No one could have seen this coming shortly before Donald Trump unexpectedly won the 2016 presidential race, but female anti-Trump candidates now stand at the precipice of transforming national politics in 2018.
What’s become known as the nationwide “Pink Wave” could have a profound effect in Michigan. In November, the Democrats could elect an unprecedented all-woman team consisting of: U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow; gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer (pictured above); secretary of state hopeful Jocelyn Benson; and even leftist attorney general contender Dana Nessel.
While nothing remotely like this has been witnessed in the history of state politics, the strong Blue Waves churning across the nation give these Michigan candidates unmistakable headwinds.
The overriding question heading into the midterms is whether suburban, college-educated women – a distinctly important voting bloc consisting of independent voters and right-leaning Republicans — will shake up politics nationwide in November.
Politico earlier this week reported an astounding fact related to the 2018 midterm elections: For the first time ever, white men are in the minority among Democratic House candidates. According to an analysis by Rutgers University, Democrats have nominated 180 women and 133 minorities — people of color. Approximately 158 of those contenders are first-time candidates running against the status quo of Republican control of all three branches of the federal government.
In this era of the #MeToo movement, which continues to take down men in elite circles for sexual misconduct or harassment, the Republicans are way behind the curve. With a few state primary elections still playing out, most notably in New York state today, the GOP stands at 52 female House nominees.
At the same time, with the November midterms looming, substantial hikes in the minimum wage, which disproportionately benefit women workers, and an end to gender-based wage inequality, seem to have faded as significant issues in the 2018 campaign season.
Over the past few decades, the “gender gap” has ignited countless debates, in large part due to the effect on individual pay created by extensive absences from the workforce by women, particularly at corporate executive levels, who embrace child rearing after giving birth.
Nonetheless, a new research analysis by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) finds that Michigan ranks No. 36 in the nation based on gender-equality wages. The study found that Michigan women overall earn just 78 percent of the pay awarded to men in comparable private-sector positions.
To be clear, under Trump, the unemployment rate continues to register strong economic conditions for all workers. But an emphasis on lagging wages, put forth by the Democrats, particularly in reference to women, might make for an interesting November election.