Declaring 2018 anything but the Year of the Woman is heresy by now. It’s consistently, casually mentioned as a matter of fact. This year‘s regarded as a natural succession to 1992, which was the last time an election resulted in the number of women in the House increasing by double digits. But a deeper dive demonstrates more modest gains are on the horizon, according to calculations based on Inside Elections’ current ratings.
Of course, not so long ago, 2016 was sometimes called the Year Of the Woman too, when it seemed inevitable that Hillary Clinton would clinch the presidency. (Full disclosure: I was also at least somewhat guilty in joining that chorus.)
Before 2016 and 1992, the first year of the woman was originally expected to be 1984, when a woman joined a major party presidential ticket. But in November of that year, columnist Maureen Dowd published a cold dose of reality in the New York Times.
“It was billed as the Year of the Woman in American politics,” Dowd wrote. “In the heady days after Geraldine A. Ferraro's historic ascent to the Democratic Vice-Presidential nomination, women's groups predicted an outpouring of volunteers, money and votes that would buoy female candidates of both parties. Now, on the eve of the election, the effervescence has turned somewhat flat.”
Given the past elections in which a “Year of the Woman” never materialized, it’s OK to be skeptical of the narrative. Ahead of November’s elections, however, it’s already clear that…