Sometime in the not so distant future these same constituencies are going to turn the deep red states purple. And so while state politics may not have been as immediately affected, change is coming.
The need to shift the narrative or change the rhetoric of a largely anti-choice (and, therefore, anti-women for some), anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-Native group will be slow and, perhaps, painful. However there is an immediate opportunity for a soft landing for the beginning of this change.
The Violence Against Women Act, the nation's response to domestic and sexual violence, has been passed by both the Senate and the House. The two bills are very different in many ways (not the least is that the Senate bill, which protects more victims of violence, is bipartisan; the House bill is not), but 80% of the bills is similar. The issues of difference, if you haven't guessed, is around provisions that would protect immigrant, LGBT and Native victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Arguably, no one is for domestic and sexual violence. And historically, because of our collective belief that this violence is wrong and must be prevented, VAWA has enjoyed bipartisan support. So here is the opportunity: during the lame duck session, where there is plenty of time to get work done while waiting to see what happens as we teeter on the fiscal cliff, pass an inclusive VAWA.
Take the lessons learned from this election: it is critical to include women, immigrants, people of color, LGBT people, Native people and young people in the political process. From now on, politicians will ignore these communities at their peril. The conservatives can begin to change their rhetoric by including immigrant, LGBT and Native people in VAWA. It will go a long way to not just protecting all victims of this insidious violence but also to begin to bridge the rhetoric gap.
Stapel is executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.