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Women Also Know Stuff about the 2016 election

Over at Slate, prolific political science blogger Andrew Gelman has written a piece about 19 things political scientists and others interested in systematically studying politics can learn from the 2016 election. The post touches on most of the major points that have been raised with regard to election analysis — party politics, polarization, campaigns and "ground game," and, of course, forecasting models and polling.

The unwritten 20th lesson this post would teach us is that, by my count, no women said anything worth engaging during the election season. Gelman cites a number of studies and pundits, but this post could definitely have benefited from a glance or two at the Women Also Know Stuff site.

I realize the point of the piece was mostly to point out who was wrong, and thus it's hardly a glowing review of all the work by men that are mentioned. And forecasting is a pretty heavily male subfield, so the people in it probably ought to sit down and think about why that is. I'm sure that Gelman's exclusive focus on work written by men was unintentional. But plenty of women are doing research that is relevant to the points he raises — and some of it even offered insights that turned out to be correct, prescient, and very valuable for explaining what happened in November.

Here's a very brief, very incomplete list of women whose work is relevant for a full political science perspective on the election, including the insights we still need to work on.

Networked parties. Our very own Jennifer Nicoll Victor has published work on this topic. Rachel Blum's work on the Tea Party as a "party within a party" can also help us understand the implications of Trump as the Republican standard-bearer.

No more red and blue states (14 on Gelman's list). Katherine Cramer's book about rural resentment in Wisconsin has received a lot of attention this cycle, especially after the race. As you can see in this interview at the Wisconsin Book Festival in October, I'm not an unquestioning or uncritical reader of the book. But her careful, extensive qualitative work highlighted some of the dynamics within states, well before the election.

Attitudes in the electorate. Gelman's 12th point was about emotion among voters. Bethany Albertson and Shana Gadarian published an award-winning book about this, as well as a number of excellent blog posts.

Point 5 is about polarization. Good idea to check out Samara Klar and Yanna Krupnikov's new book, Independent Politics, and Lilliana Mason's extensive body of work on polarization.

New media (point 11). For discussion of "outrage" in modern news sources, see work by Jeffrey Berry and Sarah Sobieraj. For a wide range of media and communication research, check out what Kathleen Searles has been up to. For engagement with social media and politics, see Heather Evans's work, or this book, edited by Victoria Farrar-Myers and Justin Vaughn.

Campaigns and ground game (10). The Women Also Know Stuff website has a page just for this. Erika Franklin Fowler's work on campaigns and Hahrie Han's work on political activism and on Barack Obama's campaigns stands out as especially relevant to the 2016 discussion.

The Gelman piece gives a brief overview of the fact that "demographics aren't destiny" (point 6). Perhaps not, but this calls for an even more thorough and nuanced consideration of the subject by political scientists. Check out work by Cathy Cohen, Marisa Abrajano and Zoltan Hajnal, and Vanessa Tyson, and this new book by Kevin Corder and Christina Wolbrecht to start thinking about the complexity of demographics and politics in the US. Here's some context on religious persecution from Nancy Wadsworth.

National electoral trends (9). Here we would do well to engage with political journalists, even when our methods of inquiry and conclusions differ from theirs. The Atlantic's Molly Ball has written some great big-picture pieces (and had some big misses just like the rest of us). FiveThirtyEight's Clare Malone and Farai Chideya did on-the-ground political reporting talking to actual voters, and here at Vox, Dara Lind and Sarah Kliff have been writing about big national policy issues like immigration and health care.

I wish I thought this were the last time I had to spend my time correcting the glaring omissions of colleagues who can't think of any women with whom to engage. It probably won't be, and I will continue to do this (uncompensated) work at the expense of my own scholarship and more substantive blog posts.

Most of these all-male lists are probably due to negligence rather than real malice. But an unintentional slight here, an unintentional slight there, and it starts to add up to real exclusion. One thing we've learned this fall is that we can't afford to ignore any perspectives just because they don't come from our own inner circles.

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