A record number of women - perhaps more than 100 - could be elected in the US House of Representatives this autumn, in what experts believe is a backlash to the policies and rhetoric of President Donald Trump.
A new analysis suggests that between 30 and 40 women are expected to join the lower chamber of congress next January, following elections on 6 November. It is in the house where any impeachment proceedings against the president would begin.
There are also a number of new female candidates that appear to be headed for congress, such as New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, both of whom have already received considerable media attention. And the survey for NBC News confirms what appears to be a backlash to Mr Trump by women that started the day after his inauguration where thousands of women marched in protest; that the female gains will be led entirely by the Democratic Party, while Republicans are likely to have fewer congresswomen after November.
The analysis said this years’s wave is expected to exceed even that of 1992’s so-called “Year of the Woman”, when 24 new women joined the congress, setting what was then considered a new record. It said that the move was partly the result of a backlash against Clarence Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation. It added: “2018 is now clearly a backlash to President Donald Trump's election."
“Currently, there are 61 female Democrats and 23 female Republicans serving in the house,” it said.
“But after November, Democrats could expand their ranks of women by more than a third. Meanwhile, the GOP’s ranks could shrink by up to a third.”
NBC’s analysis was prepared by David Wasserman, an expert with the Cook Political Report, a respected and independent political research group that analyses seats across the country, and was among the first to identify what has been termed a Democratic blue wave.
Most experts believe it is now more likely that Democrats are more likely to retake the house than Republican are to hold it. To do so, they need to “flip” just 23 seats, and a recent analysis by The New York Times suggested as many as 40 of the 435 seats being contested in November are toss-ups.
Mr Trump is very aware that his political future could depend on what happens in November, even though his name is not on the ballot.
Speaking to supporters in Montana on Thursday night, Mr Trump said, perhaps half-jokingly, that if Republicans lost the house and he faced impeachment, it would be because insufficient numbers had gone out to vote for Republican candidates.
“We’ll worry about that if it ever happens,” he said. “But if it does happen it’s your fault, because you didn’t go out to vote.”
While it is the candidates for the house that have received the lion share of media attention, organisations such as the Centre for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, have reported on an increased number of women candidates in all seats, and many of them women of colour.
Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, is the first African-American woman to nominated by a major party for a governorship race. She is competing in Georgia with a progressive platform.
Paulette Jordan, the first Native American woman to be nominated for governor, is running for the Democrats in Idaho.
Ayanna Pressley is set to be the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts after winning the Democratic primary this week and who will run unopposed in November
“It seems like change is on the way,” she told her supporters after her win. “People feel seen and heard for the first time in their lives, a stakehold in democracy and a promise for our future.”
She added: “That is the real victory, that is bigger than any electoral victory. And I want to thank you all for being foot soldiers in this movement and for ushering in this change.”
Meanwhile, Marsha Blackburn, who is white, is also making history by being the first Republican woman nominated for the US Senate from Tennessee. RealClearPolitics which collates various polls, currently gives her Democratic challenger for the seat, Phil Bredesen, a narrow 1.3 per cent advantage.
Sara Fagen, who served as the White House political director to George W Bush when Republicans lost the house and Senate in the 2006 midterms, told Bloomberg News: “There is a confluence of things that suggest a very tough outcome for Republicans.”
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