(Note before we start: This is not a pro-Republican blog. Friends don’t let friends vote Republican. And we are most definitely not Reagan Democrats or conservative Democrats or birthers. We are liberal, FDR style, Democrats in Exile who want our party to start acting like DEMOCRATS.)
It should be obvious to women that what is good for the Democratic party is not necessarily good for them. But I think that what we are experiencing currently is a bit of the shock doctrine applied to gender politics.
The political strategy of the Democrats seems to be to let anti-woman legislature proceed without much pushback until it reaches a critical stage before they jump up and down in protest. The outrage on our behalf seems concocted. No, it’s more than concocted. It’s entirely false. Know how I know? We still have only 17% representation in Congress. You’d think that if women’s interests were all that important to the Democrats that they would do something about that. Here in NJ, we have 13 (or is it 12 now?) representatives to Congress and not one of them is a woman. Not one. Well, you might say, maybe that’s just a recent phenomenon. No, it is not. We haven’t had a single woman representing us in Congress in all of the time I’ve lived here in the past 20 years.
In 2006, Linda Stender, a state congressperson, ran for my district, NJ-07, and came within 4000 votes of winning. 4000 votes in a district this dense is trivial. It’s *tiny* here. In 2006, the party seemed to be behind her. When she ran again in 2008, it looked to me like the party abandoned her. She was a pro-choice liberal Democrat. Rahm Emannuel’s Democrats were more student body president types. Unexciting, compliant, obedient schmoozers who tried to hide the fact that the were Democrats and carefully scrubbed all traces of reproductive rights issues from their campaign webpages. You can almost hear the consultants telling them, “Don’t let them think you’re a liberal Democrat and for god’s sakes, get rid of the pro-choice stuff. The secret to winning this year is to grab the not-quite-as-crazy evangelical vote. Don’t worry about the Democrats. They got no place to go.”
This year, the New Jersey Democratic party isn’t backing even ONE woman challenger for any Congressional districts. There is one woman named Diane Sare who is running as a LaRouche Democrat, whatever the f^&* that is. That’s it. All of the rest of the candidates are men. Are we to believe that in the entire state of NJ with over 8.8 million people, we couldn’t find at least one Democratic woman per district to challenge Republican male representatives? Unbelievable.
Some of the districts do not yet have Democratic challengers so it could be that the party just hasn’t put the names up there yet but still, this is just a really sad state of affairs. You might want to check your own state to see who your state Democratic party is promoting.
The representation in Congress is pathetic. We rank 71st among nations behind Pakistan, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. Can you believe that? In places where you can’t walk down the street without getting harassed for not wearing your hijab and where religious courts still hold women in subjection, they have more women in elected office than here.
We have to hold the parties accountable for this sad state of affairs. We’re not going to make any progress with the Republican party this election season but now would be a very good time to make the so-called sympathetic men in the Democratic party put their actions where their mouths are. I call on women today to demand two things from the Democratic party immediately:
1.) That their local and state Democratic parties nominate a woman challenger for every seat currently held by a Republican for the 2012 elections.
2.) That they impose a quota on themselves, and write it into their party platform, to have no fewer than 34% women in their Congressional and party delegations, committee chairmanships and nominations for elected office, and that elected men who are not pulling their weight for Democratic party values be asked to step aside for a female challenger.
It’s the least they can do. To do anything less makes them look like they are using the current attack on women’s rights as a political game to attract women to the Democratic party without actually having to do anything to promote women’s causes. We are more than 50% of the population and we deserve better than this. If they can’t committ to those two things this year, without question, with all of the fire on gender issues raging around them, then they are not our allies and we need to discuss how we create a party that is more responsive to our needs as quickly as possible.
And what is happening to women’s rights will be repeated with the social insurance programs. The Republicans will be allowed to introduce legislation unchallenged by Democrats and then Democrats will howl that they’re trying to impoverish old people. It’s a game where the things we value most are held over a pit of snapping crocodiles by the very same people who promise to save us from the crocodiles only if we give them everything they want. It’s extortion and it’s evil.
Don’t give Democrats a pass. Now is the time to strike a hard bargain. I can hardly believe what I’m seeing these days when women are pulled off of the steps of the Virginia Capitol and carted away for trying to defend their rights. You’d think this was 1918. But it just proves that women’s suffrage means nothing if all you can vote for are men.
Filed under: General | Tagged: anti-female legislation, candidates, Democrats, New Jersey, reproductive rights, Republicans, suffragettes, women | 23 Comments »