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A Young Elected Official On How To Fight Trump and Get Women Elected

December 14, 2016

Bustle: A Young Elected Official On How To Fight Trump and Get Women Elected

By Regina Anne Monge 

On Election Day, I tried to soak in as many memories as possible; I thought, hey, this is going to be a day I want to remember. This will be a day my children ask me about. They are going to want to know where I was, what I did, and how it felt to elect Hillary Clinton as the first female President of the United States. I tried to remember details. I even saved things to my Snapchat story. But the night didn’t end with the shattering of a glass ceiling.

However, when I look back on that night years from now, I will remember being a part of history in a different way than I expected. I was in Nevada for Election Day, volunteering to elect Catherine Cortez Masto to the Senate, Jacky Rosen to the House of Representatives, and a slate of Democratic women running down the ballot to represent communities across the state. I have been interested in campaigns and politics since I was young, and even ran for office myself. This cycle, I had been working at EMILY’s List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women for offices across the country. While this year’s Election Night ended without electing a Democratic woman to the White House, I witnessed firsthand the election of the first Latina ever to the United States Senate, as we helped Catherine Cortez Masto get across the finish line. But amidst that excitement, the night was bittersweet. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling of experiencing so much hope and disappointment all at once. As a young, queer, Latinx who was raised to believe in the American dream, I felt conflicted. Like most Americans, I wanted to know how we came so close to electing Hillary Clinton as president, but end up with Donald Trump.

More importantly, I wondered how this would affect political ambition in women and girls. What could I possibly say to convince girls to run, when they have just witnessed a bully beat one of the most qualified, hardworking presidential candidates in American history? I thought about all of those little girls who wrote Hillary letters of support, and what they would think when they found out that being the most qualified, the most prepared, and the most experienced person is sometimes not enough.


Americans everywhere are grieving Hillary Clinton’s loss; after all, a majority of them voted for her. While the highest ceiling wasn’t shattered that night, history was made. In Henderson, Nevada, we saw voters elect an all-women Democratic ticket, from the presidency all the way down to the state Assembly (yes, including the presidency, since Clinton took the state). Women candidates and people of color made history across the country on November 8th, and that progress cannot be understated. For example, three more women of color will be going to the Senate. To put that in perspective, we've only ever had two women of color in the Senate in our country's 240-year history. In one election, we added three. Six more women of color were elected to the House of Representatives; the Hispanic Democratic caucus is larger than ever, and Delaware elected the first woman and the first person of color to represent their state in Congress. On the local level, Ilhan Omar, a former refugee, became the first Somali-American woman legislator, and EMILY's List successfully elected 79 women to state and local office.

Then I thought about going back to work at EMILY’s List, where I am a member of the team that helps recruit, train, and elect women to state and local offices across the country—and through that build a pipeline of Democratic women leaders to run for offices at all levels. My first day back in the office after volunteering, I got multiple calls from women who said they were interested in being trained to run for office. I thought about the work organizations like Running Start do to train and recruit young women to run for office, as well as call out the sexism they might face when doing so. That’s when I remembered that as women, as people of color, and as members of the LGBT community, we unfortunately know what it’s like to have our rights under attack. We know the feeling a little too well, but we also know how to fight back. We know how to lean on each other and that’s exactly what we’ll do.On Election Day, I tried to soak in as many memories as possible; I thought, hey, this is going to be a day I want to remember. This will be a day my children ask me about. They are going to want to know where I was, what I did, and how it felt to elect Hillary Clinton as the first female President of the United States. I tried to remember details. I even saved things to my Snapchat story. But the night didn’t end with the shattering of a glass ceiling.

However, when I look back on that night years from now, I will remember being a part of history in a different way than I expected. I was in Nevada for Election Day, volunteering to elect Catherine Cortez Masto to the Senate, Jacky Rosen to the House of Representatives, and a slate of Democratic women running down the ballot to represent communities across the state. I have been interested in campaigns and politics since I was young, and even ran for office myself. This cycle, I had been working at EMILY’s List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women for offices across the country. While this year’s Election Night ended without electing a Democratic woman to the White House, I witnessed firsthand the election of the first Latina ever to the United States Senate, as we helped Catherine Cortez Masto get across the finish line. But amidst that excitement, the night was bittersweet. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling of experiencing so much hope and disappointment all at once. As a young, queer, Latinx who was raised to believe in the American dream, I felt conflicted. Like most Americans, I wanted to know how we came so close to electing Hillary Clinton as president, but end up with Donald Trump.

More importantly, I wondered how this would affect political ambition in women and girls. What could I possibly say to convince girls to run, when they have just witnessed a bully beat one of the most qualified, hardworking presidential candidates in American history? I thought about all of those little girls who wrote Hillary letters of support, and what they would think when they found out that being the most qualified, the most prepared, and the most experienced person is sometimes not enough.


Americans everywhere are grieving Hillary Clinton’s loss; after all, a majority of them voted for her. While the highest ceiling wasn’t shattered that night, history was made. In Henderson, Nevada, we saw voters elect an all-women Democratic ticket, from the presidency all the way down to the state Assembly (yes, including the presidency, since Clinton took the state). Women candidates and people of color made history across the country on November 8th, and that progress cannot be understated. For example, three more women of color will be going to the Senate. To put that in perspective, we've only ever had two women of color in the Senate in our country's 240-year history. In one election, we added three. Six more women of color were elected to the House of Representatives; the Hispanic Democratic caucus is larger than ever, and Delaware elected the first woman and the first person of color to represent their state in Congress. On the local level, Ilhan Omar, a former refugee, became the first Somali-American woman legislator, and EMILY's List successfully elected 79 women to state and local office.

Then I thought about going back to work at EMILY’s List, where I am a member of the team that helps recruit, train, and elect women to state and local offices across the country—and through that build a pipeline of Democratic women leaders to run for offices at all levels. My first day back in the office after volunteering, I got multiple calls from women who said they were interested in being trained to run for office. I thought about the work organizations like Running Start do to train and recruit young women to run for office, as well as call out the sexism they might face when doing so. That’s when I remembered that as women, as people of color, and as members of the LGBT community, we unfortunately know what it’s like to have our rights under attack. We know the feeling a little too well, but we also know how to fight back. We know how to lean on each other and that’s exactly what we’ll do.