Glass Ceilings in the Progressive Northeast

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Jonathan Martin (New York Times) highlights the issue of glass ceilings in the Northeast. “The Democratic Party has yet to elect a female governor in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island or Massachusetts.

Even this year, with women running for governor in three of those states, it is uncertain that any of them will break the pattern. The Democratic Party in each state is rooted in urban machine politics and unions, both of which have been traditionally male dominated. And there have been fewer opportunities in those states for women to acquire executive experience in the state and local offices that are traditional steppingstones to running for governor, or to hold the levers of power in political organizations. (Philadelphia, New York and Boston have never elected female mayors.)

Further, unlike with some wealthy men who have successfully run outside of the party apparatus, there have been few Democratic women willing or able to fund their own campaigns.

Beyond the region’s political culture, the states’ demography has also traditionally worked against women. “They are older, with a blue-collar electorate in an industrial economy and a heavy Catholic population,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster.

Women have become the crucial element of the Democratic coalition in the era of President Obama, propelling both his victories and those of many others in the party, but there is just one female Democratic governor in America today — Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire…”