Unprecedented. Amazing. And long overdue. Another Native woman is her party’s nominee for Congress.
This is Trahant Reports.
Sharice Davids won the Kansas primary with hard work, focus on what was important, and avoiding the distractions from outside influences. That sound like a practice that would work in Congress too. (You know … instead of grandstanding on legislation that has no chance of ever actually becoming law.)
Davids, Ho Chunk, was an unlikely candidate. She started late, just about four months ago, running against a candidate who had been working for a year on that race.
But in politics timing is everything. And those four months were exactly the right time.
This year is one where women across the country are coming together as candidates and as voters in an unprecedented way.
Native women, too. There are now two Native women, Davids and Deb. Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, as their party nominees for the November election. And Amanda Douglas in Oklahoma has a primary at the end of this month. So there could be three.
This is unprecedented. And so long past time. There have been some 12,000 people (mostly men) elected to Congress since 1789. So It’s time for new voices.
On Saturday Andria Tupola, a Native Hawaiian, won the Republican nomination for governor of Hawaii. So there are now two Native women campaigning to lead states as party nominees. (The other is Paulette Jordan, Coeur d’Alene, in Idaho.)
It’s not just Indian Country that is ready to listen to new voices. More women than ever are running for and winning primary elections. As the Brookings Institution pointed out: “If enough of these women get elected in 2018 to tip control of the House to the Democrats, we could see significant changes to the congressional agenda.”
And it’s not just the candidates. There is another trend at work, a growing gender gap of voters. This trend is what helped Davids win the primary. In states across the country the gender gap is widening to more than 20 points. The thing is it’s not just the gender gap, it’s the turnout. Women are showing up to the polls in greater numbers, too. And that’s defining the 2018 election.
This is the untold story of this election, that the country, thanks to women voters, is finally stepping up to the diversity that is already here.
The late Wilma Mankiller used to say that no government can function with only half its people. “Where are your women?” she said Cherokee leaders once asked the Americans.
There is a new answer to that very question.
For her part, Davids says she is humbled by the party nomination and she is looking forward to the November election. And she plans to win by staying focused on the issues … and outworking her opponent.
I am Mark Trahant.