“The Future Is Female” was written on signs and shirts across the country during eye-popping women’s marches on Jan. 21, following President Donald Trump’s inauguration. That day seemed to kick off a period of unprecedented civic engagement, a lot of it in opposition to Trump’s policies and statements, which has lasted throughout the first 100 days of his administration.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle say their offices have received calls and letters at rates they have never seen.
The left is obviously fired up, but who is leading the charge?
According to a new ABC/Washington Post poll, 67 percent of Americans think the Democratic Party is out of touch with the country, including 44 percent of Democrats.
Here’s a look at some female Democratic politicians breaking through this spring:
Elizabeth Warren speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 6, 2015.
Sen. Warren may have angered some hardcore Bernie Sanders’ fans last year when she would not endorse him during his presidential campaign, but she then this spring, “she persisted.”
If there was ever any question about Warren’s ability to make a headline or lead a movement, it was answered when she stood on the Senate floor in February and objected to her colleague Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be the next attorney general. Her speech was interrupted by Senate Republicans, who formally silenced her after she repeated Ted Kennedy and Coretta Scott King’s own words against Sessions.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in explaining the move.
McConnell may have scolded her, but he also gave her a gift. The line has resonated with women across the country.
Now out with a new book, Warren warned Democrats during an interview last week not to jump at every tweet or line coming out of the White House (“We can’t shoot everything that moves,” she said). She said Democrats should focus on what Trump “does” instead.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence member Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) talks to journalists before attending a closed-door meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, April 25, 2017, in Washington.
Washington insiders love to make short lists of possible 2020 presidential contenders and Sen. Harris is often on them.
Formerly California’s attorney general, Harris came into the Senate this year with a lot of confidence and stature. She boldly chooses the issues to get involved in and is not afraid to talk to reporters in the hallways of Congress or deliver a tough line back to the White House.
Over Easter recess, she traveled to the Middle East on her first overseas trip as a senator to meet with U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and to see a Syrian refugee camp.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand takes the stage on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 25, 2016.
As Trump began to nominate Cabinet officials prior to his inauguration, Sen. Gillibrand was catching the eye of activists and other Democrats across the country. The New York senator voted against more of the president’s nominees than any other senator, boosting her status among those looking for a leader of the so-called resistance.
Gillibrand has an ability to zero in on pocketbook issues that resonate with voters — in particular, as a leading advocate for paid maternity and family leave. Lawmakers from both parties have agreed that something should be done in this space, and the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump has championed the topic broadly, though her latest proposal from the campaign is much more limited than Gillibrand’s.
This month, Gillibrand teamed up with Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, to introduce new legislation on the opioid crisis.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, clad in a white pantsuit, arrives for an election day news conference at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2016.
The first and only female speaker of the House, Rep. Pelosi has led House Democrats for the last 13 years. She isn’t necessarily considered the future of Democratic politics, but when she won the top post in her caucus again last fall despite Democrats’ upsetting presidential election loss, it was clear she will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.
So far, Pelosi has kept her party in lockstep — not one House Democrat veered off during the Republican push to pass a health care bill in the chamber.
Pelosi has tried over the last few months to highlight some other women in her ranks, including Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois. Bustos is a fiery representative from a rural Midwestern district. Trump may have won in her hometown, but so did she. Pelosi put her on the House Democratic leadership team this year.
On NBC’s "Meet the Press" Sunday, Pelosi said "of course" a Democrat could be pro-life — an apparent attempt to broaden the party.
BONUS: The women of the resistance movement
Thousands of protesters fill the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as they participate in a Women’s March, Jan. 21, 2017 in Philadelphia.
Democrat lawmakers in Washington, D.C., did not tell people to march in the streets after the inauguration or to organize at airports after President Trump’s executive order on immigration. Senate Democrats had not prioritized Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to be secretary of education, when they strategized about how to handle the confirmation proceedings — but activists at home, by making calls and teaming up on their own, almost brought her nomination down.
The future of Democratic politics possibly lies in a grassroots movement led by people — including many women — whose names are only starting to break through on a national level.
There’s Linda Sarsour, for example, an outspoken Muslim-American progressive activist known for her organizing skills. Head of the Arab American Association of New York, Sarsour was a surrogate for Bernie Sanders and then cofounded the Women’s March organization. She is from New York City, but often can be seen with her newborn baby among crowds of protesters in Washington, D.C., or sitting on brain-trust panels organized by the Democratic National Committee.