By Susan Ladd, Greensboro.com
When 4 million women took to the streets in protest after the election of Donald Trump, that made a powerful statement. But it also prompted a question: Will it last?
The uprising of women that began with last year’s election is beginning to look like a movement instead of a moment.
Women formed groups, began organizing visits to legislators and spurred email and phone campaigns to block legislation they opposed. Emily’s List, an organization that supports pro-choice Democratic women in politics, saw a 2,000 percent increase in women expressing an interest in activism after the 2016 election. Many of them decided to run for office.
On Nov. 7, Democratic women — many of them first-time candidates — scored numerous electoral victories across the country. In places as different as Utah and Seattle, Wash., women won elections for mayor, lieutenant governor and state house.
“Virginia women ran in record numbers this year, and their victories are one big story of this election,” Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, said the day after the election. “Running as challengers, they defied conventional wisdom and predictions to score some surprising wins.”
Even the Greensboro City Council was swept by women in November. The only male left on that body is incumbent Justin Outling, who didn’t have a female challenger.
It appears women also may run in record numbers across the state in 2018, based on local candidates who have already declared, and a “Blue Monday” flood of Democratic women who announced last week.
In the local N.C. House districts being considered under court-ordered redistricting, longtime Republican incumbent John Blust will face Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, a former teacher and principal in Guilford County who now works as assistant superintendent for Thomasville schools. Health care executive Martha Shafer will challenge Rep. John Faircloth.