Women's victory in the US Midterms: female, powerful, disunited

Women's victory in the US Midterms: female, powerful, disunited

  • The congressional election in the US was female – never have so many women run for office.
  • However, many of the new members of the Democratic Party unite no more than their gender – this is likely to complicate political work.
  • The Democratic Party is facing a directional dispute between the moderate and the progressive, left-liberal wing.

From Hubert Wetzel, Washington

America's women are the winners of this congressional election. Never before have so many women in the US run for a parliamentary mandate – nearly 200 Democrats and 60 Republicans. And never before have so many women won their election campaigns. "The Victory" may have a male pronoun. But "the election" is female, and it was that special.

This is especially true of the Democratic Party, which has won the majority in the House of Representatives, with the votes of millions of voters who have had enough of President Donald Trump and his Republicans. As of January, the Democratic Group will have more than 100 female members. With the republican opposition it is much less – only 15.

Many of the new parliamentarians can add two words: the first one. Ayanna Pressley, for example, the first black MP from Massachusetts; Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer, the first women to move from the state of Iowa to the House of Representatives; Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, the first women of Indian descent in parliament; Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia, the first Latinas from Texas; Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim women; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, who is not the first in any category, but at the age of 29, the youngest woman ever to win a congressional election.

Young star in the election campaign does not necessarily mean power in Congress

But now the election is over and parliamentary work begins. And it would come as no surprise then that it turns out that many of these parliamentarians are not much more united than that they are all women. Where and how they are elected will be as important to their political work as their gender.

This is mainly due to the fact that the Democrats, despite their electoral victory, are by no means in agreement as to which direction the party should take. There is a so-called progressive wing that demands a decidedly left-liberal course; and there is a moderate wing that wants to occupy the political center. During the election campaign, this division was often drowned out – everyone wanted to win. But that will be more difficult in the future when it comes to decisions.

In this context, it is important how a parliamentarian actually got into office. Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, did not win their decisive victories on November 6, but much sooner, in the party's primary polls. In each of them, they have challenged and dismissed their candidacy for the most seasoned democratic officials – white men. Since they entered solid democratic constituencies in which the party has been victorious for decades, their entry into the House of Representatives was virtually certain.

But that also means: Politically, such parliamentarians are above all obliged to the loyal – and rather left-liberal – party supporters and activists who have the say in the primaries.

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