–In spite of pivotal role women play
The issue of women’s political representation remains a major challenge across the world, with the United States of America (USA) in the 21st Century still finding it difficult to have more women candidates in their elections.
Despite gains, the US ranks 75th globally in women’s representation in government the Financial Times’ New Agenda has said.
The New Agenda said when President Donald Trump praised the record number of women in Congress at his 2018 State of the Union address, female lawmakers, many clad in white to honor the suffrage movement, applauded, danced and high-fived.
Women overturned the political table in the 2018 midterm election, giving them 102 out of 435 seats (23.5 percent) in both houses of the US congress.
“But despite historic wins and the building momentum behind several high-profile female candidates for the 2020 presidential election, the U.S. lags far behind other countries on women representation in government,” the New Agenda said.
Jeffery Stonecash, an expert on political parties in the USA told journalists during a zoom meeting on “Elections 2020: Virtual Reporting Tour (VRT)”, that the USA has interestingly undergone a pretty thorough gender gap development in the last 30 years.
Dr. Stonecash, who provided an overview of political parties and key issues about the USA elections, said: “It used to be men and women did not vote terribly differently, but now, or beginning in the 1980s, men began to vote more Republican. Women sometimes moved with them, but on average did not. What we now have is a pretty significant gap in that women tend to go to the Democratic Party.”
“Women in this particular election are going to play a very crucial role because Trump has alienated a lot of women with his behavioral style, his language, his harshness, and his crassness. His biggest problem right now is women,” he said.
Dr. Stonecash said Trump’s biggest problem right now is women adding that “in some elections, women play a very pivotal role.”
“There has been this big gap between men and women. Largely it’s because men moved away from the Democratic Party.”
According to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), many women have sought to become president of the USA, a number of them received national attention, either as pioneers in the electoral process, as potential candidates, or as candidates of minor parties with a significant national presence.
CAWP said only Hillary Clinton, among the women that seek the presidential office successfully contested on a major-party nominee which is the Democratic Party in 2016.
The organization also disclosed that there are three women who have been nominated to run for the Vice Presidency, including Kamala Harris by the Democratic Party in 2020, Sarah Palin by the Republican Party in 2008, and Geraldine Ferraro by the Democratic Party in 1984. Another woman, Frances “Sissy” Farenthold, had her name put into nomination for Vice President at the Democratic National Convention in 1972. In addition, Toni Nathan, the 1972 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, became the first woman to win an electoral vote when one Republican elector voted for her instead of for his party’s candidate. It is worth noting that other women throughout history have had their names placed into nomination and/or earned electoral votes for vice president, but they did not receive wide support.
Dr. Stonecash said the US electoral system is designed in a way that gives direct power to the people through their local governments.
“The President does not win a national vote. In fact, in 2000 and 2016, the candidate who won did not get the majority in the popular vote, but the president was elected by the Electoral College,” he said.
“I might note for those of you curious about it, it was a deal cut in the constitution long, long ago to get states to agree to it.”
He said the issue of the electoral college was written in the constitution that gives states the power they needed, adding that every presidential candidate runs separate campaigns in every state because they have to win a majority.
Dr. Stonecash said to win the electoral college, one must get to the total, number of 270 out of the 538 Electoral College votes, and it leads to a very disaggregated election process.
How the U.S. electoral system works
Dr. Mark J. Rozell, an expert on the U.S. federal system of government, presidency, politics, and elections, in a separate session said the founders of the Republic decentralized authority significantly in creating the constitutional system, which means that they gave an enormous amount of independent power and authority to State and local governments.
“So given our two houses of Congress, members of the House of Representatives have two-year long terms of office, so every two years we’re electing the entire House of Representatives, but senators serve for six years and so we elect one third of the Senate every two years. For this election cycle, we’re going to be picking, of course, the president and vice president, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the open or contested seats in the Senate, whereas two thirds are still fulfilling the remainder of their terms beyond this year,” Dr. Rozell said.
Dr. Rozell said of the 538 electors at the Electoral College, 270 is the magic number, meaning that the candidate who gets 270 or more Electoral College votes becomes the president-elect of the United States.
“Now, if there were, for example, a candidate race, and this happens extremely rarely, and a third candidate got some electors to the Electoral College denying the two major party candidates, either one getting a majority, nobody gets 270 or more, then the election goes to the House of Representatives and the House of Representatives actually votes among the top three vote getters as to who should be the next president. You will have to go back to the early 19th century to have such a scenario, and that’s not going to happen this year unless there is a statistical oddity, which would be a perfect statistical tie of 269 to 269 which could happen but you can just imagine how incredibly unlikely that is,” he said.
Dr. Rozell said the winner-take-all system, State by State, is really important to understand as it relates to the presidential election.
“For example, today, there is a new poll that says in the national popularity contest, if the election were held today, Joe Biden has an eight percentage point lead over Donald Trump. [It]does not matter the national popular voters outcome, it depends on the distribution of votes across states.”
He says to illustrate that many states have populations that are so heavily concentrated in the Democratic Party or the Republican Party that there is really no competition in those states.
Dr. Rozell said California, New York and Maryland are heavily Democratic States and they know Joe Biden will win those states.
“The candidates will spend no time campaigning in those states because it is already a given. So we have what is called the swing states, the states where there actually is a competition between about five and 10 states total in each election cycle are the ones that make a difference, and that’s where the candidates end up spending almost all of their time,” he indicated.