2018: Year of the Democratic woman

American women did very well in the 2018 elections for themselves, and also for the Democratic Party.  The results aren’t all in, but here’s a preliminary tally.

At least 102 women were elected to the House of Representatives, including 89 Democrats and just 13 Republicans.  Among the 36 newcomers, only one was a Republican.

The makeup of the Senate stayed the same, with 17 Democratic and six Republican women.  There’s a runoff election in Mississippi on Tuesday, in which a white Republican woman is running against a black Democratic man, so there’s a possibility of one more Republican woman.

A record 43 women of color were elected to Congress.  Only one was a Republican.

The number of women governors increased from six (two Democrats, four Republicans) to nine (six Democrats, three Republicans).  The number of women serving in state legislatures will cross 2,000 for the first time.  I don’t know how many are Democrats, but I bet a lot of them are.

This year three states elected their first female governor: Janet Mills (D) in Maine, Kim Reynolds (R) in Iowa, and Kristi Noem (R) in South Dakota.

Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM) became the first Democratic Latina governor in the United States.

Stacey Abrams (D-GA) became the first black woman in the United States to be a majority party’s nominee for governor, although she lost to the odious Brian Kemp.

Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Deb Haaland (D-NM) became the first Native American women elected to Congress.

Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) became the first Muslim women elected to Congress.  Omar is also the first Somali American in Congress, and Tlaib is the first Palestinian American woman in Congress.

As a writer for the Center for American Progress pointed out, American women still have a long way to go before they achieve parity of representation in government with their numbers in the population or their numbers in other leadership positions in American life.

I think the reasons why Democrats got so much of the women’s vote are obvious.  Democrats on average support reproductive rights, subsidized child care and other issues of special interest to women.  Hillary Clinton, the first major-party candidate for President, is a woman and an inspiration to many ambitious women.

President Trump’s language and behavior are offensive to many women.  And the Kavanaugh nomination hearings alienated many women, especially college-educated women professionals.

Gender of course isn’t everything.  Race, religion and economic class also count, and, more importantly, every voter is an individual who has individual reasons for voting.

I myself wouldn’t vote for (or against) a particular individual merely because she’s a woman, but I’m pleased to have a wider range of candidates to choose from.


The Women’s Leadership Gap by Judith Warner, Nora Ullmann and Diana Boesch for the Center for American Progress.  Not quite there yet.

Democratic women make big gains in House as GOP women lose ground in historic election by Carmin Chappell for CNBC.

Wealthy voters, women fuel Democratic House win by Matt Wynn, John Fritze and Brad Health for USA Today.

The 2018 midterm vote: Divisions by race, gender, education by Alec Tyson for Pew Research Center.

Trump’s Base Isn’t Enough by Nate Silver for FiveThirtyEight.

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One Response to “2018: Year of the Democratic woman”

  1. Fred Says:

    The GOP desperately needs to field more female candidates. Won’t happen until Trump is gone and (hopefully) the GOP moves a bit to the center. There aren’t enough Sarah Palins to go around and she’d have no draw in swing districts.


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