Monday, November 10, 2014

So What’s Next? A Liberal Take on the Midterm Elections and the Future of the Democratic Party

By: Alexis McCruter, NWPC Political Planning Intern

In the recent midterm elections, the Democratic Party took a bit of a fall. On November 4th, the Republicans gained control of the Senate in what is now being called a “Republican Wave.” The GOP dominated, now controlling 52 of the 100 senate seats. There has a lot of speculation as to what these numbers mean for Americans and women in particular. Notable Democratic losses include Senate seats in both Iowa and Colorado as well as governor races in Florida and Wisconsin, and the losses don’t stop there! The Democratic Party also lost competitive governor races in Illinois, Maryland, Maine and Massachusetts. Thankfully, the night was not all bad. Marijuana became legal in Washington, D.C. and Oregon, and the minimum wage was raised in Arkansas, Illinois and Nebraska.

The Republican Party is not generally seen as the party of women and minorities, but this election was just as much about women’s rights as it was about the country’s deficit. Both sides of the aisle made a conscious effort to include women’s issues in the conversation in the hopes of garnering support from a group that makes up more than 50% of the electorate.

While many Democrats ran on the platform of continuing to fight for a women’s right to choose, Republicans were busy creating a new meaning to the phrase “War on Women.” That being said, the Republicans still seemed to do a great job of regaining the trust of American women. This couldn’t have been the easiest task considering the recent attacks on women’s reproductive rights, including cuts to funding delegated to Planned Parenthood, ultimately leading to limiting access to abortions in America.

So what does this mean for Hilary in 2016? Assuming that she is running, will she be viewed as a capable heroine, able to stand up against the Republican Party, or will Americans see her as just another candidate trying to defeat Republicans for the sake of it?
This onslaught of Republican representatives might not mean that we can expect a Republican president. Midterm elections hardly ever favor the party of the President, and if the even larger Republican wave of 2010 didn’t predict the winner of the 2012 election, we cannot expect 2014 to do so for 2016. It is far too early to count out either party, and the Presidential elections should be an exciting race to watch.

Now is as good of time as any to come together as women regardless of political party, and set the stage for the battle for the White House in 2016. Let’s make the next election about women’s issues and really force the candidates from both parties to answer to female voters. This could be the fight to maintain your voice and reproductive freedoms.

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