Lindsay Brown, a 29-year-old web designer looking to get to Congress, speaks during an interview with AFP at her home on February 20, 2018, in Clark, New Jersey.
A Navy pilot, a young ‚millennial‘ who designs websites or an award-winning writer: a record number of American women throw themselves into politics, indignant with Donald Trump and chronic inequality in elected positions.
The women, who make up only 20% of Congress, will be a driver of change in mid-term elections in November, in which Democrats seek to end the Republican majority and strike a blow to the president they hate.
„I’ve never seen anything like this,“ says Patti Russo, executive director of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University, which trains women to fight for political office for a quarter of a century. „It’s exciting.“
From Trump’s surprise victory in November 2016 to the women’s march in Washington in January 2017, the #MeToo sexual harassment complaint scandal to last year’s state elections and Trump’s State of the Union address in January of this year, your phone does not stop ringing.
The Center for American Politics and Women at Rutgers University estimates that twice as many women are candidates for Congress in 2018 compared to 2016: 437 to the House of Representatives and 51 to the Senate. The majority are democrats.
They are outraged that a man with no political experience and who boasted of touching women came to the White House. They are angry about the defeat of Hillary Clinton, often presented as the most qualified candidate in history.
Women, especially Democrats, feel that women’s rights are under attack, and are abandoning stereotypes to actively confront Trump’s policies on public health, firearms control or the environment.
– „Shocked“ –
Emily’s List, a committee that works to elect women Democrats in favor of abortion, says more than 30,000 women have contacted them, interested in contesting positions since Trump’s election.
A generation ago, women who contemplated entering politics were around 40 years old. Today the average age is 30.
Lindsay Brown, a 29-year-old web designer may go against the trend because she is Republican, but in other respects epitomizes the current climate by arguing as a feminist for the fifth consecutive term of Representative Leonard Lance in his „accommodated, white“ district. from New Jersey.
„My mother was in shock,“ says Brown. „But she’s so proud.“
With a handful of volunteers without salary, without a campaign manager and $ 3,300 in donations, he still needs to gather 200 signatures to register his candidacy for the Republican primaries in April. So far, he’s only 20.
If he succeeds, he will be the youngest person ever elected to Congress. If it does not succeed, it will be presented again. „I’m too involved in this now, there’s no way I can have a normal life again.“
More force has the democrat candidate and retired Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill, from another district of New Jersey, who has raised $ 42,000 online only this month.
– Not represented –
„The ‚millennials‘ are the biggest block of voters now and we are not represented at most levels of government,“ Brown tells AFP at his home in Clark, New Jersey, surrounded by his two rescued dogs from a shelter and three cats.
Nearly 80 women will contest the office of governor of a state this year, far surpassing the previous record of 34 in 1994. Only six of the current 50 governors are women.
In Georgia, Stacey Abrams, an entrepreneur, lawyer and author of eight suspense novels, hopes to break the glass ceiling for black women if elected governor of Georgia.
But not all women recently engaged in politics are seeking office: Black voters were essential to winning electoral victories in Alabama and Virginia.
Women also work intensively in fundraising. „It’s literally the only thing we can talk about, see how we can squeeze every dollar,“ says ex-model Carin van der Donk, mother of two, at a New York café.
Before I thought that talking about money was not well seen in your social circle. But when Trump won, he went on „hunger strike for 10 days“ and now four nights a week has political meetings.
„As women we have not been strong enough, we need to push and make our way to the front so that things happen.“