By Dave Andrusko
A few thoughts on the “war on women,” as the last post of the day. When even CNN starts its story today with “The so-called war on women that Democrats love to talk about on the campaign trail may be losing some of its luster,” you know the preposterous idea is running out of ammunition.
Stephen Collinson, writing on “How the ‘war on women’ is changing,” doesn’t tell us anything revolutionary but is helpful nonetheless. Collinson writes
“The attack line — aimed at painting Republicans as out of sync with women on contraception, abortion and other issues — isn’t resonating like in 2012, when Democrats hurled it at the GOP with a devastating effect. Instead, Republicans have improved their standing among women during this election cycle, narrowing the gender gap in key races that could decide control of the Senate.”
(For more on those pivotal races, and the shrinking gender gap, see “Six new NBC News/Marist polls offer encouragement for November 4 mid-term elections.”)
So, why not the same impact? It goes without saying that Republicans have not made the kinds of rhetorical mistakes they did in 2012, mistakes that NRLC Executive Director David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., explored in detail (see “Learning from the 2012 Elections”). In fact, as has been frequently pointed out, it is Democrats who have made one mistake after another in the 2014 election cycle.
For example, just about everyone (regardless of political persuasion) agrees incumbent pro-abortion Colorado Senator Mark Udall (D) wildly overshot the mark with his incessant emphasis on abortion/women’s reproductive health issues. (The fact that he misstated his opponent’s position on various parts of that constellation of issues hurt him even with the reliably pro-Democrat Denver Post editorial board.)
But equally, if not more important, is that Republicans have fielded a very impressive array of female Senatorial candidates. Of course, not all will win. Not all of the men will, either.
But consider the likes of Iowa state Rep. Joni Ernst (R), who is running relatively close among female voters and well ahead among male voters. There are also impressive Republican females running (and winning) governor’s races.
Where Democrats are winning comfortably among female voters, Collinson explained, it’s because they have framed the economic argument better than their Republican rivals.
Of course, since single women are a core Democratic constituency, we can rest assured that the demagoguery of 2012 and 2014 will rear its ugly head in 2016. But forewarned is forearmed.