On Monday, these three women, along with a group of other prominent activists, launched Supermajority, an organization focused on creating tangible political power for American women. The name is inspired by the fact that women make up more than half of the American population and more than half of the electorate ― 54 percent during the 2018 midterms ― yet are severely underrepresented in government and in legislative priorities. (Despite seeing a surge in women running for office and winning in 2018, women still make up only 23.7% of Congress.)
“Women still lack political power and we still lack legislative power,” Garza told HuffPost. “And for us that doesn’t make sense. We are the majority of the country. We are the majority of volunteers, of voters, of donors, and we think we should have equal power.”
“What we are launching today is a home for activism,” Richards added. “The purpose here is to make sure that every woman in America has the opportunity to get the information she needs, the training she needs and the connection with other women she needs to be the most powerful and shape the direction of America.”
The founding members of Supermajority include Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Garza, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and principal of Black Futures Lab; and Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
Together, they plan to engage, train and mobilize 2 million women across the United States this year alone with the intention of mobilizing “millions more” by 2020. And they plan to do it through a truly multiracial and multigenerational coalition. Part of this coalition will involve partnerships with other, more established women-focused organizations, like Planned Parenthood.
One of the most ambitious (and immediate) goals Supermajority has is to craft the New Deal for Women, a set of policies that, like the Green New Deal, people could line up behind and point to. “Women’s issues” are in reality wide-ranging, and the organizing around them tends to be piecemeal. And as Garza stressed to HuffPost, “women’s issues” don’t affect just women.
“We want to make sure that the issues that women care about get seen as national imperatives, and not just issues that impact only women,” she said. ”The issues that impact us, impact the majority of the country.”
To craft this New Deal for Women, Supermajority staffers will be going on a “listening tour” across the nation, gathering data and speaking to a diverse cross-section of American women. What they hear on this tour will determine the precise legislative agenda of the group moving forward. Garza told HuffPost that they expect the agenda of the New Deal for Women to be set by this fall.
In 2018, the women behind Supermajority did something similar, stopping in states such as Tennessee, Wisconsin and Iowa. They met with very different groups of American women: teachers, nurses, activists, students, low-wage workers and political candidates. They wanted to understand how American women were showing up and stepping up during such an unprecedented political moment. What they found felt illuminating ― not only were women organizing in new and creative ways at the most local levels, but they all seemed exhausted by a political system that they were working tirelessly within but felt was not built for them.
“Over and over, women told us that our political process as it functions (or doesn’t function) now neither speaks to nor works for women,” wrote Richards, Poo, Garza, Deidre Schifeling and Katherine Grainger in a November piece for Glamour magazine.
Supermajority will aim to change that.
It remains unclear precisely what role Supermajority will play leading up to the 2020 presidential election ― Garza, Poo and Richards told HuffPost that it is still too early to determine whether the organization will be endorsing a presidential candidate ― but it will certainly be a presence. The group will work to mobilize progressive voters in the primary and general elections, with a particular focus on issues such as maternal mortality, raising wages, paid family leave, family separation, voting rights and reproductive justice.
“The truth is, women are watching all of the candidates and they’re listening,” Poo said. “They’re listening for which candidates are gonna address their priorities. And we’re gonna be amplifying them.”