Women hold key to first major vote of Trump era

WASHINGTON -- Mobilized for or against Donald Trump, driven by the #MeToo movement or infuriated by a recent divisive Supreme Court confirmation, women voters will play a crucial role in upcoming US midterm elections featuring a record number of female candidates.

“Maybe three years ago, I was just a voter. Now I am a voter who also gives ‘get out the vote’ calls” and canvasses door to door, Democrat Barbra Bearden, 37, told AFP.

“These are not things that I did prior to Trump.”

The international development consultant gathered friends and volunteers at her Washington home to make campaign phone calls urging women across the country to head to the polls next month.

The “Call Your Sister” initiative was launched by organizers of the women’s march, in which more than a million people nationwide took to the streets after Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.

The midterms, the first nationwide vote since the billionaire businessman won the White House, are “very crucial,” Bearden said.

Americans on November 6 will pick all 435 members of the House of Representatives and just over one third of the 100-member Senate.

Washington’s full balance of power is at stake, as Democrats aim to reclaim the majority in Congress and act as a bulwark against the Republican president’s political agenda.

But such a revolution is impossible without women

“Female voters are more fluid, more available for either party,” explained Steven Schier, a political science professor at Carleton College in Minnesota.

Strategists from both parties are going all in to draw women voters to their cause.

Scientists, war veterans, lawyers, business leaders, mothers: voters have never had as many female candidates to choose from until now.

A record number of women — 198 Democrats and 59 Republicans, according to the Center for American Women and Politics — are on the ballot for seats in Congress, whose membership is currently about 20 percent female.

Women in record numbers are also running for governorships and seats in state legislatures.

Minorities are well represented on the ballot. Several charismatic figures have burst onto the national scene, including socialist-leaning Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York congressional candidate.

For the moment, the overwhelming enthusiasm of the female electorate is benefitting Democrats.