Who knew that you could end up on the cover of Time Magazine as a result of your anger toward the one man — President Trump — who’s most notoriously obsessed with the prestige publication?
Well, that’s pretty much what happened Thursday to three suburban Philadelphia women-turned-first-time-Democrats-running-for-office. Their mugs were splashed onto the cover for a story dubbing them, on the anniversary of last year’s Women’s March, as among an army of political “Avengers.”
The cover features dozens of women whose outrage toward Trump’s election in 2016 and disaffection with the Democratic Party’s response has driven them to surge into activism – and aim for public office themselves.
That happened with stunning scale in November across the suburbs of Philadelphia, where women Democrats flipped Republican seats for school board, township supervisor and even county row offices in a display of Wonder Woman-like electoral strength that has Republicans worried about losing power in this years’ Congressional midterm elections.
And three made it onto Time’s cover, leaving them, well, as giddy as they were proud.
Sara Campbell-Szymanski, hoping for her party’s backing in the primary as she vies for the state House seat formerly held by Republican Mike Vereb of Montgomery County, is on the very bottom row to the very left.
Rachel Fingles, who helped Bucks County Democrats flip three of four school board seats in November in GOP-heavy Bensalem, was not only the top vote-getter in that field of eight candidates, the Northeast Philadelphia family lawyer landed right on top of the “ER” in Time’s “AVENGERS” prominent headline.
Chrissy Houlahan, who’s vying to unseat Chester County Republican Congressman Ryan Costello, is second from the left in the second from bottom row.
“I saw it and went, ‘Oh my God,’” Fingles told me by phone this afternoon as she left her law office to pick up her daughters, ages 6 and 3 and take them home.
“I immediately texted my parents,” Fingles said, laughing. They posted it on Facebook and it went nuts from there, with one friend-and-family tag after another.
Campbell-Szymanski had just finished meeting with members of a political action committee in her living room and had gone into her 3-year-old daughter’s bedroom when she found out, via Facebook notification, of the Time cover.
She called her husband with a purposefully nonchalant tone and delivered the news:
“Just wanted to let you know,” she said, “I’m on the cover of Time Magazine. Yep. Just wanting to let you know.”
Of course, the Ursinus College biology-and-dance graduate was anything but nonchalant. It’s thrilling, she said, to not only see herself on such a time-honored and iconic magazine cover, but to see all the other women there, too, each celebrated for having gotten moving after Trump’s election left them despondent a little over a year ago.
Fingles said she couldn’t get to last year’s Women’s March but planned to be there this Saturday. She said the sheer number of women on the Time cover is inspiring and symbolic.
But the Penn State undergrad and Drexel University law school grad said she is most acutely moved by a more up-close view of the unfolding phenomenon of women seeking — and grabbing — power: The 7-2 split of women to men she now sits among on the formerly majority male — and Republican — Bensalem school board.
“There is really something to be said,” Fingles said, “for what is going on right now.”