If Democrats want Congress back, women must play a key role

If Democrats want Congress back, women must play a key role
© Thinkstock

2017 was definitely the year of women political empowerment, and it all started with the Women’s March in January 2017. Over 470,000 people over flowed the streets of the Nation’s Capital. What a sight it was.

Just a day after President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE’s inauguration and already the massive discontent with his election was clearly seen throughout the country.

The Women’s March was the first of many events that made it clear that more than ever before, women were ready to take matters into their own hands.


Countless of them, around the country, started finding their voices and grew tired of the way President Trump talked about them, disrespected them, and the threat they saw in him not only against them but against their children and the country as a whole.

And so far, the numbers are starting to show a good sign for Democrats.

According to date from The Rutgers Centers, there are 354 female House Candidates so far: 291 Democrat and 63 Republicans. That’s the largest increase we’ve seen in terms of female House candidates. It’s a big deal.

In the Senate, there are 25 Democrats and 13 Republicans female candidates running for office. That’s almost double the number of female candidates, compared to 2015.

And although the Women’s March and the president’s election have played a big role in getting female candidates ready to run, the latest storm of sexual harassment allegations against powerful men, put the icing on the cake for many of them to say “enough” and decide to run and get more involve, both politically and civically.

If that wasn’t enough, EMILY’s List, one of the most prominent groups responsible for recruiting and helping to elect female candidates, have pointed out that since the 2016 election over 22,000 women have reached out to find out more information about how to get involved politically, how to help out in general, and many of them, asking how to run for office at all levels of government.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who’s running in Florida’s 26th Congressional District to try and replace the Republican incumbent, Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloNation's fraught politics leads to fear, scars and exits Direct air capture is a crucial bipartisan climate policy Biden's corporate tax hike is bad for growth — try a carbon tax instead MORE, is one of those candidates that had enough after Donald Trump got elected.

“Like so many women across the country who are taking a stance against the division, fear mongering, and countless bashing by our current President, I felt that I needed to stand up to make sure we protect the values we hold so dear as Americans,” she said to me in a recent conversation.

“My mother brought me and my sisters to this country in search of opportunities and like so many Americans, through hard work, we have achieved the American Dream. But I see first hand now how hard it is for hard working families to get by. Our Government should be here to make things easier, not tougher. I have a responsibility to my community and my family, to do right by them, and make sure America’s best days are ahead of us and not behind us.”

And it’s not just women running for office. Others, celebrities and prominent women are also taking a stance against all of the recent sexual allegations that are happening across the country.

A new emerging group of over 300 actresses, writers, directors, producers, and entertainment executives, known as Time’s Up, have been able to raise over $13 million to help less privileged women have the adequate resources to defend themselves.

Resources such as a legal defense fund to help women protect themselves from sexual misconduct, advocating for legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and a drive to reach gender parity at film studios and talent agencies.

In all of this, whether politically or not, women are participating and standing up for themselves more than ever before. They feel empowered to participate and change things.

And that’s the key in all of this. If women feel empowered, invested in, and feel rightfully represented by all of these female candidate, they will vote, and in large numbers.

If that happens. Not only will they bring Democrats back to power to control Congress in 2018, but most importantly, they will change our country for the better.

José Aristimuño is the CEO of NOW Strategies, former deputy national press secretary of the Democratic Party and former director of Hispanic Media for Governor O’Malley’s Presidential Campaign.