Our hosts talk with two amazing guests, starting with Kathy Spillar of Ms. Magazine and the Feminist Majority Foundation. They discuss findings of recent polls that show young people are motivated by abortion rights in the battleground states where those races will make huge differences at the federal and state levels.
Then our hosts talk to Laphonza Butler, president of EMILY’s List, where they discuss the philosophy of getting women involved in politics and give suggestions for key races that need your help as we round the last corner towards election day.
All episodes begin and end with the 2017 single “Rise” by rock group Betty (www.hellobetty.com)
All episodes are produced by Amy Yoder (www.alyoder.com)
Additional support provided by Cary and Logan at Broussard Global.
The Hosts Start by Sharing What They’re Pissed About
Carol is pissed that we haven’t paid enough attention this election cycle to the widespread banning of books and fervor over critical race theory. In order to push back against those who would suppress the true history of this country, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Executive Director of The African American Policy Forum, is on a Books Unbanned Bus Tour to enlist 10 million Black voters on this issue. She’s passing out books that have been banned by schools and getting out the vote on this issue.
Gloria is pissed that Florida governor Ron DeSantis staged a round-up of convicted felons who thought their right to vote had been reinstated. They showed the proper paperwork, but through no fault of their own, some of them had been told erroneously that they could, indeed, register to vote. DeSantis created this sham show. It’s a flagrant misuse of public trust, police resources, and the airwaves.
Betty is pissed that the news media is poll-happy, but they’re not reporting on how those polls are conducted. Many polls are conducted based on “likely voters” – i.e., those people who voted in the last election. This doesn’t take into account the groundswell of people who are coming out en masse to register themselves to vote and who are actually showing up to protect their own rights, like we saw in the Republican primary in Kansas. See more on the Kansas Republican primary and the attempt to overturn the state’s constitutional protection of abortion.
Sherrye is pissed once again about Florida and their draconian abortion laws. Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida confirmed one middle-school-aged child was a victim of incest and traveled multiple states away, as did another pregnant middle schooler. Some hope on this front: President Biden has pledged to sign a bill codifying abortion rights into law if Democrats can hold the House and the Senate. It’s up to us to get out there and vote.
Carol Introduces Our First Guest, Kathy Spillar
Despite news outlets saying that things like inflation and economic issues are driving this election, Kathy discusses a poll that found abortion is still on the ballot. According to this polling, which was conducted in battleground states, 55% of young women are determining their vote based on abortion rights. Inflation and rising prices only came in at 33%. In all likely voters in those battleground states, abortion rights are tied with economical issues. Many of these battleground states either already have abortion bans or have serious threats looming against abortion and reproductive rights.
It’s important to realize that when polls conduct nationwide polls, this includes attitudes from voters in states where abortion is already protected. Voters in states like California do have more concerns about their rising gas prices because they already have security around their abortion rights. That’s why Kathy only focused on battleground states.
Young People Are Motivated For This Midterm
Even though voter registration is a huge metric, what really counts is that those registered voters need to actually show up to vote. Kathy is finding that many young people have plans to vote, and she mentions there is a lot of work happening on college campuses to get those voters involved and ensure that their voting rights are upheld. Voter suppression laws target not only Black and Latinx voters but also young voters, who tend to be much more liberal. And they’re certainly fired up this election cycle!
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
Listen to Episode 18 with Tom Bonier, where we discuss what he’s seeing from young women and young men surrounding abortion rights.
Increasing the young vote turnout by even a small percentage can change the outcomes of elections, especially in these battleground states. On the ground and within the groups that monitor the young vote, there is encouraging news that this voting block will show up and get out the vote.
This issue is incredibly powerful, with Kathy finding that 44% of women surveyed have considered moving to a state where abortion is protected, and 10% have rejected jobs in states where abortion is banned. This issue is powerful enough to impact education and career choices. They’re standing up for themselves and putting themselves first, which speaks to the larger impact of the Dobbs decision and the outcome of this midterm election.
There are also some indications that women are taking action to protect themselves by using long-term birth control, buying Plan B to have on hand in case they need it after their state has removed it, and some are even seeking sterilization services for themselves or their partners.
Gloria Introduces Our Second Guest, Laphonza Butler
EMILY’s List was crowdfunding before it was cool, and it’s a political strategy based around the acronym Early Money Is Like Yeast – it raises the dough. Women who are running for office need monetary resources early in their campaigns. This early money helps ensure that the rest of the Democratic ecosystem would take them seriously and help them then raise money later on in their campaigns.
EMILY’s list has inspired many organizations, such as:
- Higher Heights | See our episode with Glynda Carr, CEO of Higher Heights
- Latino Victory Fund
- Ruth’s List in Florida
- Annie’s List in Texas
- Eleanor’s Legacy in New York
Midterms Will Be Won on the Margins
Action and activity are happening all over the country, and our listeners can check in on their circle to make sure that everyone they know is registered to vote. Many voter registration lists have been purged, so even if you think you’re registered, it doesn’t hurt to double check using this link: www.vote.org.
Laphonza mentions these races, whose opponents are spending huge amounts of money to ensure they’re not elected:
- Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada Senator
- Cheri Beasley, North Carolina Senate Candidate
- Stacey Abrams, Georgia Governor Candidate
- Val Demings, Florida Senate Candidate
- Karen Bass, Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles
- Deidre DeJear, Iowa Governor Candidate
- Andrea Campbell, Massachusetts Attorney General Candidate
If you can, donate to these races to help get these amazing women into office using the links above.
EMILY’s List Pays Attention to State Races, Too
There is a lot of emphasis this election cycle of who will go to Washington, D.C., but state legislatures, governors, mayors, and attorneys general are also going to make huge change in this election cycle.
- Arizona is only two seats away in both chambers from taking Democratic majority in their state legislatures.
- Michigan is three and four seats away in their state legislature, with Democratic Governor Whitmer at the helm.
- North Carolina is the only state in the southeast region today where women can get access to abortion and reproductive services. We need to prevent a Republican supermajority in North Carolina, which would give them the power to override Governor Cooper’s veto power.
Don’t just vote at the top of the ticket, and get additional resources at Find Your State on emilyslist.org.
Katherine Spillar, Executive Editor, Ms. Magazine | Executive Director, Feminist Majority Foundation
Katherine (Kathy) Spillar is the Executive Director of Feminist Majority Foundation, a national organization working for women’s equality, empowerment, and non-violence. In December 2001, the Feminist Majority Foundation became the sole publisher of Ms. magazine (which was founded in 1972), and in 2005, was named Executive Editor. Under her oversight, Ms. has increased its investigative reporting and today is one of the largest print and online feminist news sites reaching millions of readers from across the globe. Ms. Classroom, an innovative digital textbook resource covering current feminist topics and activism, is taught in college and university programs across the country. Recently, Ms. announced the launch of Ms. Studios featuring podcasts and online and live events, including the popular “On the Issues” and “Fifteen Minutes of Feminism” podcasts with Michele Goodwin. Celebrating 50 years of rebelling, reporting and truth-telling, in September 2023, Knopf will publish 50 Years of Ms: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine that Ignited a Movement.
Laphonza Butler, President of EMILY’s List
Laphonza Butler is the president of EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics. As a leader in Democratic politics, campaign strategy, and the labor movement for two decades, she has dedicated her life to empowering women and supporting them in finding their voice, and using it to make meaningful change. She grew up in Magnolia, Mississippi, and attended one of the country’s premier HBCUs, Jackson State University. At just 30 years old, Laphonza was overwhelmingly elected to lead the biggest union in California, and the nation’s largest homecare workers union, SEIU Local 2015. As president, she was the leading voice, strategist, and architect of efforts to address pay inequity for women in California and a top advocate for raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour – the first state in the nation to do so, benefiting millions of working women. Prior to joining EMILY’s List, Laphonza was also a partner at SCRB Strategies, a political consulting firm where she was a strategist for candidates, organizations, and companies throughout the state. She also served as senior advisor on Vice President Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign. As the first woman of color and first mother in this role, Laphonza brings invaluable lived experiences along with her organizing and political experiences to the job at this pivotal moment for EMILY’s List — and for our entire country.