YOUNG VOT­ERS EN­SURE DI­VER­SITY IN U.S. CON­GRESS

The New Indian Express - - EDITORIAL -

Apart from the broad con­tours—the Democrats get­ting an up­per hand in the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Repub­li­cans tight­en­ing con­trol over the Se­nate—the big­gest takeaway from the Amer­i­can mid-term re­sults is the in­creased rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women, be­sides many other firsts. (It was a bit of a washout though for the ‘samosa cau­cus’— can­di­dates of In­dian ori­gin.) The 116th Con­gress will have 22-23 per cent women. Up from 105 in 2016 to 118, quite re­mark­ably they also lend a rich, rain­bow feel to the Con­gress—coloured women, re­li­gious mi­nori­ties, Na­tive Amer­i­can, LGBTQ. Among those elected is the youngest Con­gress­woman, the first ever Mus­lim Con­gress­women (two of them), the first Black Con­gress­women from Mas­sachusetts and Con­necti­cut. There will be no less than 40 coloured women in the US Con­gress now. For a coun­try yet to elect a wo­man pres­i­dent and where women in pol­i­tics have been a rar­ity, un­like in South Asia, this in­deed is a his­toric mile­stone.

A more fo­cused look at the num­bers also throws up a slightly wor­ry­ing bi­par­ti­san trend. Women won mostly on the Demo­crat side; many of the Repub­li­can women can­di­dates lost. This clearly mir­rors the na­ture of the voter-base of the par­ties—the Democrats open­ing the doors to a new multi-cul­tural, multi-eth­nic, gen­der-neu­tral gen­er­a­tion and the Repub­li­cans stay­ing close to a largely white, male Chris­tian world­view of an older gen­er­a­tion. As an up­set Trump sacked his at­tor­ney gen­eral in an­tic­i­pa­tion of trou­ble and in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his ad­min­is­tra­tion from a Demo­crat ma­jor­ity house, a re­port on Rus­sian dal­liance in the US elec­tions is awaited. Trump did rightly point out that the Repub­li­cans un­der him have lost only 35-36 con­gres­sional seats com­pared to 50-60 the Demo­crat pres­i­dents Bill Clin­ton and Barack Obama had lost, but the mid-term polls showed the mil­len­nial and younger vot­ers seem to be swing­ing to­wards the Democrats, even though it was not en­tirely a blue sweep. How the newly elected per­form would now be of vi­tal in­ter­est.

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