Women hold the power to change U.S. politics - if they vote

by Ellen Wulfhorst | @EJWulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 24 September 2020 14:28 GMT

A mother carries her sleeping child while voting during the U.S. general election in Greenville, North Carolina, U.S. on November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

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Joining gender, color and class could fuel women in politics, organizers say

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK, Sept 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A convergence of women, color and class can steer the course of U.S. politics, say the leaders of a new campaign aimed at galvanizing women of all backgrounds to get out the vote.

More women than men are eligible to vote in November's presidential election, and the leaders of 'Supermajority'- drawn from popular movements steeped in activism - want to tap into this potent force to unseat President Donald Trump.

"There are literally millions of women who have never been involved in politics or organizing or activism or even helping people vote and are now saying, 'I have to do something more,'" said the group's co-founder Cecile Richards in an interview.

Richards, former head of reproductive rights group Planned Parenthood, formed Supermajority with Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and Ai-Jen Poo, head of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which represents low-income laborers.

The trio brings a broad base - their affiliated groups represent and advocate for millions - along with deep expertise in mounting protest on the street and advocacy in the halls of power.

Now they want to join forces to win change at the top.

"The core mistake that women have made is carving out silos where we don't build with each other, where we don't see each other's futures as connected with each other," said Garza in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Richards recalled in the joint interview how millions of women marched in protest after 2016's election of Trump, who has made disparaging remarks about women and faced accusations of sexual misconduct that he denies.

This time Richards wants to see that united female steel on show before the Nov. 3 vote to "harness the power of women" who - as of 2018 midterm elections - equaled 53% of the electorate.

Historically, women have also turned out to vote at higher rates than men in presidential contests.

Women wearing t-shirts honoring the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as a VOTE protective face mask and one of Justice Ginsburg's distinctive lace collars called jabots, walk past to pay their respects as her casket lies in repose at the top of the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., September 23, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott


Polls show women leaning toward Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent, Richards said, with women now the best - and possibly only - hope for change.

All In Together, a non-partisan civic education group, found in a poll this month that women voters favored Biden by 11 percentage points, while men preferred Trump by seven points.

Black women supported Biden by a huge margin of 84% compared with 12% for Trump, it found. "I do feel like if there's a force in this country that's going to help get us back on the track of hope and empathy and progress for everyone, it's going to be women," said Richards.

Supermajority is launching a national get-out-the-vote campaign with a virtual day-long event on Saturday.

It plans to train members to organize and use texts, calls and letters to mobilize women, especially in swing states.

Key issues of focus include the pandemic, racism, affordable health care, the minimum wage and more stimulus payments.

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Supreme Court fight after Ginsburg's death energizes women voters on both sides

Trump will nominate a woman next week to succeed Ginsburg on Supreme Court

Color blind? How boardroom diversity data eludes advocates

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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