Gender Gaps

Blue Dog

Tom Schaller hangs out with some Blue Dogs and observes that women are underrepresented in their caucus relative to their numbers among House Democrats as a whole:

I asked Democratic pollster and women’s vote expert Celinda Lake about this as we strolled along downtown Denver’s 16th Street pedestrian walkway. “I think that women voters and women Democrats believe in a proper role for government, and the corporate stuff is a bit of a turnoff,” said Lake. “Even the women in the coalition have the most progressive voting records for Blue Dogs, by far.”

I think the interplay between identity and ideology doesn’t always get the play it deserves. Most people, even those with sound views, aren’t very good at being politicians. And the vast majority of people with progressive political views aren’t white men, while the vast majority of white men don’t have progressive political views. Thus, insofar as one draws one’s candidates from a disproportionately white male pool, it’s going to be very difficult to actually come up with an adequate number of talented politicians with sound political views. What’s more, in the case of women there’s actually no evidence that women are at a disadvantage when running for election. Rather, they’re underrepresented because they’re discriminated against in the recruitment process which would be an easy thing to change. And if it was changed, the pool of potential candidates would be both much larger and more progressive — vastly increasingly the odds of politically talented progressives coming to the fore and going on to higher office or leadership positions.