Westwood: While Trump continues to 'joke,' women gear up to run for office — and they aren't kidding
Last month, more than 34,000 women interested in running for office have reached out to a non-profit that supports pro-choice Democratic women candidates since Election Day 2016.
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Take it straight from the horse's Twitter feed: Donald Trump is having fun.
“There is no chaos, only great energy,” he claims, at a White House facing an unprecedented slew of abdications and firings. After spending the night roasting his inner circle at the elite media Gridiron dinner last week, Trump has “never had a better time doing something” than being president, “especially since this is for the American people!”
Trump’s jolly good time includes cracking lots of “jokes.” He was “tongue-in-cheek,” White House staff said, when he accused Democrats of treason for not applauding his State of the Union speech. After the Oscars, he noted the U.S. was lacking in “stars ... except your president (just kidding, of course!)”
Trump was only joking when he recently suggested the U.S. should take China’s lead and give the president power indefinitely: “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot.” And during the campaign, he was just kidding when he ordered a woman to leave with her crying baby and encouraged Russia to obtain and leak Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Trump’s jokes strike his critics as gaslighting, or at least somewhere in the passive-aggressive realm of “I was only joking when I said you smelled like blue cheese soaked in vinegar and curdled milk.” Presumably, his supporters are laughing.
And yet, for all the fun the president is having, one gets the sense his political opponents — especially of the female variety — aren’t joyless themselves. Particularly after the Texas 2018 primary elections on Tuesday.
The state that gave America climate-change denier Rick Scott (former Texas governor, now energy secretary) seemed intent on reminding us that it also gave us Wendy Davis, the former state senator of pink sneaker fame whose 11-hour-long filibuster over an anti-abortion bill went viral in 2013.
“For the first time in my 27 years in Texas, Democrats fielded a general election candidate in every single congressional race,” Texas Tribune political reporter Evan Smith told Vox, and Democratic turnout was up 87 per cent over 2014’s primary elections. (U.S. primaries determine who will run in a general election.)
The state is projected to get its first two Latina members of Congress. EMILY’S List, a non-profit that supports pro-choice Democratic women candidates, celebrated the advancement of all five of its candidates.
The hype is that the winds in Texas will blow across the rest of the country and propel Democrats into big wins in the fall midterms, especially for women candidates. Last month, EMILY’S List said more than 34,000 women interested in running for office have reached out to the organization since Election Day 2016, up from a then-record-breaking 920 women during the 2016 election cycle.
"Women are fired up in a way we have never seen before,” the organization’s president Stephanie Schriock said in a statement, promising a “sea change moment in American politics.”
Political analysts are warning that rising Democratic tides don’t necessarily spell trouble for Republicans, who saw 500,000 more Texans vote in their primaries compared to the Democrats. But the vote — serendipitously arriving a few days before International Women’s Day — certainly put a smile on Democrats’ faces.
“SWEEP!” EMILY’S List tweeted, a different Twitter feed of people currently enjoying themselves — and not at all kidding around.