Budowsky: Equality for women on the 2020 ballot

Budowsky: Equality for women on the 2020 ballot
© Greg Nash

This will be the year when equality for women takes exponential leaps forward in American life or suffers a devastating setback with the reelection of a president who a significant majority of female voters abhor with good reason.

For this reason, the 2020 presidential election will bring the mother of all gender gaps in favor of all Democrats up and down the ballot. This year began with Virginia becoming the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate will soon consider whether to extend the deadline for ratification of the ERA.

As the battle for equal rights for women unfolds in Congress and throughout the nation, and America prepares to celebrate this August the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote, women will mobilize in force. Registration and turnout of female voters will soar to stratospheric and historic numbers by Election Day.

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In the heat of an intense national election in which women are poised to reject Republicans in large numbers with high turnout, there is great electoral risk for Republicans in Congress who vote against equal rights for women and have locked their political fate so totally to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE, who generates unprecedented levels of opposition and hostility from a large majority of female voters.

The August 2020 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment will either be a moment of triumph for equal rights, or an organizing vehicle that will trigger a massive pre-election movement to mobilize female voters.

The electoral power of women, who will comprise about 54 percent of all voters in 2020, still remains underestimated by most commentators on the left and right. With equality for women effectively on the ballot in November, there is great electoral danger for Republicans who oppose the Equal Rights Amendment, support Trump with cult-like obedience and promote policies that are anathema to large majorities of female voters.

It would be a demographic and generational disaster for Republicans to go down in history, and be seen by female voters in November, as killing equal rights for women. It would be a demographic and generational disaster for Republicans to continue taking a wide range of positions that deeply alienate a generation of young voters, black voters and Hispanic voters in addition to women.

Equality, justice, opportunity and decency for women are indeed effectively on the ballot in 2020.

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Should women receive equal pay? Should women be fully protected from sexual predators? Should migrant children be cruelly put in cages and separated from their mothers and fathers? Should poor and hungry women and their daughters and sons be deprived of food they desperately need to live, and health care and Medicaid they literally need to survive?

Large majorities of female voters will conclude that the only way to protect their rights, their standard of living, their children, their health, their families, their dreams and their futures will be to vote Democratic for the presidency, the House, the Senate, governors and state legislators.

On these matters and others, every Democratic candidate stands united with a fierce will to win and a fierce desire to avoid the great dangers and generational disasters that will follow a victory by Trump and his GOP allies.

Something great, large and powerful is transforming politics throughout the nation and around the world. No less a political authority than former two-term President Obama spoke recently about the huge talent and growing political power of women who could lead nations around the world.

If a Democrat is elected president in 2020, the inauguration in January 2021 will almost certainly bring the historic occasion when a female is inaugurated as America’s first female president or vice-president. Only then can Democrats champion with power the great truth that all people, including women, are created equal.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.