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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Gender

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May 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM

“Why Isn’t Every Year the Year of the Woman?”

Washington is often championed for its female leadership with two female senators and a female governor. Cantwell, Gregoire and Murray pictured here from October 2009. (photo from Patty Murray's Facebook page)

While Washington State is often highlighted for its female governor and two female senators, the focus has shifted to increase women representation in the statehouse.

Washington is often championed for its female leadership with two female senators and a female governor. Maria Cantwell, Christine Gregoire, and Patty Murray pictured here in October 2009. (Photo courtesy of Patty Murray's Facebook page)

SEATTLE – The 1992 election was dubbed the “Year of the Woman,” when Anita Hill’s treatment while testifying in the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, galvanized a movement. The all-male committee highlighted the dominance of men in the Senate, and women responded — that year, 24 new women were elected into the House of Representatives and five to the Senate, including Washington’s Patty Murray.

That uptick in female elected officials also made its way into the statehouse. In Washington, after the 1992 election, women represented 40% of the state legislature — more than any other state.

With that history in mind, and an outgoing female governor and two female senators, you’d think Washington State would be the poster child for states that represent women. But if you peek behind the curtain, you see that female representation in the state legislature has been slowly eroding since its apex in the early 1990s. Today, it stands at 32%.

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0 Comments | More in State | Topics: Christine Gregoire, Gender, Maria Cantwell

April 2, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Romney racks up endorsements; Women voters back Obama; Gingrich goes small; Tuesday's primaries

Romney adding to his list of endorsements In the last few days, Mitt Romney has picked up several endorsements. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Paul Ryan’s endorsements come just days before the Wisconsin primaries on Tuesday, April 3. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s endorsement, who has been speculated as a potential running…

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0 Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, DC primary, Election 2012

April 2, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Romney racks up endorsements; Women voters back Obama; Gingrich goes small; Tuesday’s primaries

Romney adding to his list of endorsements In the last few days, Mitt Romney has picked up several endorsements. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Paul Ryan’s endorsements come just days before the Wisconsin primaries on Tuesday, April 3. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s endorsement, who has been speculated as a potential running…

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0 Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, DC primary, Election 2012

March 9, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Reflections on International Women's Day and the 2012 presidential election

International Women's Day logo

International Women's Day logo. (Logo courtesy of www.internationalwomensday.com)

International Women’s Day occurred yesterday.

In 1909, the United States observed National Women’s Day, which inspired members at the International Women’s Conference to organize an international equivalent, and the first International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated in 1911.

The day is meant to celebrate the economic, political, and social achievements and advancements made by women, but also to bring awareness to gender inequality throughout the world.

Even though the idea for this day started in the United States, it doesn’t get a lot of attention here and tends to be a bigger celebration in other countries. Sarah Stuteville, co-founder and editor of the Common Language Project, reflected on her experience celebrating IWD in Mexico in a recent article for The Seattle Globalist: “I was surprised to find the streets filled with parades and vendors selling giant teddy bears in celebration of International Women’s Day. Random people greeted me with a cheerful “Feliz dia de la mujer.’”

For women in American politics, the double-edged sword that accompanies the celebration of International Women’s Day is something they also experience. American women in politics experience both triumph and defeat, opportunity and oppression.

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0 Comments | Topics: Barbara Jordan, Election 2012, Gender

March 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Contraception is 2012 wedge issue for Republicans and Democrats

During the last CNN debate in Arizona, the Republican presidential candidates were able to unanimously agree on one thing: their opposition to Barack Obama’s efforts to make employers cover contraception. The national debate between Republicans and Democrats about contraception has led to what Taegan Goddard of Political Wire has called the “birth of…

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0 Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, conservatives, contraception

February 22, 2012 at 6:30 AM

What do you call a presidential candidate? Names, titles, and the art of political name-calling

Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum

Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum (Photos courtesy of www.ronpaul2012.com, mittromney.com, newt.org, and ricksantorum.com)

Name recognition is big in politics. Amid a field of candidates for various offices, having voters know your name is key.

That’s why we still have the ultimate old school campaign technology: yard signs. They show support, yes, but more importantly they get a candidate’s name in the head of anyone who passes by. And in local races, name recognition, put simply, equals more votes. Think about Washington Congressman Jim McDermott — after more than 20 years in office, the guy’s got name recognition he banks on each election. Half of Seattle can probably spell his name in their sleep and check the box next to it.

At this point in the presidential race, most people know the names of the four Republican candidates: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. Mitt, Rick, Newt, and Ron: the GOP’s 2012 Final Four.

All this got me to thinking, what do we average voters call the candidates and why?

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0 Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Gender

February 13, 2012 at 6:30 AM

The culture war and Rick Santorum return to Washington: Susan G. Komen, contraception, Catholics, and same-sex marriage

Rick Santorum at the Cable Center in Denver, Colo., on Feb. 6. The candidate was talking with supporters at his campaign (Photo by Corey Christiansen / UW Election Eye)

The culture war is back.

Actually, it never left. Ideological struggles over reproductive rights, sexuality, gender norms, evolution, and public religious expressions have continued apace, but have taken a backseat to the worst economic crisis the nation has faced since the Great Depression. National unemployment rates crested over 10% in 2009 and now reside at 8.3%, leading some conservatives to call for a “truce” on social issues in this election.

It isn’t back with the same strength as the mid-2000s, when conservative opponents of abortion rights and same-sex marriage were on the winning political side. In 2003, Congress passed legislation banning late-term abortions and the next year 11 states passed ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage. The conservative energy behind these laws helped George W. Bush secure a second term in the White House. Times have changed: political progressives are now on the offense.

So it isn’t quite a full-on culture war — yet. That could change today, however, when our own Washington state becomes the epicenter of one front of this clash: same-sex marriage.

And one thing to note: Rick Santorum has been waiting for this moment, while Mitt Romney has been dreading it.

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0 Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Caucuses, Christine Gregoire

January 19, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Wife #3

BEAUFORT — Marianne Ginther, the second wife of Newt Gingrich, sat for an interview that will air tonight on ABC’s Nightline. In an already released clip of the interview, Marianne claims that Newt asked her for an “open marriage” during his six-year affair with then-congressional staffer Callista Bisek.

Time for me to give some attention to wife #3, I decided.

At a rally yesterday in Warrenville, SC, a woman shouted, “Mr. Gingrich, your wife would make a beautiful First Lady.” I have seen Callista Gingrich at a few events in South Carolina, and yes, she is beautiful.

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0 Comments | Topics: Callista Gingrich, Gender, Newt Gingrich