It’s hard for women candidates to challenge the party structure
I just read the March 23 letter about electing more women to office. I share the letter writer’s hope that the next generation of voters, having witnessed the events in Parkland, Fla., will persist to make changes in our government. However, she does not address how difficult it is to interface with these voters.
Having seen a breakdown of the 2017 vote in Amherst and Erie County as an Erie County Democratic Committee member, the most blue area was the North Campus of the University at Buffalo. However, the number of people who voted there was dismally low. I’ve also observed how difficult young voters are to reach. Without landlines and with many changes of address, investing in increasing their participation yields few new voters. The only way to reach most voters under 30 is through social media.
Also, the letter writer fails to note how difficult it is for women to challenge the traditional male-dominated local party structure to get on the ballot. We responded to the call, after the 2016 election, to “run for something.” We are organized at the grass-roots level. We are writing checks to Democratic women candidates. We also can secure funding men can’t through groups like Emily’s List and Eleanor’s Legacy.
In my dream bubble, I’d recruit only women and minority candidates. I share U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s belief that there should be nine women on the Supreme Court because there have been nine men and no one ever questioned that.
But I cannot really advocate for electing women for the sake of increasing the number of women in office. There are stellar candidates and elected officials who are white men and I’ve proudly carried their petitions to be on the ballot and have seen their excellence once in office.
For example, at this point in time, I don’t see voting for Cynthia Nixon in a primary against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. We need quality candidates and I believe, as the letter writer does, that women have traits that will make them desirable as candidates and highly qualified once in office.
Helaine Sanders, LMSW, JD