Tag Archives: US Congress

The Partisan Gap Amongst Female Politicians is Likely to Get Worse

If I’m being honest, when I first read the title of this journal article “A partisan gap in the supply of female potential candidates in the United States,” I didn’t think twice. Pew often publishes surveys/research that seemed to indicate that the gap between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, with regard to women candidates, was very unequal. As a result, I didn’t expect to be surprised when reading the journal article. However, there was one section that I think is especially important [Emphasis Added]:

Previous studies demonstrating single digit gender gaps in US party identification have not been able to explain the much larger gap when it comes to US elected officials. But representatives do not emerge from the public at large: they are disproportionately individuals with high education, high occupational prestige, and clear partisan preferences.

The researchers are implying that the people who run for office aren’t usually representative of the population at large (something we already knew). The important part here, though, is that they used this assumption to extrapolate to future Congress’s [Emphasis Added]:

By estimating the gender composition of this select group by partisanship, we find that the partisan gender gap is much larger among the kinds of citizens who tend to become representatives and that the emergence of this gap was contemporaneous with the historical emergence of a partisan gender gap in the US House.

Meaning, amongst those people who are more likely to seek political office, there is a larger gender gap than there is amongst the general population. Taking this one step further [Emphasis Added]:

Given the current associations between gender, partisanship, and other attributes among the public, the data suggest that future generational replacement may exacerbate the already significant gap in women’s descriptive representation between the parties, potentially reshaping the behavior of each party’s elected officials, the quality of representation available to diverse members of the public, and opinions of the public toward the Republican and Democratic parties.

Translation: if things continue as they are, the gender gap between Democrats and Republicans is likely to get worse — much worse — and it’s already pretty bad.

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Given how things can shift from year-to-year (or session-to-session), it’s hard to too confident in categorically saying that the Democrats will continue to have more women in their ranks than the Republicans. However, the data certainly seem to point to things not getting better.

While my views tend to lean to the liberal side of the spectrum, I’d still like to see more women represented in the Republican party. They are one of the two dominant (only? viable?) parties in the US and if there’s only one party that’s represented by women, that won’t necessarily lead to the best decisions for women or for Americans (and by extension, citizens of the world in general).

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Assuming that Hillary Clinton is able to become the first woman POTUS, I’d be really curious to see the result of a longitudinal study on women in politics. Theoretically, by having a Madam President, there’d be a role model for young women to aspire to. So, I’d want to test the attitudes of young women (pre-teens and teens) every year for the next 20+ years to see if there is an increase in the number of young women who aspire to be Congresswomen, Senators, and maybe even President of the United States! My hypothesis is that there’d be an increase in the desire amongst the people tested, but as the research earlier in this post alluded to, in order for there to be an increase in the number of women in politics, there needs to be an increase in the number of women who are more likely to run for President from that group of people.

ResearchBlogging.orgCrowder-Meyer, M., & Lauderdale, B. (2014). A partisan gap in the supply of female potential candidates in the United States Research & Politics, 1 (1) DOI: 10.1177/2053168014537230

House Republicans are Trying to Change Their Homework… After It Should Have Already Been Handed In

While not a perfect metaphor, I can’t help but think of due dates and assignments as the fiscal cliff drama continues to unfold today. The latest has it that the House Republicans are not happy with the deal that the Senate passed earlier this morning and that they want to make amendments. Under normal circumstances, this is perfectly normal. The two chambers often make amendments to the bills the other has passed and then approve/disapprove, accordingly.

However, this time, it feels more like House Republicans have waited until the extreme last minute to complete their assignment… but now aren’t happy with the way that it looks. Everyone has known that the sequester has been in place for over a year (!) back when there was an agreement on the debt ceiling fight. There’s been plenty of time to craft a bill that everyone can agree to and avoid this New Year‘s Day farce. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happened.

In the last few days, the Speaker of the House said — essentially — that it was up to the Senate to pass a bill, so that the House could then vote on said bill. So, that’s exactly what the Senate did last night (or earlier this morning, depending on how you refer to the hours after midnight). As an aside, a huge thank you to all the Senate staffers who had to work through New Year’s eve. I can’t imagine that it was what they thought they’d be doing to ring in 2013. The Senate passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support — 89 (out of 100) Senators voted for it.

So, now it’s up to the House to bring the bill to the floor and have a majority of it members vote to pass the bill. Unfortunately, the House Republicans want to amend the bill. They don’t like what’s in it. They don’t think it should pass as is. As I said earlier, under normal circumstances, this would be perfectly normal. However, the circumstances aren’t normal. The “due date” for this “assignment” was last night at midnight (and they didn’t hand it in on time). There’s a “hand it in late deadline” of Thursday and it looks like, if things continue the way they are continuing, that they’re going to blow right through that deadline, too. I certainly hope not.

When you’ve waited ’til the last minute to complete an assignment, you only have a certain number of hours to work with to get it done (I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of working on an assignment the night before [or the morning of] it’s due). It might not be your best work, but depending on the policies in the syllabus, you don’t necessarily have the option of delaying and handing it in well after the deadline. This is what’s happening today in Congress. The House needs to bring the bill to the floor  and pass it — posthaste.