Feministing Editor Emeritus Ann Friedman has said it before, and it’s become a kind of mantra here:
A woman candidate is not the same thing as a woman’s candidate.
New York GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Wendy Long pretty much embodies this statement — and she’s strongly vying for Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s seat. Luckily there’s a really strong distinction between the two: One actually gives a shit about women.
In fact, Long seems to be running for the Senate seat on an anti-women, anti-choice platform. In a recent interview (skip to 1:45) responding to Gillibrand’s focus on equal pay, she point blank denied that the gender pay gap existed (ahem), adding that it’s a “phony regulatory issue, like the war on women issue.”
Then last week at her stump speech after winning the primary, she made a case that conservatives need to fight for what U.S. soldiers have died for, adding the truly tactless statement against birth control coverage:
“They didn’t die for what Kirsten Gillibrand is saying — for the right to force religious employers to pay for their employees’ contraception.”
You know what else our soldiers haven’t died for? U.S. candidates speaking for them post-mortem as a political argument to win a senate seat. Like, seriously, lady?
And Wendy Long is just one of several anti-choice, anti-Obamacare women candidates who recently won their primaries. This should be a reminder leading up to the elections that while a better representation of women within Congress is something we have been and will continue to work toward, our priority now should be supporting the candidates who care about women and other folks with uteri — as well as value and support the multitude of issues (and people affected) that hold significance to us, like immigration, trans rights, healthcare, and economic security.
In short, a “Year of the Woman” is not necessarily what we should be fighting for (particularly if that includes the likes of Wendy Long).