On the first day of the Republican National Convention, on July 18, seven women addressed the audience. Five (one of them sharing the stage with a man) spoke before the prime time; they were not politicians, but mothers whose children had died while in combat, in Benghazi, and in accidents where immigrants were involved. They advocated for immigration control, or for a stronger military, or for Hillary Clinton to be jailed.
Two more women were meant to speak in prime time, but Joni Ernst, a senator from Iowa, was instead given a late-night slot. That left the stage to Melania Trump, the wife of Donald Trump, whose otherwise unremarkable address gained a lot of attention for being plagiarized from Michelle Obama.
Things will be very different tonight as the Democratic National Convention opens, in a way that makes it easy to understand why the Democratic Party is preferred amongst women—and not just because the presumptive nominee is one.
Interestingly, the same number of women speakers will address the Democratic crowd today as did the Republicans last week, though unlike the RNC lineup, these will mostly be political professionals–union leaders, congresswomen, and senators.
Further, two of them won’t just be given a prime time slot, they will deliver arguably the most awaited addresses of the day: the first will be the first lady of the US, Michelle Obama, followed by Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Both Warren and Obama have been making headlines lately—one for her fierce anti-Trump campaigning, and the other for, well, overall awesomeness—and have voices and personas that are amongst the most prominent in America’s political scene and society.
It’s fair to imagine that their speeches will draw a large audience. And that’s the main difference with what happened in Cleveland: women won’t speak to endorse their men (husbands, fathers). At the DNC, they will be the reason people tune in, the voices they will wait to hear, the leaders they will get fired-up by. They will want to hear Warren’s passionate fighting against inequality and Obama’s genuine calls for the values that should be at the core of the Democratic party: solidarity, unity, tolerance.
And this before counting in the nominee, Hillary Clinton.
The lineup shows that Clinton isn’t an outlier, but rather the outcome of an ongoing process. The nominee is a woman because other political leaders are women, too, and because women’s voices have never been listened to as much as they are today.
Women will be a highlight of the convention and the first woman in history will officially become a nominee for president of the US of a major party. Whatever your politics, it’s historic.