Women rush to run for political office
May 29, 2017
Updated: May 29, 2017 1:42pm
A strong democracy needs everyone’s voice heard, but for decades few women could be convinced to take the plunge into politics. That’s all changed since the election of Donald Trump. Now women are clamoring to get into politics.
Schriock attributed the interest to a new awareness that has swept the country since Nov. 8: Elections matter.
Women excited at the prospect of celebrating the first female American president instead were shocked by the election outcome and ugly change in the political debate. Dozens of women have told Schriock of their concerns — and of a gnawing sense of guilt. “I’ve heard them say ‘I didn’t do enough,’” she said. “When I pressed them, they admitted they had failed to execute: They didn’t vote.”
Unthinkable? No. Unforgivable? In the flurry of work demands and responsibilities that define women’s lives, of course not. Let’s just say this was a real-world reminder that if you want a say, then you have to speak up.
That’s what Emily’s List does: It helps prep women to become viable Democratic candidates. Schriock has hired field staff in some states and is setting up webinars to reach women in others. The wave of interest is so intense (especially for local office), Schriock figures the momentum will carry the party for a decade.
What does it take to be a successful candidate? “A good story,” Schriock says. Candidates don’t have to know every policy angle of every issue, foreign and domestic. “If you did, you would know more than those already in office,” she said.
The winning attribute is a warm and well-told personal story. She cites Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., as well as former Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., as politicians who can deliver their own story and their state’s story with flair and conviction.
The flood of potential female candidates is fueled by more than dismay that voters chose a reality TV star with a taste for spectacle but no penchant for the serious business of the presidency, Schriock said. It was also about rejecting an extraordinarily well-prepared candidate. It was about rejecting a woman. It was about rejecting — them.