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What does the Republican win mean for women?

Personally, I’m taking the road less traveled by society and following the advice of Jon Stewart – everybody’s going to be fine America.  I’m an activist not a fatalist.

Before we begin, if you weren’t paying attention to women running in the election, then here’s a recap from Rutgers on who ran.

With that said, this election was both good and bad for women.  Here’s the gist from news sources and organizations:


“Despite GOP Wins, Hill May See Fewer Women” by Carrie Kahn, NPR:

It started as a banner year for female candidates. More of them ran in party primaries than ever before, especially Republican women, who set a new record.

Many of the winners had the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who coined a new nickname for the like-minded conservative moms: Mama Grizzlies.

Republican losses paled compared with those suffered by Democrats. Swept up in the conservative wave, Democratic women took big hits. Nine of them were booted in the House and one in the Senate.

Since most women in Congress are Democrats, the party’s problem this week became theirs. That means there will likely be fewer women in Congress for the first time since the 1970s, said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.


Planned Parenthood was sure to chalk this election up as a loss:

Despite some bright spots in the election — races in which pro-choice candidates ran and won on our issues and the resounding defeat of an anti-choice ballot initiative in Colorado — it’s clear that the House of Representatives is in the hands of dangerous politicians who oppose women’s health and a woman’s right to choose.

The majority of Americans agree with Planned Parenthood on the issue of choice. While this election was a referendum on the economy and government, the results are truly alarming when it comes to a woman’s right to choose.


“2010 Faltered as a New ‘Year of the Woman’ in Politics by Ashlee Parker, The New York Times

This year’s results for women should be considered in the context of a tough year for Democratic incumbents, many of whom were women, cautioned Jennifer Lawless, the director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University.

“The overall downside of this is people are going to look at a lot of these results and think, ‘Oh, my gosh, women can’t win or women can’t get elected,’ ” Dr. Lawless said.

The idea that 2010 would be the second coming for the Year of the Woman may have been overstated from the beginning. A handful of high-profile candidates, all Republicans — Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in California, and Linda McMahon in Connecticut — generated an inordinate amount of news media attention. Upsets in primaries drew national interest to Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Sharron Angle in Nevada.

“Several of these women,” Dr. Lawless said, “had interesting personal stories or personalities that garnered so much national attention, which obscured the fact that they represented actually a very small portion of the actual candidates.”


“Republican Shift Only Part of the Story of Women Voters” by Bryce Covert, The Huffington Post:

While Democrats took a beating on Tuesday, women were the deciding factor in many victories. A quick list of some of the Democratic winners who benefited:

  • More than half of women voted for comeback kid Harry Reid, Senator from Nevada.
  • Richard Blumenthal, running for Senate in Connecticut, had double-digit leads with women over his female opponent.
  • Michael Bennet, Colorado Senator, led with women over his Republican opponent.
  • Joe Manchin’s winning coalition included women’s support.
  • Ron Wyden and John Kitzhaber in Oregon both drew winning support from women.
  • Women favored New Hampshire’s new governor John Lynch, while men split the vote between him and his opponent.
  • Washington’s Senator Patty Murray drew her support from women.
  • Two-thirds of women backed New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo.
  • Deval Patrick owes his gubernatorial win in Massachusetts to women.
  • And in the West in general, women were a huge factor.

Speculation that women will vote for a woman no matter how conservative her policy positions has also dissipated. Many “mama grizzlies” met with defeat, particularly in the Senate. Sayonara to Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Linda McMahon, and Carly Fiorina, along with gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. And their defeat was at the hands of women voting for the opponent.


“A Mixed Election for Women” by Kathryn Lopez, Townhall.com

You win some, you lose some; We’ve seen that idea playing out in these midterm elections. And with the loss of the first woman speaker, we gain a presumptive speaker in Rep. John Boehner, who is willing to defend the most defenseless among us — the unborn. Bring him on.

And yet, in the wake of the election — which, frankly, had funereal aspects for all of us — it wasn’t a total win for either party — there were headlines like: “Americans slam women in midterm election.”

That one’s from an article in an online magazine for women executives. Reacting to the Democrats’ relegation to minority status in the House, the article struggled with the loss of Speaker Pelosi: “how will women survive in this man’s world come 2012?”

Quite fine, thank you. This last election cycle has engaged many Americans, including women, in citizen-activist roles — working for women and men in Congress who understand that Washington has been guilty of some comprehensive fiscal, moral and Constitutional malpractice of late.

We’ve got hope for change that will put us all in a much better position — perhaps, before long, with some change to spare, for once. We want good policy from Washington, and we know that men are quite capable of it, too.

Sarah Palin is definitely happy about the win.  I’d like to kill the editor who included the final clip.

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