Episode 16: Will the Women’s March Become a Political Force Like the Tea Party Movement?

In this episode we discuss the possibilities of the Women’s March growing into a political force like the 2010 Tea Party movement.

Segment 1: The Tea Party Brought New Voters Into Republican Primaries…Will the Women’s March Do the Same for Democrats?

  • Across the country, Tea Party candidates have been successful in Republican Primaries since 2010 by appealing to voters who are not traditional Republicans and do not traditionally vote in primaries.
  • Two clear examples of this phenomenon include: Rand Paul in Kentucky in 2010, who was unpopular among a large number of Republican voters (Grayson’s Supporters, PPP, May 18, 2010) and Congressman Dave Brat who famously defeated House majority leader Eric Cantor (GOP pollsters missed big in Va., Politico, June 12th, 2014).
  • If we see a lasting impact from the women’s marches, we may see the beginnings of the impact in Democratic primaries beginning in 2018. For an interesting article on how the women’s marches may impact Democratic Party politics, see this article from NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald. Clearly, the women’s march may develop into a movement that will resist being completely overtaken by the Democratic Party.

Segment 2: How Will the Women’s March Impact the 2018 General Election?

  • In the aftermath of the women’s marches, President Trump sent a tweet implying that these women did not vote. In reality it is highly likely that they did, as a group of political scientists suggest on The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog.
  • The real question will be whether the historically large size of the women’s marches points to an uptick in voting in next year’s midterm elections, which would be to the detriment of House and Senate Republicans in swing states and districts.
  • However, there is evidence to suggest that the impact of the women’s marches may be only or mostly felt in Blue states. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight points out that 80% of the total crowds in the women’s marches came from states where both President Obama and Hillary Clinton won. He compares that number to the original Tea Party protests on April 15th, 2009, where only 42% of crowds were in McCain/Trump states and an impressive 33% were in Blue states. So, where Senators like Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania were able to capitalize on Tea Party energy in 2010, it remains to be seen whether the energy from the women’s marches will have much of an impact beyond areas that are traditionally Democratic strongholds.
  • On another note, it’s important to also remember the fate of Tea Party candidates like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle in 2010. Simply because candidates are able to harness the energy of the women’s marches in a Democratic Primary does not mean that that energy will translate to success in a General Election.

Segment 3: What Are the Issues That Will Likely Drive the Women’s March Movement?

  • While the women’s marches do share some common characteristics with past successful social movements, as discussed here on The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, the one question that remains to be answered is whether there is a sufficiently coherent goal that they are directing energy toward.
  • CNN contributor Salena Zito raised this point in a column for CNN.com.
  • Simply put, it remains to be seen whether the women’s marches will evolve into a movement with long-standing influence, but the sheer number of marchers on the weekend after President Trump’s nomination suggests a movement that the Republican Party and, especially, the Democratic Party need to understand in advance of the 2018 midterm elections.
By | 2017-05-24T03:25:48+00:00 February 9th, 2017|