Sonya Michel

Women and American Politics: Another Great Awakening?

In the days following the upset victory of Democratic candidate Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, journalists and pundits searched for reasons why his GOP opponent, Rick Saccone, lost in a cluster of southwestern counties that Donald Trump had carried by 20 points. While many saw the race as a bellwether of Trump’s waning popularity, others zeroed in on the personal qualities and positions of the two men, and some pointed to the role of labor unions in a heavily working-class region. For these latter analysts, union support was more or less synonymous with the grassroots, but what was missing in this equation was the impact of newly-formed women’s networks in the Pittsburgh suburbs whose members fanned out not only in their own neighborhoods but in the rural areas where support for Trump had once been strongest. As one GOP voter told The New York Times, “if it wasn’t Lamb yard signs, it was his supporters knocking on doors.” Many of the doorknockers belonged to those networks of women.

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