February 01, 2019

This week on To The Contrary with Bonnie Erbe, our panelists discuss the growing number of female politicians running for president, a new push towards ratifying the ERA, and women in selective service: should women be forced to join the draft?

On the panel this week joining host Bonnie Erbe is: Lara Brown, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Linda Chavez, Chair Emeritus, Center for Equal Opportunity; Tiana Lowe, Contributor, Washington Examiner

Click read more to see what they had to say!


The majority of declared presidential candidates are women. What role will women play in 2020?

  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton: “Medicare For All. I can give you a half dozen varieties of Medicare for All. I hope that we break that down, so that we who are Democrats don’t just hand the Republicans, not a talking point, but perhaps [a weapon].”  

  • Linda Chavez:  “Most of the (candidates) we’re talking about, men and women in the Democratic party with the exception of Joe Biden are unknown quantities, the American people don’t know them. And how one of them is going to break through the pack and emerge in a way that gives them credibility- you’re talking about relatively junior legislators.

  • Lara Brown:  “Historically speaking, an embattled incumbent typically wins reelection.”

  • Tiana Lowe: “If someone like Sen. Amy Klobuchar were able to come in and define the fact that a Democrat can just be a temperate, sane, liberal counterpoint to the insanity and the bells and whistles of the Trump administration, she could have a real shot.”

  • Bonnie Erbe: “The internet and raising money in presidential politics has been going on for a while now, but this might be the year where (candidates) raise more money from online donors in small amounts than they do from corporations.”


A new push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.

  • Kamala Lopez: “When we started this in 2009, the ERA education project, they had laughed in my face and said it’ll never happen it’s dead, dead, dead. Cut to 10 years later, two and a half states later, about to get this job done.”

  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton: “The most salient argument, the one that was used when we were in the streets trying to get the ERA is unintended consequences.”

  • Linda Chavez:  “The Constitution is pretty gender neutral. The word person is used throughout the Constitution with the exception of voting.”

  • Lara Brown:  “On one hand we probably don't need (the ERA) because we do have a variety of statutes that already address discrimination, but I do think that one of the things that is important to realize about it is that those statutes at the legal level put the onus or the burden essentially on the individual who is making the claim that they’re being discriminated against.”

  • Tiana Lowe:  “The ERA is applied to the idea of reproductive justice or reproductive equality. It could be used to expand abortion laws to like what we’re seeing in Virginia and New York in which effectively third trimester abortion, which only 13% of Americans support, is made legal.”  

  • Bonnie Erbe: “ Why do we still have, half century after second-wave feminism, why do we still have #MeToo, why is all this stuff still going on?”

Women & The Draft

A new Congressional commission is evaluating whether women should be a part of the selective service.

  • Dr. Janine Davidson: “In about 2015 all restrictions for women serving in the military were finally lifted. That raised the obvious question, if women can serve in any kind of capacity then shouldn’t they also be required to register for the draft? And then it raised even more questions like do we even need the draft?”

  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton: “I’d really like to distinguish between the draft and registration. Now I would be for everybody registering, I’m against the draft. We got rid of the draft, people.”

  • Linda Chavez: “They did in fact do polling among women who were in the military and there was a deep divide. Women who were commissioned officers in the military wanted combat positions opened up to them. Women who were not commissioned, who were just a GI essentially did not.”

  • Lara Brown: “At some level [it is] hard to say logically that a woman should be Commander in Chief of the United States and yet she’s not even eligible for the draft.”

  • Tiana Lowe: “Having a selective service and having something if we do have to enter WWIII is important. The reality is that we are the global peace keeper of the world.

  • Bonnie Erbe: “Don’t you think that all your fellow members of Congress when they vote on whether to go to war, don’t you think they should have kids in the military and that would influence their decision?”

Be sure to tune in this week for more discussion! Click here to check your local listings.