Women Are Furious, Frightened And Voting

By Joan Michelson

The 2022 midterm election, now only 73 days away, is shaping up to be driven by women voters, who have only had that right for 102 years today, when that right was ratified in the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920. TargetSmart reported surges of new voter registrations by women across the country, far outpacing men in some states, especially battleground states like Pennsylvania – where women were over 56% of them, 12% more than new male voter registrations. That’s only since the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade in what’s known as the Dobbs decision, taking away women’s rights to their reproductive health decisions and putting the lives of millions of women and girls at risk.

Tom Bonier, CEO Of TargetSmart posted on Twitter that, “”We are seeing early signs of what could lead to a huge increase in women voting in November. These registration patterns closely resemble that of younger voters in ’18 post-Parkland, which fueled the blue wave that year. This surge is young and female.”

The fight for abortion rights, and threats to our democracy and from climate change are driving women voters.

Screenshot – Surge in women registering to vote in 2022, post Dobbs decision – from TargetSmart CEO on Twitter. Photo: TargetSmart

Women are mad as hell about their abortion rights being taken away

Across the country, it is becoming more and more evident that women are exercising that right to vote, fired up to protect abortion rights. The starkest examples are the sweeping victory of the Kansas ballot to protect women’s reproductive rights a few weeks ago, and the clear win by the Democrat Pat Ryan in the upstate New York swing district #19’s special election this week, who focused his campaign on protecting abortion rights. 

It’s not just the Supreme Court ruling, but the ripple effect that has had on women in states with so-called trigger laws that go into effect right away with the decision, as well as (mostly white male) state legislatures voting to ban or restrict abortion rights too. This map compiled by The New York Times on which states ban or block abortions paints a stark picture of how many millions of women are being denied the right to control their own bodies.

Screenshot – NYT maps on states w abortion bans & blocks – 8-25-2022. Photo: New York Times Map

“Threats to democracy” is now the number one issue for midterm voters

“Threats to democracy” came in as the number one issue for registered voters in a new NBC News poll, at 21%, overtaking cost of living, crime, and abortion. Obviously, abortion has massively energized women, especially Democratic women, and also some Republican and Independent women, as the recent election victories show. 

It’s interesting to note that most of the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 were white men. There are plenty of women who support the GOP positions and the former president too, of course.

Climate is driving women to the polls too

A school bus makes its way on the flooded Hopper Rd. on September 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Photo: Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

As millions of women see their homes, businesses and communities washed away or burned to the ground by extreme weather events from hurricanes to wildfires – like the deluge in Texas and other areas of the U.S. this week – they are taking their fear of climate change to the polls too. 

A recent Yale study on Politics & Global Warming, 2022,found that “six in 10 registered Democrats say the climate crisis will be a very important factor when they decide who to vote for in November, By contrast, global warming is near or at the bottom of congressional voting priorities among Republicans.” This study was done before the Inflation Reduction Act, with its $369 billion to address climate change, was passed.

Another new Yale study found that 78% of college-educated women think global warming is happening (compared to 72% of college-educated men). It found that 39% of all registered voters “say a candidate’s position on global warming will be ‘very important’ when they decide who they will vote for in the 2022 congressional elections.” Sixty-four percent are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming and climate change, with 30% “very worried.” It’s worth noting that over half of the respondents were women, 51%.

Women gained the right to vote 102 years ago – in 1920

Many people still think women gained the right to vote automatically when the United States of America was founded, but they did not. At that time, only white men could vote and it took about 100 years of protests, jail time, blood, sweat and tears for black men to gain the right to vote, and then another almost 60 years for women to finally have their rights to vote ratified.

Women do not take their right to vote – or any rights – for granted, so they are exercising that right in droves this year, with women voter registrations soaring. 

What will happen in November’s midterms?

We’ll find out, but looks like women voters will certainly be speaking loud and clear when they vote.