Successful election of women in Virginia creates partisan shift

100 years after women gained the right to vote, women in Virginia turned played a critical part in flipping Virginia’s partisan majority.

As of 2011, only three women had ever been elected to congress from the state, according to a study from the Virginia Social Science Journal. Virginia also fell to the bottom of states that see women elected to state or federal office, especially among Republicans.

The results of the 2019 general election is not unprecedented. In 2017, a record number of women were elected to the state’s delegation. Two years later, the successful election of women brought about a political shift to the previously Republican state.

At the national level, Virginia has had a history of leaning left. Now, as of 2019’s fall elections, the state-level majority is also Democratic.  Joan Walsh, a political analyst for CNN, penned an article that explored the surge of Democratic women running for office in Virginia. She indicates this increase is linked to President Trump’s election in 2016 – “The Trump Effect.”

The candidates come from a variety of professional, ethnic, and age backgrounds. The common ground for these candidacies are opinions on controversial issues like gun control and minimum wage.

While Virginia is the example, this underrepresentation is not uncommon for the Republican party. Some experts point to the vibe given off by conservatism. “The Republican Party as it is presented by its libertarian element comes across as being mean, especially in the eyes of women, minorities, and gays,” said former Missouri Attorney General and registered Republican John Danforth.

High-profile female politicians have significantly influenced young women to consider political roles according to a 2015 report from the Political Research Quarterly. Notable influencers from the report were found to be: Nancy Pelosi as current Speaker of the House, Hillary Clinton with her 2016 presidential campaign, and Sarah Palin with her vice president appointment in the 2008 presidential run.

Female involvement in modern politics is a fairly modern aspect of American society. With the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, women were granted an opportunity to affect legislation and leadership. Whether it is the political party or social thoughts about women, there are still instances in which female, political  leadership is striving.

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