On Saturday, a report by the Washington Post revealed that more candidates are running for a seat in the US Senate in the upcoming midterm elections than ever before in the history of American politics.
The total number has broken all previous records at this point in the election cycle since 1977 when the Federal Election Commission first started tracking the candidate filings.
Midterm Elections Set a New Record
By the beginning of 2018, at least 1,200 people from the Democratic Party and more than 800 candidates from the Republican side had filed for candidacy for either the House or the Senate, according to the Washington Post last week. Although the motivation behind the sudden surge in candidates for the midterm elections isn’t clear yet, people are speculating that one of the significant factors is the increasing opposition towards Donald Trump.
There was a similar surge from the Republican side during the 2010 midterms after Barack Obama claimed his first victory as the President of the United States, which helped GOP claim majority in the House with an army of 745 candidates. Now, Donald Trump’s offensive remarks against women have created a surge in female candidates as well. Almost 374 women have filed for candidacy and are hoping to get a seat in the House of Representatives whereas 42 are aiming for the Senate in a clear backlash to Trump’s presidency.
More Female Representation Than Ever Before
The previous record for female candidacy in midterm elections was set in 2012 with as many as 298 women seeking a leadership role in the U.S. politics. However, the number this year has smashed last term’s record. It seems that even Hillary Clinton’s failure to become America’s first female president hasn’t deterred women from entering the political arena. On the contrary, Clinton’s defeat has started a women’s wave as more female Democratic women are determined to dethrone Republican incumbents in the midterm elections.
Many of the first-time female candidates have admitted that the current president’s views of women have compelled them to run for the elected office. They are hopeful that the emerging wave of feminism can help recreate 1992’s ‘Year of the Woman’ where a similar surge in harassment scandals against women triggered a sudden increase in the number of female politicians in Congress. If predictions from experts come true, 2018 could become an even bigger year for women than 1992.
The Real Motivational Factor
Mikie Sherrill is one of the many female candidates hoping to become a congresswoman in the upcoming elections. The mother of four and former navy pilot says that she decided to enter politics after Trump was elected as President last year. Sherrill, who has previously worked as a government lawyer, says that she has never in her life witnessed a leader who poses as big of a threat to the democracy as Trump. Sherrill has spent most of her life supporting the causes which have recently come under attack by the current president, including racial and gender equality.
Her decision to run for congress wasn’t just backed by the motivation to defend the causes that she had long stood behind, but also to protect the future of her four children. However, Sherrill faces fierce competition from Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican congressman who has remained undefeated in the elections for the past 27 years. There may be a glimmer of hope for Sherrill to take Frelinghuysen seat due to the declining support for Republican candidates in the past decade.
Researchers from American Women and Politics Center think that the shocking figures of the 2018 political candidacy suggest that a historic movement is on its way, and it has more to do with the presidency of Donald Trump than any other factor. It’s hard to determine the real motivation behind these women to participate in the upcoming elections, but from the stories and statements gathered so far, it is evident that the majority of these women are rising in backlash to the current administration.