Bring Your Own Politics: Jackson’s 2nd Annual Women’s March focused more on elections, voting than pussies

By on January 24, 2018

To mark their surviving the first year of the Trump administration — and to keep going the political momentum established by the original Women’s March held the day after Trump’s inauguration — about 400 people in Jackson took to the streets Saturday afternoon to march in solidarity with dozens of other marches taking place around the country.

Saturday’s march in Jackson, and another held nearby in Pinedale, focused primarily on ensuring people are registered to vote, motivating them to do so and even encouraging people to run for office.

In many ways, turning the focus of the march to encouraging people to register, vote and even run for office changed the overall tenor of the march into a more tightly focused means of resistance. This year, there were fewer “pussyhats” on display, the name for knitted pink hats that were a satire of Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” remarks that were made public just before his election. Instead, the march seemed to be aimed at taking serious action against the President and his political enablers.

The march also became a campaign stop for Teton County resident Gary Trauner, a Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican John Barrasso.

Megan Kohli, an organizer of the event, addressed the crowd at the end of the March in Jackson Town Square. “Call [elected officials] every time you’re pissed off,” Kohli implored marchers. “Get on the phone, get fired up, write, run and register.”

Outside of the focus on voting, the march was pretty much a “bring your own politics” affair, with activists toting signs about women’s rights, reproductive rights, health care access, workplace fairness and equal pay, immigrant’s issues, environmental concerns, the economy, the government shutdown and almost anything in between.

And, like the original, there was also a lot of irreverent commentary aimed at a deeply unpopular president who has provided more than his fair share of gaffes and blunders throughout the first year of his administration.

The scene was similar across the nation. According to New York mayor Bill de Blasio, 200,000 marchers took to the streets of the Big Apple Saturday; 300,000 hit the bricks in Chicago; Los Angeles authorities estimated about 500,000 people showed up there, and Washington, D.C. officials said there were fewer than last year’s near half-million marchers, but the number of people what turned out in the nation’s capital was still measured in the hundreds of thousands.

Like the Jackson and Pinedale marches, most events around the country were focused on the “Power to the Polls” theme espoused by national organizers. Even though the march was billed an opportunity for people — not just women — to speak out about political issues that mattered to them, this year’s event carried a more significant gravitas than that, feeling much more determined and focused on turning out voters to the polls for November midterms.

Joan Anzelmo, one of the organizers of the Jackson event said the overarching goal of the organizers here was to ensure people are still registered to vote, get them registered if they aren’t and get them to turn up to polling places in November.
According to Anzelmo, just because a person was registered to vote in the past, they should ensure they are still registered, as some clerks across Wyoming have been purging voter rolls of people who did not vote in the general election in 2016.

The march also hoped to encouraged people, especially women, to run for office at local, county, state and federal levels.
Across the nation, 389 women have filed as candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, double the number who ran in 2016, according to Rutgers University Center for American Women in Politics. Across the country, there will be 36 gubernatorial races and 79 women are contenders for them, a record number according to Rutgers.

Of the women running for the House, 314 of them — about 81 percent — are democrats. Nearly 61 percent of female governor candidates are Democrats. PJH

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