Three and a half months ago, Kassie Cerami* and I created a new Facebook group titled Idaho Women for Biden. We each invited several of our closest women friends and, in just 48 hours, the group had grown to 400 members. In a week, we had reached 1,000 members, all without spending a penny in promotion. The growth was completely organic; women invited other women.
We quickly came to understand that many women had been reluctant to join because the group was public. They feared retribution by neighbors and worried that their kids would be ostracized at school. Nevertheless, they put their fears aside and joined because they couldn’t stand the thought of four more years of a Donald Trump presidency. They were more than ready to consider Joe Biden.
After a couple weeks, we decided to make the group private and, after Joe Biden named his running mate, we changed its name to Idaho Women for Biden-Harris.
Now, three and a half months after our first post, Idaho Women for Biden-Harris boasts 10,500 members. Our members cover a wide range of the political spectrum.
Some would prefer that Bernie Sanders had won the Democratic nomination; others wish they could vote for Mitt Romney. All are supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Many tell us they are voting for a Democrat for the first time.
Group members reside in all 44 Idaho counties, and come from every nook and cranny in the state. Most hail from Idaho’s larger cities: Boise, Meridian, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Moscow, Pocatello, Lewiston, Nampa, Twin Falls, Eagle, and Caldwell. But many others come from Idaho’s smallest towns, places like Greencreek and Rockcreek, Moyie Springs and Soda Springs, to name a few.
Members include educators and entrepreneurs, health care providers and homemakers, retail workers and realtors, lawyers and librarians, models and mechanics. Some are Idaho natives; others are transplants. All adhere to the group’s norms of civility, kindness and respect.
It's always tricky to rely on anecdotes to get a sense of the mood of the electorate, but the membership of Idaho Women for Biden has provided a number of insights; it has become something of a 10,000-member focus group.
Thanks to Facebook’s analytics, we know that, in the last 28 days, our page has had 450,000 posts, comments and reactions. By any measure, that’s impressive member engagement. We’ve heard story after story of women in their 50s, 60s and 70s voting for the first time. Others, who had not voted in years, returned to the polls. Many women tell us they’ve convinced their Republican husbands to vote for Biden, persuading them that their daughters’ futures deserve nothing less. We’ve been deeply moved by accounts from women from rural towns who thought they were alone and isolated in their political beliefs only to discover that some of their neighbors are also group members.
We know from national polls there is a sizeable gender gap in the presidential campaign: Biden receives much stronger support from women than does the current occupant of the White House. Based on our experience with Idaho Women for Biden-Harris, it would appear Idaho women are no exception. Each of our members has her own life story and her own reasons for joining the Biden-Harris campaign. In this brief video, four members share their thinking.
If 10,500 Idaho women are this bullish on Biden, that bodes well for Tuesday’s general election.
*Kassie Cerami is the state lead for Idaho for Biden and served as the Idaho state director for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.