigns—a boon to liberal candidates. “The gender gap is a chasm,” said Paul Waldman in WashingtonPost.com. Women now favor Democrats for Congress by 26 points; among men, the GOP has a 4-point lead. If women stay energized through November, they will “determine the fate of the Trump presidency.”
This march is just “group therapy for Trump haters,” said Jen Kerns in FoxNews.com. The protesters still can’t believe “a white, male Republican somehow bested their longtime feminist-in-chief Hillary Clinton.” But their annual outlet for “election depression” will become just another “fad” unless demonstrators adopt a cohesive agenda and some respected leaders. “The Tea Party movement spawned stars such as Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa”; the Women’s March has a handful of self-important Hollywood starlets.
But women are already using their power to force change, said Barbara Lee in The Boston Globe. Female voters drove “historic” off-year election wins for Democrats in Alabama and Virginia, and forced out some of the most powerful harassers in Hollywood—making for an “earth-shattering” first year under Trump. As Hillary once said, “Sometimes it takes adversaries and opposition to bring out the best in us.”