Congressman who complained that he couldn't call women 'sluts' loses seat — to a woman.
Minnesota Republican Jason Lewis had a bad midterm election night.
Jason Lewis won his House seat for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District in 2016 by a narrow margin, beating out Democrat Angie Craig by two points. In another tight rematch, he lost his seat in the 2018 midterms to Craig—and the poetic irony of it is almost palpable.
Lewis has a history of misogynistic comments on the radio show he hosted from 2009 to 2014, which were brought into the public eye by CNN's KFILE in July. According to CNN, he said that young female voters are "ignorant of the important issues in life." He also argued, among other things, that young single women vote based on whether or not their birth control will be covered, and said those women were not human beings and without brains.
When Rush Limbaugh called women's rights activist Sandra Fluke a "slut," Lewis lamented not being able to use that word.
In March 2012, Lewis responded to radio host Rush Limbaugh's infamous labeling of Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown grad student who advocated for insurance to cover contraception, as a "slut" and a "prostitute." Why a reasonable conservative would be against a practice that could significantly reduce abortion rates is beyond me, but rather than defend common sense, Lewis defended the misogynistic name-calling.
"Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question. Take this woman out of it, take Rush out of it for a moment. Does a woman now have the right to behave—and I know there's a double standard between the way men chase women and running and running around—you know, I'm not going to get there, but you know what I'm talking about. But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can't call her a slut?"
Well yes, sir, we are beyond "those days" when we "required modesty" from women and the "double standard" was accepted as virtue. That's why you don't sit in Congress anymore.
Lewis's loss hopefully sends a message that the times are a-changin'.
Lewis's campaign insists that he was simply doing his job as a radio host by being "provocative." Well, sure. And if you decide to make your living by promoting horrible ideas as a provocateur, you probably don't need to be representing thousands of constituents in the government.
The fact that Lewis lost his congressional seat to a woman seems like sweet poetic justice, but women are still largely underrepresented in Congress. My hope is that we stop giving folks with backwards views on gender equality a voice at the legislative table, no matter whom they're running against. We've had too many of those people on Capitol Hill for far too long already.