The impact of record numbers of women candidates has already been felt this election cycle. The #MeToo movement and anger about the outcome of the 2016 presidential contest has driven women to break free from some of the conventions that have constrained them in the past. The political playbook that dictates how campaigns are run, which was largely written by men for men, is increasingly being set aside as women run on their own terms.

Win or lose in November, here’s how women have disrupted the midterms and what this means for 2020.

Candidate Stacey Abrams

Personify Certainty

It used to be that…

What Every Woman Candidate Can Learn from Her Magnus Opus

*This piece was first published at Gender Watch 2018, a non-partisan project of the Center for American Women and Politics and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation

In the blockbuster release of A Wrinkle in Time, Oprah Winfrey plays Mrs. Which — an out-of-this world being who inspires a young girl to “Be a warrior.”

Real-world Oprah doesn’t need to appear as a shimmering light to lead us out of the darkness here on Earth.

Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch couldn’t talk themselves out of a tough spot during the CNN town hall meeting on guns. Their smooth talk and well-oiled messages could not compete with the students, survivors, and family members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

The Generation Z students who are lobbying, marching, and speaking out understand what’s at stake in a way that seeks compromise not an absolute victory. They are looking to balance second amendment rights with being safe at school.

As such, they are better communicators than the establishment figures they are up against. They are prepared…

Looking for inspiration? These women will bring you to your feet.

From the U.S. Capitol to statehouses nationwide. From Alabama to Virginia. From jammed phone lines to packed town halls. From Hollywood to television studios. Silence breakers, candidates, organizers, and activists are giving voice to the resistance.

Let’s celebrate the stirring words of strong women driving change.

The Women’s March
Worldwide Protest

The largest inaugural protest in history was the kick-off message of resistance to an administration that threatens the rights of women, people of color, and LGBTQ. It was a glorious day of marching and speeches. Three to hear again:

Keynoter Gloria Steinem

National Co-Chair Linda Sarsour

6-year old Sophia…

Around the country, women are seriously eyeing political offices and they want to know how to win elections.

Campaign Tips from a Speech Coach

The surefire way to bring the crowd to its feet at the Women’s Convention in Detroit was to announce you are running for office. “Hell ‘yeah!” was the response at the three-day organizing event as love was showered on the aspiring candidates. It was a wind beneath candidates’ wings needed to carry them down a rocky campaign trail.

by Christine K. Jahnke, speech coach and author of The Well-Spoken Woman

Donald Trump’s lying techniques are spreading like a plague from the White House to his operatives and enablers. Take the recent spate of claims that pre-existing conditions will be covered under Trumpcare. Lying has never been so bold and frequent and the consequences so clear and present. A recent TIME magazine cover asks: Is Truth Dead? Let’s hope not.

Telling the truth matters. It matters to those who rely on health care, to coal miners who believe Trump will bring back their jobs. It matters to refugees detained…

Tips for Lawyers & Anyone Who Contends with Mansplainers and Conversation Hogs

As a speech coach whose passion is helping women speak out I’m often asked: how can I do a better job of holding the floor?

The question comes from women who want to throw out ideas in meetings and presentations but dread being interrupted, shot down or ignored. Women lawyers are under pressure to demonstrate their legal prowess and problem solving skills. But stepping up to the mic can be risky especially when others don’t want you to have your say. Remember Taylor Swift’s reaction at the MTV music awards when she was about to thank her fans and Kanye…

Women make up 53 percent of the population and are expected to vote at rates higher than men. Thus, gender will play a central role at the conventions as it did four years ago.

Expect women speakers to play a starring role at the national political conventions as both parties woo women voters — a block that has swung every election since Reagan.

Among married women — traditionally a Republican stronghold, 70 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump. Not surprisingly, the Republicans have announced that several notable women will speak including the first woman to command a space shuttle mission.

With Ivanka Trump’s entreaty that her dad is a “feminist” look for both of his daughters and wife to attempt to portray him as someone who respects women. …

A traditional task of the VP candidate is to be an attack dog on the stump. There is no person better suited to fill that role for Hillary Clinton than Elizabeth Warren.

More trouble lies ahead for Donald Trump. Racist remarks about the Hispanic judge in the Trump U case and a sanitized teleprompter speech have locked him in a defensive crouch. Trump’s ideas appear even more insignificant and backwards. In sharp contrast, the first woman to secure a major party nomination, Hillary Clinton delivered a profound victory speech paying tribute to the generations who “struggled and sacrificed” to make it happen.

The return of Fiorina in the final days of the presidential primary race may be just what is needed to hold Trump accountable for his serial sexist offenses. Fiorina’s debate smack-down of Trump is a perfect example of maintaining a commanding presence while calling out his sexism.

The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff poses the question: Will Carly Fiorina overshadow Ted Cruz?

It’s a question Donald Trump certainly didn’t worry about when he embraced the endorsement of a possible running mate — the bombastic Chris Christie. It says more about Cruz’s insecurities than the veep’s qualifications.

In her final debate Fiorina did seem to be positioning herself as a VP attack dog. It is a fitting role. Fiorina can be mean spirited, using personal attacks against Hillary Clinton and doubling down on lies about the Planned Parenthood videos.

Fiorina’s ability to exude confidence in the face of Trump’s…

Well-Spoken Woman

Christine Jahnke is a media trainer & speech coach for progressive leaders making positive change. Author of

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store