While political junkies argued about the size and color of Tuesday’s wave at the polls, the indisputable Election Night tsunami that washed ashore was a very bright pink.
With more than 100 females elected to Congress, the landscape is changing – and it’s changing in a big way.
When 1992 was called the “Year of the Woman,” 30-plus females were elected to Congress. But this week made history when more than 100 women were elected, bringing the female total serving in Congress to around 120.
Many women would like to scrap the “year of the woman” moniker, because it’s a dated concept – electing females should be routine.
I did some exit polling, inviting feedback from a variety of women from different parts of the political spectrum. And unlike the president, not one of them called me an “enemy of the people,” nor did they list race “losers” by name.
That’s the beauty of this record number of women elected Tuesday. It gives females the chance to demonstrate leadership that doesn’t tear down opponents, insult, demean or bully.
Said Rebecca of Valencia, “I am very worried about continuing clashes between Republicans and Democrats. What has become of civility? It seems as if a lack of civility, lack of respect for differing perspectives and lack of decorum all continue to escalate.”
Angie, a 14-year resident of Santa Clarita, said about the results, “I am happy to see all the newly appointed women from the election. Change is good, including a bit of gender change. I’m happy to see Gavin Newsom win, as I have been a fan for many years. It was exciting to see Katie Hill win; a grass-roots campaign can actually be successful! It’s also good to see some diversity in general, perhaps a better reflection of the country we live in.”
Samantha, who grew up in Santa Clarita and lives in the San Fernando Valley, was personally touched by the results: “As a working mother of three wonderful children, two of whom are bright, capable, strong young women, I was moved to tears by the number of women voted into office. As a mother to a self-identifying queer person, I was further impressed by the number of LGBTQ+ persons elected. I truly believe that we are living in a time of great change and progress, and as is the case with most significant changes, we are also experiencing great pains as we step into this newness. Women and minorities NEED a voice in this country, and yesterday showed the power wielded by these groups of people, and those who support us! Now, we can help facilitate the right kinds of changes: the ones that increase equality, and are best for ALL people, not just the historically represented. Our next steps are to identify the systems of oppression and dismantle them together. I have hope for this country now and pray that we can keep up this momentum! As my daughter stated last night: ‘Welcome to the Pink Wave!’”
An early supporter of Katie Hill, Andrea from Saugus also appeared in a TV ad for Christy Smith. She responded with: “I’m very happy that Katie Hill won the congressional seat for our district. So many people worked so hard to flip this district and all of our efforts paid off. It is very exciting to see that a record number of women have won their races nationwide. This is a sign of things to come. Women are just getting started.
“I am proud that California will continue to lead the nation in innovation – economic growth, the climate change fight, human rights, and health care initiatives. Democratic control of the House of Representatives will put a much-needed check on Trump… However, the fight for the republic is far from over. Trump just fired Jeff Sessions in a transparent effort to interfere in the Mueller investigation. It is my hope that in the next two years Democrats and Republicans that have had enough of Trump’s extremist agenda can work together for the greater good of the American people and the world.”
Ashley, a young Santa Clarita woman, said: “I can’t be any more proud of the amazing women who stepped forward to represent our communities. Women like Katie Hill and Christy Smith have done an outstanding job displaying the power of women and the capabilities we have. With Katie’s victory comes the thought of ‘what next?’ because there’s so much more to be done as well. But Katie’s win gave me the hope to continue to believe in what a mass of people can do and the strength of women. So, as a woman, I am utterly pleased with the results of the congressional race here in the 25th because it not only empowers women but gives us more representation in Congress. We represent more than half of the population in our country; it’s time Congress reflected that.”
Patty from the SCV League of Women Voters responded: “The midterm election was affected greatly by women; however, I want to preface that by emphasizing ‘young’ women. I believe that we are seeing an awakening among Millennial women who now realize that if social change is going to occur, their voices must be heard. These women are seeing how a system has turned a blind eye to the social causes they embrace, as well as ignored and trivialized their concerns. This is about to change. Young women have only just begun to mobilize for the 2020 election.”
While some may call it a trickle rather than a wave, our elected leaders are all in deep now. And these new female legislators are bound to make more than just a splash.
Martha Michael is a contributing writer for The Signal.