As midterm elections creep closer, things are not looking good for the Democrats. The Washington Post Election Lab is showing a very high probability of the GOP not only retaining their majority in the House, but also taking back the Senate.
This outcome is typical of an administration’s sixth year in power — the “six-year itch,” as it is called, is the name given to a familiar pattern in which the nation’s frustration toward the President and his party results in a significant loss of congressional seats.
Though the numbers look grim, the flesh and blood elections contain a glimmer of hope. Three of the most competitive and important Senatorial battles (Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia) feature very strong Democratic contenders, all of whom happen to be women running against Republican men.
Alison Grimes, Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Michelle Nunn are all polling within three points of their male competitors, Mitch McConnell, Thom Tillis, and either Jack Kingston or David Perdue, depending on the results of the runoff election, respectively.
Additionally, all three of these women performed spectacularly according to their penultimate fiscal reports, with Grimes raising $4 million, Hagan raising $3.6 million and Nunn raising $3.5 million.
The closeness of these elections during the six-year itch is a testament to this moment of women’s issues. With the recent backlash over the Hobby Lobby case and upswing in the marketability of feminism, gender issues have become hot-button voter priorities.
The outcome of these elections will be very telling — if women’s issues are important enough this time to buck the time-worn pattern, it’ll be clear that this feminist trend is too weighty to be just that — it’ll become an ingrained part of campaign expectations, a crucial part of a candidate’s platform.
A win for these women could mean more than Democratic success. It could mean the endurance of the women’s rights movement.