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U.S. Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) celebrates her victory over Republican candidate Tommy Thompson as she enters the stage on election night on November 6, 2012 in Madison, Wisconsin. Baldwin became Wisconsin's first openly gay Senator.
Election Day this year didn’t just mark the beginning of President Obama’s second term, it also marked historic gains for women and continuing gains for minorities in Congress. Women, in a possible retaliation against the “War on Women” narrative which played out this year, got out the vote and came out victorious in numerous races across the country. Elizabeth Warren is now the first female Senator from Massachusetts, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin is the country’s first openly lesbian Senator. Minorities played a huge role in the election of Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, and their growing influence at the ballot box is being felt in Congress as well.
Are these changes simply outliers in the political landscape, or are they more indicative of a new normal? Will this create a wave of future female and minority candidates to run for office? Will they be victorious? What does this mean for the Republican Party? Is the heterosexual white male prepared to be an endangered species?
Suzi Parker, contributor to The Washington Post's “She The People” Blog, Reuters, Take Part, The Christian Science Monitor and The Economist; author of Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt
Lynn Vavreck, Professor of Political Science, UCLA; co-author of the newly released e-book The Gamble: Choice & Chance in the 2012 Election