A ‘rainbow wave’ of LGBT candidates for the 2018 midterms
A “rainbow wave” is coming this November, with a record number of LGBT candidates running for office during the 2018 midterm elections.
Primarily from the Democrat Party, these candidates number roughly 500 and most of them are fighting anti-LGBT policies being pushed by the Trump administration.
Rainbow wave of LGBT candidates
In an article by the New York Times, around half of the candidates are aiming for state seats to counter state politicians implementing anti-LGBT policies like ‘bathroom bills’and adoption laws that block LGBT foster parents.
The LGBT rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign said that in 2017, there were 120 ant-LGBT bills filed across 30 states. By January of this year, 12 had already become law.
Among the LGBT candidates is Sharice Davids, a lesbian and Native American who is running for the congressional primary elections in the Third Congressional District.
“Having LGBT people sitting in the room while decisions are being made, and sitting there as peers, will shift the conversation,” said Davids, who is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, a Native American tribe in Wisconsin.
“I think it’s important that the lived experiences and the point of view of LGBT folks be included in conversations that affect all of us,” she added.
Meanwhile, Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston and the chief executive of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, said: “We have seen a clear correlation between the presence of our legislators and passage of that legislation.”
Rainbow wave spreading in other areas
These candidates are also running in states that are not liberal areas in the East and West Coasts.
For example, out lesbian Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin is running for re-election, as well as Arizona Representative Kyrsten Sinema, who is running in the Senate primary in Arizona.
There is also transgender woman Christine Hallquist running in the Democratic primary to be Vermont governor, and Jessica Gonzalez running for the Texas House of Representatives.
The NYT noted that these candidates are using a new kind of political strategy that views sexuality, race, and gender as campaign assets that links to their policy ideas.
Gonzalez pointed out that LGBT lawmakers could “definitely make a big difference” under the Trump administration.
Supporting the rainbow wave
While candidates like Davids are trying to broaden their appeal instead of limiting their focus to LGBT voters, LGBT groups like Human Rights Campaign are mobilizing the LGBT vote.
Human Rights Campaign, which is bipartisan, has the $26 million #TurnOUT campaign to mobilize the estimated 10 million Americans identifying as LGBT, as well the 52 million Americans supportive of pro-LGBT policies.
Geoff Wetrosky, the campaign director for HRC Rising, told The Washington Blade that the 2018 elections are “a historical moment for the LGBTQ community” to drive people to the polls in opposition to Trump’s policies.
Likewise, the LGBT media watchdog group GLAAD, which can’t endorse specific candidates, is running their “Amp Your Voice” LGBT youth voter engagement campaign.
Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, said, “Young people in this country are at the forefront of articulating the connection between the perilousness of their rights and safety under the Trump administration and the power of their own voices to create change.”