By: Jasmine Stewart
“For me, a better democracy is a democracy where women do not only have the right to vote, and to elect but to be elected.” Michelle Bachelet
Ms. Bachelet, the head of UN Women, former president and defense minister of Chile, said this during an interview with the New York Times, and I couldn’t agree more. The outcome of this year’s midterms showed change. After the way things went with Hilary Clinton when she ran for president last year, I wasn’t too sure if I was going to see many more women running for…well, anything! I’m here to tell you today that I couldn’t be happier to be wrong about something. Although I can’t sit here and give you details about all of the women who have been elected (as much as I’d like to), I will talk about what may have caused these changes and the progress that’s already been made.
First and foremost, I’d like to take a second to just acknowledge the fact that over 113 million people voted during the midterm elections. This year has now made history, because we exceeded 100 million votes. That’s not only widely impressive, but it also shows how much of an impact today’s events have had on us as a country. There’s been so much hatred and death and so many loses this year. I honestly feel like that has helped wake people up to how detrimental poor leadership can be. This is beyond the president’s seat. I’m talking about intercity leaders. As much as they talk about making improvements, results have yet to be seen. The restlessness of the people in this country spoke volumes this time around and that’s what we needed!
I also feel as though social media had a big part to play in the voter turnout. I, personally, saw way too many “I voted” posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. People weren’t shy on Snapchat, either. Influence is the key word here. The amount of time a person spends on their phones daily, especially nowadays, can be seen as absurd, but in this instance, it helped make history. The fact that a little over 20 states allowed people to vote online was also a very smart move on the behalf of those who made that possible. And with all of the new faces that will be in office soon, I’m expecting nothing to be quite the same.
Over 120 women were voted into various positions within Congress, hence the start of the new Pink Wave hashtag. Although their terms have only just begun, so many are already began breaking barriers. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are now the first Muslim women to make it into Congress. Lauren Underwood is the first woman to be elected into Illinois’ 14th district. Lou Leon Guerrero became Guam’s first female governor. These are just to name a few! There’s going to be a bit more estrogen in some of our political offices, and it’s overdue. Diversity is good. You may or may not agree with me and that’s fine. However, I think we can all agree on one thing: we no longer have to keep seeing those same, dreadful commercials about the candidates (at least for now). In the meantime, I think we should embrace the newness that is to come.