The Democratic Party thinks it has found the winning formula for the 2014 midterm elections: focus on the alleged war on women. From Barack Obama on down, the Democrats believe women will respond to their arguments that the administration’s concentration on “income inequality” will resonate with female voters.
Obama has been postulating that there needs to be more pay equity between the genders and that the minimum wage he espouses would help a disproportionate number of women who would benefit from raising the minimum wage. He is planning on stressing protection for women in the workplace, expanding pregnancy leave, and making it easier for women to leave their jobs to care for their sick children.
The push for the “war on women” comes over the fact that women typically don’t vote as much in mid-term elections, and Democratic victory at the polls usually is accompanied by a larger number of women voting. Unmarried women are moved to vote by government helping them economically. A February CNN poll said that 59% of women and 64% of women older than 50 believe the GOP is out of touch.
White House aides gleefully note that the biggest applause line of Obama’s State of the Union speech was, “I believe when women succeed, America succeeds.”
Page Gardner, founder of the nonpartisan Women’s Voices Women Vote (now the Voter Participation Center), which targets unmarried women to get out the vote, said:
It’s particularly important to have this discussion around these economic issues when you’re going into a midterm election, because, obviously, there’s always drop off … You want to talk to these women in a way that will get them more interested in participating in the process, because they think candidates are speaking to them about their lives.
House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi added, “Democrats’ economic agenda unleashes the full potential of America’s women into our society, energizing our economy and strengthening the middle class — the backbone of our democracy.” Democrats are eager to target the GOP for its resistance to the Paycheck Fairness Act and the minimum wage hike.
And of course, there is always the Democrats’ prime issue: abortion. But now, even EMILY’s List, founded to back pro-choice candidates, is also focusing on income inequality and Obamacare. EMILY’s List Communications Director Jess McIntosh boasted, “Everyone is dying to have this conversation.” She said that Republicans’ “argument is that the issue of economic opportunity for women simply doesn’t exist: We don’t need to close the wage gap. We don’t need to raise the minimum wage.” Furthering her characterization of the GOP, she said, “Now Republicans get to be just as out of touch on economic issues as they are on social issues — which was a really high bar.”
Kirsten Kukowski, the Republican National Committee’s press secretary, sees women as more clear-headed, saying that Democrats are fomenting a “false war on women” and adding that “Democrats can continue their desperate and dishonest war on women, but voters are beginning to wisen up and their message is getting old.” She continued, “The minimum wage eliminating jobs will hurt female workers, Obamacare is hurting women who are more involved in health care decisions and household budgets.”
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear was confident about the Democrats’ approach. He stated:
Most men respond positively to it, not so much on the fairness argument, as from the argument of, “If my spouse is making more money, then we have more money in our family to take care of our kids and provide the quality of life that we need.” And obviously, the fairness of it is important to all of us, but it’s particularly important to women.”