LAS VEGAS, NV — The founders of a movement that last year brought a throng of women, many of them wearing pink “pussy hats,” to the streets of Washington, D.C., and around the country, are planning a repeat demonstration this year. The 2018 Women’s March is framed around a “national voter registration tour” ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The main event takes place in Las Vegas on Jan. 21, the first anniversary of the, but sister marches will be held around the country the weekend of Jan. 20-21.
The marches come at a watershed moment for women, who are seeking public office in record numbers in the 2018 midterm elections. They are empowered both by the #MeToo movement, which brought a trove of stories from women who said they have faced sexual assault or harassment, as well as outrage against President Trump, who famously said in 2005 Access Hollywood tape leaked during the 2016 campaign that he had groped women’s genitals — prompting the pink hats demonstrators wore last year.
Organizers said they chose Las Vegas for the main “Power to the Polls” march because it is a microcosm for issues important to women, from gun violence to allegations of sexual assault against male politicians. Las Vegas was the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history last year, and Democratic Congressman Ruben Kihuen was accused by at least two women of groping them without permission — one of the latest of scores of powerful men implicated in a far-reaching scandal that has rocked politics and the entertainment and news industries.
Nevada also is a swing state that could flip from red to blue in the November midterm elections, making it a prime place to hold the main march, organizers said. Three Democrats and two Republicans are challenging U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican, in the June 2018 election. The race is considered a toss-up, and is one of several closely watched midterm races that could shift the balance in the Senate.
The Las Vegas event kicks off a national voter registration and mobilization tour targeting other swing states with a focus on registering new voters and electing more women and progressive candidates to office. Information gathered by Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics shows about 600 women nationwide are running for statewide and federal office in the midterms.
The organizers of the march said they were encouraged by Democrat Doug Jones’ upset win over Republican Roy Moore last month in the deep red state of Alabama, which hasn’t sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1992. Moore was leading the special Senate race to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions until multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. The women said they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s when the alleged impropriety took place. Moore has denied the allegations.
Women, especially Democrats, are finding a path to victory in states where their election seemed improbable. In November, Virginia voters gave the nod to Danica Roem, the first openly transgender woman ever to be elected to a state legislature. She was one of 11 progressive women who unseated Republican men in the state’s House of Delegates.
The Women’s Marches will also bring attention to “systemic voter suppression laws that inhibit so many communities from voting,” Linda Sarsour, a co-organizer, said in a statement.
Learn more about the 2018 Women’s March here. To find a 2018 Women’s March in your area, click here.
Photo: Protesters walk during the Women’s March on Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C., a day after President Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation’s 45th president. Similar marches are planned for 2018. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images)