Sunday, July 17, 2016

ICYMI !!! Excerpts from: “The Long, Hard Fight To Finally Get A Woman At The Top Of The Ticket” By the Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel and Christine Connetta

Thank you to Florida for Hillary for sharing both the story and the meme on Twitter!

(You can share visit them on Twitter here!)

Seriously, if you missed the Terkel/Connetta article recently published in the Huffington Post, put aside an hour or so today to read one of the best pieces of work I've seen in media for a long time.
It's historic, informative, timely and a great lesson in just whose shoulders women stand on as Democrats prepare to vote a woman to be the 2016 Democratic nominee for President of the United States – for the first time.
Out of respect for the work done by all who were involved in bringing this mixed media story to "press", I have limited my excerpts to just enough to tempt you to read the story in it's entirety. What follows are some highlights of what you will see when you click the link to the story below:
They deserve to have to go directly to the story to be counted as a reader of it.

Trust me and do it! TY!

➡️ In 1952, when Nancy D’Alesandro was 12, her father ― then the mayor of Baltimore ― brought her with him to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Young Nancy D’Alesandro grew up to be Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House.
➡️ The Huffington Post spoke with Pelosi and other Democratic women who have fought their whole lives to make this moment possible ― from shifting the conventions’ decision making out of those male-only smoke-filled backrooms to electing female candidates to political offices across the country.
➡️ These women have waited their whole lives to see a woman in the White House. And they’ll be in Philadelphia later this month to see Clinton accept the nomination.
➡️ Here: A fabulous graphic of “Historic Moments For Democratic Women” from 1900 to 2016
➡️ Women have attended every Democratic convention since the first in 1832, but for decades they were just guests and observers, supporting the men running the show. It wasn’t until 1900 that the first woman attended as a delegate, and not until 1920 did women have the constitutional right to vote in the election.  
➡️ In 1951, President Harry Truman asked DNC official India Edwards, a former Chicago journalist and longtime party activist, to be party chair. She declined, arguing that men in the party weren’t ready for a woman to lead them.

“I feel that if it were a year earlier, then I might be willing to run the risk,” Edwards said she told Truman. “But it is too close to a presidential election, and if anything went wrong they’d blame it on the woman. ... I’ll tell you, Mr. President, if I were chairman of the committee, I would be so busy protecting my rear I could never look forward.”

But the party was changing ― and so was the country.
➡️ Four years later, the concerns that many in the party had about their lack of representation spilled out in front of a national television audience when the Chicago convention erupted in violence. Inside the hall, fights broke out, motivated largely by tensions over the Vietnam War. Outside the hall, a small army of police, National Guardsmen and Army troops mobilized by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley clashed violently with thousands of protesters who had come to the city.

“What came out of that was a sense that we needed to open up the process of conventions,” said Joanne Howes, a longtime Democratic activist. “That it shouldn’t just be smoke-filled rooms and these guys making all these decisions. Small-d democrats should be part of the decision-making process.” 
➡️ Ann Lewis was in her 30s, working for the mayor of Boston, when a friend invited her to an organizing meeting for the National Women’s Political Caucus in the early 1970s. Pioneering feminists like Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan, Millie Jeffrey and Gloria Steinem had started the new group to make sure that women, not just women’s issues, would be part of the political process.

“You know that famous ‘click’? That was my click,” remembered Lewis, who was political director for the Democratic National Committee from 1981 to 1985, served in President Bill Clinton’s administration and later worked as a top adviser to Hillary Clinton. “Because here were all these women saying, ‘We work for equality through the political process.’ But equality in the political process? Why is it when you walk through a campaign headquarters, the women are out front making phone calls, doing the work, and the guys are in the backroom doing meetings? We’re better than this. We’ve got more talent than this.” 
➡️ Early on, the NWPC ― which was then bipartisan ― recognized the importance of the conventions. The group’s goal, according to Steinem’s autobiography My Life on the Road, was to increase “the number and diversity of women and delegates to both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions of 1972, and to get the Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive freedom, and other basic issues of equality written into both parties’ platforms.”  

➡️ But as Germond, Lewis and the NWPC worked for change behind the scenes, Rep. Shirley Chisholm decided to step forward and run. A fiercely progressive black congresswoman from New York, Chisholm sought the 1972 presidential nomination herself, jumping into a crowded Democratic field.
➡️ The NWPC made its first appearance at the Democratic convention that year, with members going as either delegates or attendees pushing to ensure that feminists were heard. The group managed to insert a “Rights of Women” section with an endorsement of the Equal Rights Amendment into the platform...
➡️ One notable advancement in 1972 was that, for the first time, a woman of color served as the convention’s vice chair. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke hadn’t even planned on attending, because she was busy running for Congress in Los Angeles and had just gotten married. Unbeknownst to her, the rules committee had selected her for the job. She was, in many ways, the ideal choice: She satisfied African-Americans who wanted a black vice chair and feminists who wanted a woman.

She first heard about her historic role when reporters showed up outside her house.
➡️ Some men lamented the newly serious role for women. In “Year of the Woman,” a “fantasy” documentary about the 1972 convention, Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald reminisced about the “hurdy-gurdy” of the old days, when “the streets were full of young girls dancing, pretty girls in their skirts and saddle shoes and waving pom-poms.” 

➡️ For all the missteps, 1972 was still a turning point...
“It gave genesis to a lot of women saying, ‘Whoa, we need to get involved here,’” she said. Germond and some friends started meeting at each other’s kitchen tables and eventually launched the Los Angeles chapter of the NWPC. They surveyed the landscape of races where a woman could run a credible campaign, and by 1976, they had their first female member of the California state Senate.

All over the country, other women were holding similar meetings ― and winning similar victories.

➡️ The 1976 convention saw other victories for women, like the keynote address from Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-Texas), the first woman and first African-American to deliver such a speech at the Democrats’ big event. Jordan had come to national attention two years earlier, with her eloquently thunderous denunciations of President Richard Nixon during the Watergate hearings.

Feminist leaders succeeded in getting an equal division rule adopted at the Democrats’ 1978 midterm gathering. It went into effect at the 1980 convention, again in New York, and remains the rule today.
➡️ “The big thing that went on at these conventions was the fancy parties,” said Pat Schroeder, who went to her first convention in 1980 as a congresswoman from Colorado. “And usually, women weren’t invited to the fancy parties. Women usually had a couple of women’s caucus meetings and things like that. We were going to meetings. The guys were going to parties.”
➡️ Ellen Malcolm, a former NWPC press secretary, said that many of the existing women’s groups simply didn’t have the resources to make a difference in elections.
“By and large, except for a handful of congresswomen, when it came to big-time politics, women were nothing more than envelope stuffers,” she wrote in her autobiography, When Women Win.“Washington was essentially a men’s club.”

So Malcolm and 20 other women decided to create a donor network of women and men who would contribute money to certain approved female candidates. The plan was to get money to them early in their campaigns ― a way of convincing the old boys’ network that female candidates could be viable and deserving of establishment support. That effort became EMILY’s List, which today has more than 3 million members and is a powerhouse in the Democratic Party. (EMILY originally stood for “Early Money Is Like Yeast.”)

Eleanor Smeal, then president of the National Organization for Women, was one of the first people to notice that women were voting differently from men. She looked at the data from the 1980 presidential election and saw that women’s support for Jimmy Carter exceeded men’s by 8 percentage points, while men leaned more toward Ronald Reagan.

Against that backdrop, people began to suggest that the Democrats might pick a woman to run for vice president in 1984.

➡️ (Geraldine) Ferraro’s nomination remains a defining moment for many Democratic women.

In the end, Mondale and Ferraro lost by a landslide, and Americans would have to wait a long time to see another woman on a major-party ticket.

➡️ I'm just going to note the subtitle here: “‘I Guess Togas Don’t Come In A Size 14 Petite’” and tell you it is a Senator Mikulski quote!
➡️ Other female politicians were also criticized, sometimes harshly, for not fitting a male mold.

Then-Rep. Pat Schroeder chaired the presidential campaign of fellow Coloradan Gary Hart. The former senator was a strong candidate for the 1988 Democratic nomination until his scandal-tinged withdrawal in early 1987. Schroeder explored running in his place but eventually announced she wouldn’t do so in an emotional press conference ― at which she cried some. 

The backlash was intense. 
➡️ But the 1988 Democratic convention did offer a memorable high point for women, when Ann Richards, then the Texas state treasurer, became just the second woman in 160 years to give the convention’s keynote address. She delivered these unforgettable lines about the power of women: “But if you give us a chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”
➡️ Another sub-title here: “The Anita Hill Wake-Up Call” (Not a good time for either side of the aisle.)
➡️ The fact that there were no women on the Senate committee hearing Hill’s complaint stirred up greater interest in electing women, said Malcolm, the EMILY’s List founder. Congresswomen in the House were infuriated with what was happening in the upper chamber, and a number of them took to the floor on Oct. 9, 1991, to deliver 60-second speeches on the issue. Seven female House members interrupted a Senate Democratic caucus lunch to request a hearing for Hill. 

“It electrified the country ― I don’t think there’s any question about it,” said Rep. Slaughter, one of the members who stormed the Senate.

That fury helped drive major gains in the 1992 elections, which swept four more women into the Senate, Democrats all ― Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, and Patty Murray of Washington. Twenty new Democratic women were elected to the House, and EMILY’s List grew from 3,000 to 24,000 members. It was dubbed the “Year of the Woman.” 

➡️ Clinton will claim the Democratic nomination 144 years after Victoria Woodhull first launched a presidential bid with the Equal Rights Party, 44 years after Shirley Chisholm became the first woman to seek the Democratic nomination and 32 years after Geraldine Ferraro made her historic vice presidential bid. Many women today never thought they’d see a real chance of electing a female president in their lifetime. Others wonder what the hell took so long.

Clinton supporters stress over and over that they don’t back the former secretary of state just because she is a woman. But she is a woman who has managed to get this far in an arena that long shut women out. And they’re excited about what a Clinton win could mean for future generations.

Lewis anticipates that the country will see “the second great wave” of women entering politics if Clinton is victorious in November.

“You cannot want what you can’t even imagine,” she said. “It’s very hard to get up every day and work for something that seems absolutely out-of-sight impossible. A woman in the White House means to everybody, ‘Oh, I can do this.’ Not just, by the way, for women, but anyone who has thought you’re ruled out.”

You can read the story in it's entirety with accompanying photographs and video here!

Thank you for reading!

G., aka Partisan Democrat

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