When women and people of color run, they win, new report finds

Women and people of color remain drastically underrepresented in elected positions in the U.S., but it’s not your imagination that that’s started to change since 2016. A new report from the Reflective Democracy Campaign has the numbers, and one key insight: it’s not that women and people of color are so much less likely to win than white men. It’s that they’re less likely to be on the ballot to begin with.

The dramatic increase in women—Democratic women—in Congress after the 2018 elections is pretty widely known, but it’s not just that. Across all elected officials, white men went from 65% of seats in 2015 to 62% in 2019, with white women clawing their way up from 25% to 27% and women of color from 3% to 4%, while men of color held steady at 7%. Women of color, the report notes, are still particularly underrepresented, but they’re also climbing quickly in some areas, with a 40% increase in congressional seats and a 38% increase in state legislative seats since 2015.

We’re still looking at massive under-representation, but if the rate of change could accelerate as much in the next two years as it did in the past two years, we might be starting to talk about real change. And it’s important to remember that, while sexism is real especially at the presidential level, there is nothing inherently less “electable” about women or people of color, based on this big data set.

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Understanding the connecting thread in these race stories, two POCs and one white, is essential

My Facebook feed is a bastion of solid writing from friends whose stories often touch me profoundly. Many of them are great at storytelling. Most importantly, many of their stories have immediate relevancy.

This friend's story hit very close to home. She wrote the following.

This is what NOT having #whiteprivilege feels like. This is the reality of being a POC in America today: The storms tripped our alarm last night and scared the bejeezus out of us. After [my husband] and I cleared all the rooms/closets/cabinets in the house, we tried to cancel the alarm but the deputy had already been dispatched. The first thing that came to mind was: WE'RE MEXICAN! Before the officer arrived, [my husband] and I had our ID's in our hands to prove that we were, actually, the homeowners. The Deputy was friendly, professional, and immediately put our minds at ease. She did a walk through the house and checked the garage, as well. She even took a moment to admire Ben's whitetail trophies. After she left and we sighed with relief, I wondered: Do white people feel the need to prove they live in their own homes when an alarm is tripped? Do white peoples' hearts race in fear when they potentially interact with police--in their own homes? Will black and brown people ever stop feeling this way? Fortunately, we were safe, the Deputy was wonderful, and all's well that ends well. Have a great Monday, peeps! Be safe out there.

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All the president’s white men: A call for honesty in the electability debate

Language is powerful, and opinion makers know it. Case in point: the way pundits use supposedly value-neutral words like “electability” and “viability” to handicap our Democratic presidential primary candidates. They have become buzzwords of the moment, thrown around to establish legitimacy and enforce inevitability.

But what do pundits, insiders, and the media really mean when they use them?

Let’s be clear: More often than not it means “white,” almost always it means “male,” and invariably it means someone who will not upset the status quo.

It is not a coincidence that the “electable” candidate of the moment is Joe Biden. And he and his campaign staff seem to know exactly what that means. When I opened Joe Biden’s announcement email, it read: “America is an idea based on a founding principle that all men are created equal.”

Not all people. All men.

You might think that kind of casual misogyny in 2019 would cause a media firestorm, or at least a little controversy. It didn’t. From talk-show pundits to the political press, “Uncle Joe” continues to be dubbed the most “electable” candidate in America. This is despite the fact that Biden has withdrawn from two Democratic presidential primaries, the first time in disgrace, the second time after getting 1% in Iowa. That's "electable?"

Or consider Beto O’Rourke, who lost his run for Senate but instantly became a favorite to run for president. I don’t mean to disparage O’Rourke here; he ran a tireless campaign in Texas that inspired millions, and he did better than many past contenders in challenging political terrain. But that applies just as much if not more to Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Andrew Gillum in Florida, neither of whom were given the same presidential buzz.

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