Vote today! Because single women have real power over the future of the Democratic party

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“Beyonce voters” can push the Dems “to the left, to the left”–but only if we show our power at the polls.

Perhaps you’re feeling like the voting in this election is futile. After all, the pundits aren’t optimistic that Democratics will keep the Senate, and maybe it’s already pretty clear how things will go down in your state. Perhaps you’re just generally disillusioned with politics and how far politicians of both parties are from the representatives of our feminist dreams. Maybe, like me, you find it hard to stay engaged in a political system that is clearly bought and sold to the highest bidder.

However, as Rebecca Traister reminds us, to the extent that our fairly unrepresentative democracy listens to people over money and power at all, it’s listening to young women now. With Democrats and Republicans pandering to us, each in their own, um, special ways, what single women voters–us so-called “Beyoncé voters“–do at the polls today will influence not just this election but also the future of the parties. Traister explains:

I’m telling you that it is wildly important that you vote—even if you live in a state where results are a foregone conclusion, as many of you do—for reasons that are slightly unrelated to electoral outcomes.

If you are a progressive single woman, your vote today will help determine the direction in which the Democratic and Republican parties move in coming years. This is no joke, no minor piece of polling trivia: This is pragmatic responsibility.

Political parties and the politicians who represent their platforms are mercenaries: They will work on behalf of those who offer them power. There are only two real ways of giving them power: one, by giving them money—the kind of money spent by the Koch brothers and lobbyists and other Masters of the Universe whose abilities to sway the electoral process have now been enforced by the Supreme Court thanks to Citizens United. For most of us, that path to political influence isn’t exactly a practical one. That leaves only one other option, one that sometimes, especially on days like today, can feel a little bleak, a little futile.

But here’s why it doesn’t have to: No matter the results tonight, in the days that follow, pollsters and pundits will dig into the details of how it all went down. Among the numbers that will be tallied is how various categories of Americans voted.

[...]

This is why, even if every Democrat on every ballot were to lose their elections today, it would still matter whether or not single women showed up at the polls, and how they voted. Because in the next go-round, the party will be crunching the numbers to see how they can win. And if women, if single women, haven’t turned up for them, Democrats will quickly stop turning out in return.

As Feministing editor emeritus Ann Friedman put it: “Women’s coveted-voter status means we’re in a great position to demand action on all of the issues we care about. The first step is for us to turn out in droves in midterm election.” So think of the vote you cast today for an uninspiring candidate or in a landslide race as a vote in favor of a future in which paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, universal health care and child care, comprehensive sex education, federally-funded abortions, student loan forgiveness, a just immigration system, equal pay, a universal basic income, and anything else your feminist heart desires, are on the agenda.

Related:
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Vote today! Because the GOP is really, really hoping you won’t
Vote today! Because reproductive rights are lost when Republicans gain control of state legislatures

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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