Wednesday, January 8, 2014

GOP "Female Problem"

Ruth Rosen describes an ongoing and ignored electoral problem for the Republican Party in In These Times.

In 2008 and 2012, President Obama won two presidential elections in Virginia—once viewed as a reliably Republican state—by a tiny margin. More recently, Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, won the Virginia governor’s race by bombarding the public with messages that highlighted Republican efforts to ban contraception and abortion. In the end, he beat his Republican candidate among unmarried women voters by 42 percentage points, according to exit polling.

Republicans, for their part, are well aware of their “female” troubles. How do you run a campaign on a record of trying to unravel the safety net, chip away at women’s reproductive rights and cut food stamps to hungry families? Ron Bonjean, a GOP strategist, acknowledges that “the 2012 election showed that we have problems with female issues. There is a widespread recognition by Republican strategists that this needs to change—as soon as possible.”  Women’s advocacy groups agree. They know that women’s support for pay equity and health care in particular, gives Democrats a tremendous advantage. “It's a deep problem for the Republicans,” says Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Republicans still have a serious “female” problem. Democrats have already staked out a winning strategy—to raise the minimum wage, an appealing policy that cuts across most of the middle class, and certainly reaches those who work at subsistence wages in service jobs. So, unless Democrats fail to mobilize disgruntled women voters, they may have found a winning strategy to sweep the midterm elections.

The Republican’s problem is clear: it’s difficult to vilify women, immigrants, minorities and low-income citizens for eight years and then ask them to elect you to political office. That, in fact, is the definition of true chutzpah.

No comments: