State of the Union
Updated: Jun 21
Where do Democrats' chances stand heading into Summer 2020?
For most of us at Women to Win, the 2020 election is the most important of our lifetime. We have watched with increasing horror the direction the United States is going in, politically. We have seen the effects of the President’s, and the Republican Party’s disastrous policies fall disproportionately on women, especially on marginalized and vulnerable women. We know that many of our friends, our family, and our colleagues feel the same way. We want to give people a place to change that direction, by helping to elect Democratic women. We know that voting is not the only way to create change, and nor is voting enough to create lasting, progressive policies that center people and make society more just and more equitable. But we believe voting is a crucial tool in the toolbox, and plan to do everything we can to support Democratic women in the 2020 elections.
An introductory analysis of Senate and House races follows. An analysis of the State races will be addressed in a subsequent article.
No matter what happens in the 2020 Presidential election, winning the Senate is crucial for Democrats to have any chance of passing a progressive agenda - things like a Green New Deal, enforcing healthcare as a right, and holding corporations accountable to citizens. And, if Republicans win the presidency again, Democrats need to control the Senate in order to blunt the worst of the Administration's policies.
Currently, there are 53 Republicans in the Senate, and 45 Democrats, along with two Independents who caucus with the Democrats. There are 35 seats up for election in 2020, and Democrats are defending far fewer seats than they were in 2018, putting them, effectively, on offense in this election cycle. Democrats need a net gain of three seats to take control of the Senate if a Democrat wins the presidency, and four if a Republican wins. One recent analysis showed Democrats with a slight advantage to gain three (3) Senate seats, and a 50% chance of gaining four (4) seats. (Is that hope we feel?)
Right now, Democrats’ best chances to flip seats are in Maine, North Carolina, Colorado, and Arizona. Democratic women are running for Senate in Maine, North Carolina, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas and Idaho. To learn about how to support these women, and help flip the Senate in 2020, click the links in the previous sentence.
2018 was a new Year of the Woman in the House. In the 2020 elections, Democrats are trying to defend their all-important majority and reinforce the Congressional bulwark against the Republican Senate and White House. 89 Democratic women won seats in 2018, and many seats flipped from red to blue. Currently, there are 233 Democrats in the House, and 189 Republicans. There is one Libertarian, and five vacant seats. The current Democratic-lead house has advanced some of the most progressive legislation in a decade - from the structural civic reforms of H.R. 1 to most recently, the HEROES Act, a Covid-19 recovery bill that included provisions for immigrants and undocumented people living in the U.S.
In order to continue that trajectory, Democrats need to gain seats in the House, not just defend their majority. Two recent special elections for the vacant seats in California-25 and Wisconsin-07, point to some trouble for Democrats in 2020, and unfortunately, saw the defeat of two Democratic women. Special elections aside, Democrats currently lead in generic polls to win the House in 2020, but by a lower margin than in 2018.
Dozens of Democratic women are running for House seats in 2020, and many of them are just in their first terms, already trying to defend their seats. The House is lead by the most powerful woman in Congress. Unfortunately, many Democratic women are running in gerrymandered and/or Republican districts.
They'll need tremendous support in a Presidential election cycle to win or keep seats, and keep Pelosi in power. Winning the House was a bright spot in 2018, and Women to Win intends to help keep it in 2020.