Q&A: The Suburban Women Problem, A New Podcast Out Of Northeast Ohio

A woman in a sundress and high heels vacuums the rug while holding up a sofa while a man reading a book and smoking a pipe lays on it.
The Suburban Women Problem, a new podcast from Red Wine and Blue. [Red Wine and Blue]
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Red Wine and Blue, the Shaker Heights-born group that sought to turn out suburban Ohio moms for Democrats, is expanding its reach, in advance of the 2022 midterm elections.

It’s launching a podcast Wednesday called The Suburban Women Problem.

Through it, Red Wine and Blue hopes to hold and build on Democratic inroads in traditionally Republican suburbs. That could be hard, given that the president’s party usually loses power in the midterms.

Morning Edition host Amy Eddings spoke with Red Wine and Blue’s founder, Katie Paris, and two of the podcast’s three co-hosts. Amanda Weinstein is an economics associate professor at the University of Akron, and a U.S. Air Force veteran who left the Republican Party because it wasn’t lining up with her economics or her Christian values. Jasmine Clark is a scientist and a Democratic State Representative in Georgia. In 2018, she became the first Black woman to represent her district. She was reelected in 2020.

It was Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham who said Republicans have a suburban women problem. Katie, define what that problem is.

KATIE PARIS: They have been thinking about suburban moms for a while now as these 1950s housewives who defer to our husbands, whose lives are nothing like they actually are. So, that’s their suburban women problem, and we are gonna talk about what it’s actually like to be a suburban woman in America today.

The podcast is billed as a safe space for suburban women to change their minds. Katie, what do you mean by that?

KATIE PARIS: Well, I think in today’s political climate there are far too few spaces where it feels like people can step forward and say, 'You know, I’m not sure I know everything about this issue quite yet. But I have a feeling other people don’t either. Is there a safe space anywhere where I can ask questions and kind of find a sense of connection and belonging with other women who wanna do the right thing for their families and have a real sense of shared values?'

Amanda, you changed your mind. Tell me more about that and whether it felt unsafe for you to do that.

AMANDA WEINSTEIN: I wouldn’t say it felt unsafe, but I didn’t have a connection to other people who were like me and who changed their mind. Basically, I grew up in a very evangelical household. My mom actually ran a crisis pregnancy center. To say that I was pro-life I think is a very big understatement. And that was a foundational value for me and my family.

But I’m also an economist and I’m also research-driven, data-driven. And when I looked at the research on what actually lowers abortion rates, things like giving women access to health care, giving women access to contraceptives, and I just looked at the research and said, my pro-life values are showing me I should be supporting candidates who are supporting women and backing them up in their decisions and giving them access to health care. And there was one party that was doing that over and over again and one party that wasn’t.

And I had the same conversation with my mom, about the research I was doing and what I was finding. And I totally flipped my mom as well. I didn’t mean to! I was just kinda wanting someone to talk with that I knew shared my values. And we both kind of came to the same place of moving further down the political spectrum.

Amanda Weinstein, co-host of the new podcast, The Suburban Women Problem.

Amanda Weinstein [Amanda Ellis Photography]

Katie, I know your organization, Red Wine and Blue, was really hoping to flip Ohio blue in the 2020 presidential election. It did not. It went eight points for President Trump. Rep. Clark, I wanted to bring you into this conversation. When I look at the turnout for the suburbs, some of the Black suburbs in Cleveland like Warrensville Heights, Garfield Heights, Euclid had low turnout, like 60 percent. Some precincts, in the 50s.

JASMINE CLARK: So, I think what we have to do is get to the root of why people don’t vote. Sometimes people don’t vote because there are barriers to voting. Sometimes people don’t vote because they don’t feel like they have something to vote for. They feel just disenfranchised by the system as a whole. And that’s why I would love to have guests like that on The Suburban Women Problem as well. Let’s find out what is stopping people from showing up to the polls so we can try to work on that. Root cause is going to help us make gains over time dramatically.

Georgia State Rep. Jasmine Clark

Jasmine Clark [Richard Skoonberg]

Georgia probably never really was a red state. It’s probably been pretty purple this entire time. But the truth is, the reason why we weren’t recognized as a swing state is because those voters weren’t turning out. But once we got those voters to show up, I think now they will continue to show up because now they see the power of their vote.

I mean, ten years ago, Gwinnett County, where I live, was ruby, ruby red. Mitt Romney blew Barack Obama out of the water. But then by the time we got to 2020, Biden definitely ran up the points. So, it can happen. I’m rooting for Ohio because it happened here in Georgia and no one would have ever guessed it. And so it takes getting down to the conversational level to get people to understand why it is so important for them to show up to the polls.

Red Wine and Blue is known for very cheeky social media memes and posts. Rep. Clark and Amanda, how do you hope to keep that energy going?

AMANDA WEINSTEIN: Oh, yeah. I try to keep it going with a glass of wine on every podcast. So, definitely grab a glass of wine and join me. But we have a lot of fun. I think the point is, is politics doesn’t also have to be as serious and mean as it usually is.

JASMINE CLARK: I have fun, but I will say, at the statehouse, there are fun days and then there are days where I am ready to go home and pour my glass of wine. I just enjoy the conversations that we have. You know, while we are all suburban women, we have very different perspectives about some things, and so it’s gonna make for some really good conversation.

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