2014 Election Results Are a Disappointment for Women & Families

woman walking into her polling placeLet's be honest: Today wasn't exactly a banner day for Democratic women. Those of us who vote blue knew that there were very high chances we'd get pummeled in the midterm elections by Republicans, despite doing our civic duty to get out and vote.

But after weeks of watching our email inboxes burst at the virtual seams with desperate pleas for donations, we woke up to discover that our worst fears had come to fruition. The GOP won the Senate and will maintain command of the House of Representatives.

Party politics aside, the fact that it seems the American people came out in support of overwhelmingly conservative representation should unnerve all women.

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Oh, sure, you can all take heart in the fact that Republican candidates like Elise Stefanik in New York (the youngest GOP woman ever to Congress), Shelley Moore Capito (the first woman from West Virginia to win a Senate seat), and Mia Love in Utah (the first black female Republican to be voted into Congress) show the party making some progress. The party's seemingly evolving change of heart on gay rights is promising, too.

But the GOP is still the party that refuses to pass equal pay for women. While the Democrats have been trying to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Republicans have filibustered the bill and turned a blind eye to conversations about it.

This is the party that spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which means trying to do away the incredible access to preventative care the law has provided to 48 million women, including birth control without a copay (saving women $483 million in one year!), breastfeeding support, and well-woman visits.

Although various states managed to pass minimum wage bumps, the GOP is the party that oppose these hikes for workers, arguing that paying workers a living wage will ultimately put more people out of work and hurt women economically. Twisted logic, when you consider that raising the minimum wage actually helps women and families have more spending power.

The GOP is the party that wants to limit access to abortion and support an employer's right to make a woman's health care decisions (see: Hobby Lobby case and the Blunt Amendment).

That said, American women deserve better than the Republican party. We deserve representatives who will acknowledge that this is the 21st century, that there are certain battles we should not be fighting anymore and others we need to win already.

Thankfully, we can rest assured we did enjoy certain victories last night. In addition to the minimum wage wins in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, voters rejected extreme anti-abortion measures posed by Republicans in Colorado and North Dakota. And in Washington state, a measure was approved requiring all gun sales to be accompanied by background checks, a law that failed to pass in the wake of the shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

What's more, pundits believe that this blowout for the GOP is actually good news for Democrats in 2016. If you look at the map and the math, liberals will have the upper hand in two years, when for every Senate seat that Republicans nabbed last night, there's one -- or more -- that is likely to flip back to the Democrats when we go to the polls in two years. And the chances to win back the upper chamber of Congress also bodes well for the Democratic presidential nominee (Hillary Clinton, perhaps?). Hurray!

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But hey, no matter what side of the aisle you're on, at least we can ALL come together on one thing: The fact that there are now 100 women in Congress for the first time. No matter which party they represent, the mere fact that we're finally starting to see gender equality in our representation is a cause for celebration.

Where do you stand on this year's election results?

 

Image via iStock.com/YinYang

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