By Brent Budowsky - 07/24/13 10:49 PM EDT
Michelle Nunn has electrified Georgia Democrats by announcing she will run for the U.S. Senate in 2014.
Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) has electrified Texas Democrats with her standup leadership in the Texas Senate.
The most nationally popular figure in Washington is first lady Michelle Obama. On a bipartisan level, the growing collaboration between female senators — from both parties — offers a model for governance. In campaign fundraising there is a surge of interest in national groups such as EMILY’s List and statewide groups such as Annie’s List in Texas, which support progressive candidates for office.
On the global stage, there is celebration for the recovery of the young Pakistani woman Malala, who was viciously attacked by the Taliban, and admiration for the indispensable role played by women and young people in movements from Tahrir Square to Rio de Janeiro.
On this page three years ago I wrote a column titled “The Female Century” predicting that the 21st century will be a turnkey century in America and world history for the advancement of women to roles of full equality of leadership, opportunity and power. It now appears that the current decade, from 2010-2020, will be the turnkey decade within the turnkey century.
This century and very possibly this decade will witness the first female president while the number of women in Congress is soaring and the epic battle for pay equity will continue to escalate until equal pay is achieved.
The Senate candidacy of Michelle Nunn in Georgia is one of the most important political developments of campaign 2014. Nunn is the highly respected chief executive of Points of Light, which is descended from the initiative of former President George H.W. Bush, and the daughter of the universally admired former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.).
The GOP spinners have begun. First they talk down Sam Nunn, not a shrewd move in Georgia. Then they demean Michelle Nunn as “not ready for prime time.” Presumably GOP operatives believe Georgians want more old-style politicians in Washington, a bad bet on an unpopular breed. Nunn will attract substantial popular and fundraising support, as would Davis if she runs for governor or U.S. senator in 2014.
Davis is in Washington this week for fundraisers, with support from leading lights among Democratic senators including Patty Murray (Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.). Murray is a Democratic hero for her brilliant stewardship of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in 2012.
Gillibrand is a fundraising powerhouse who aggressively supports progressive candidates. Klobuchar is a rising star in the Senate. The Female Century has already arrived in New Hampshire, which has elected Shaheen and a slew of outstanding women to statewide office.
These women are all future presidential prospects. The Female Decade advances with standup support for Nunn and Davis by power players such as Murray, Gillibrand, Klobuchar and Shaheen and alliances with other progressive groups.
In Texas, Davis inspires shared enthusiasm from EMILY’s List, Annie’s List, Battleground Texas and the Lone Star Project in a pattern that benefits Nunn in Georgia and other candidates who take positions friendly to women and oppose positions hostile to women — such as opposing pay equity and closing healthcare clinics — taken by rightist Republicans.
Enthusiasm generates enthusiasm with a multiplier effect that generates more support, which generates more success. Women who support EMILY’s List are inspired to support Annie’s List. The list of board members of EMILY’s List and Annie’s List and similar groups includes high-octane, high-powered women whose mission is to share their success.
A Hillary Clinton candidacy offers the prospect of an FDR-magnitude realignment in 2016. The Female Decade within The Female Century offers the prospect of new heights of equality and opportunity — for women and men — in districts, states and nations everywhere.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.