It's no secret that American politics have largely skewed white and male since our democracy began. Barack Obama shook up that dynamic when he won the presidency in 2008, and whatever the outcome, Hillary Clinton has made 2016 another turning point. But further down the ballot, there is also a shift. A record number of women filed to compete for positions in the US Senate, and of the 34 open Senate seats this year, 3 seats are held by female incumbents, while 13 women are new challengers. Republican women have had to reconcile their party loyalty with the controversial statements made by Donald Trump, forcing candidates like New Hampshire's incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte to walk an often perilous political tightrope. A significant number of women may be sharing ballot space with the first female presidential nominee in history, but that doesn't mean Clinton's presence on the ballot creates an electoral advantage. "Breaking stereotypes usually comes after the woman has been elected," Dittmar says, adding that Clinton's impact on women in politics might only be seen in future electoral cycles. There is room for improvement. In Congress, 104 of the 535 elected officials are women: 20 female senators and 84 women in the House of Representatives. The percentages in other elected offices aren't much better. Women only make up 25 percent of state legislators, 12 percent of governors, and 18 percent of mayors. And a recent report from the City University of New York's Institute for State and Local Government found that in the last mayoral elections held in the country's largest 100 cities, only 19.3 percent of the candidates were female. In fact, young men are twice as likely to even consider running for office. Why is there such a disparity when more than half the population is female? One reason may be that women are just waiting to be asked to run instead of stepping up themselves. A 2013 report by researchers at American University and Loyola Marymount University notes that women are less likely to assess themselves as potential candidates. The gender gap in political ambition opens early and never closes. "Family, school, peers, and media habits work in concert to trigger and sustain young men's political interest and ambition," the researchers wrote. "Women are less likely than men to receive encouragement to run for office and are more likely to doubt their political qualifications." In an interview that aired last year on BuzzFeed's podcast Another Round, Clinton said women running for political office often face the criticism that they are either too strong or too vulnerable--a "damned if they do, damned if they don't" situation.
US President Donald Trump's son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign manager Paul Manafort have been asked to appear before US Senate committees next week to answer questions about the campaign's alleged connections to Russia, officials said on Wednesday. The three men are the closest associates of the president to be called to speak to lawmakers involved in probing Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Trump, who came into office in January, has been dogged by allegations that his campaign officials were connected to Russia, which US intelligence agencies have accused of interfering in last year's election. Trump has denied any collusion. The US Senate Judiciary Committee said on Wednesday that it had called Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and Manafort to testify on July 26 at a hearing.
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton finish their third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016. Clinton's team is also keeping a close eye on statements by national Republican leaders, predicting they could play an important role in how Trump's accusations of electoral fraud might be perceived. That's according to several Clinton campaign aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss internal strategy. Campaign officials stress they are not taking the outcome of the election for granted. But Clinton and her team have begun thinking about how to position their candidate during the postelection period.