Having found the tagline “War on Women” an effective rallying cry for challenging proposed Republican spending cuts, Democrats are preparing to rework it for Hillary Clinton’s likely 2016 presidential run.
“I don’t think people should be surprised if 2016 campaigns talk about women’s issues. Or if they talk about access to voting for minorities, or talk about economic interests,” said Tom Lopach, the new executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, to National Journal on Tuesday. “At a time when millionaires and corporations are getting their due and regular folks are finding it harder to pay for college, save for retirement, and pay for gas to run kids to soccer,”
What does Lopach mean by “women’s issues”? “Millionaires… getting their due” hurts women economically? Placed in the context of the first battle in the “War on Women,” which raged in 2011 over Republican plans to defund Planned Parenthood, Lopach appears to be indicating that the Democratic Party — led by a handful of feminist senators and Hillary herself — will double down on its efforts to push for more wealth transfers from taxpayers to the federal bureaucracy and leftist non-profits during the upcoming presidential campaign.
The meme morphed from a charge Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) used to spook $1.1 million dollars from Obamacare supporters into a a key part of President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Mainstream media glommed onto it. A typical example: a 2012 New York Times editorial demonizes Republican pushback as an “assault on women’s equality and well-being” and, ironically, calls state laws aimed at reducing abortions a “death sentence.”
But there’s a problem with the “War on Women” rhetoric, one Republicans could exploit: ignoring the effect Democratic policies have on living, breathing women while pushing liberal social engineering labeled as “women’s issues.” Women who exercise their “reproductive right” to have an abortion suffer devastating consequences, and not from Republican spending cuts. According to research left-leaning media tends to ignore, abortions leave “a discernible wake of sorrow, suffering, and devastation” that traumatizes women.
Democrats go so far as to focus on preventing working women from becoming pregnant at all — employers are even forced under Obamacare to pay for sterilization procedures for their female, but not male, employees — and call the opposition their proposals generate a “war” against “rights” and “health.” In other words, childbearing is seen under Democratic legislation as a health problem to be treated like a disease. Does encouraging women to avoid having families make them happy? Not exactly, according to a 2011 survey of white collar workers. The most unhappy type of worker profiled was a 42-year-old unmarried woman with no children.
A 2016 “War on Women” corollary might run into another problem: The current hysteria over campus “rape culture” has suffered a series of embarrassments from experts and mainstream media reporters. The “one in five women on campus will be sexually assaulted” myth has been rejected by self-identified feminists and questioned by sympathetic media. The horrific tale of a a gang rape on campus, whose grand reveal was meant to inspire agitators to impose a “radical feminist culture seeking to upend the patriarchy” on the “genteel” University of Virginia’s campus, imploded after media spoke to the accuser’s friends — and revealed what appears to be an elaborate catfishing scheme behind the hoax.
Republicans have had some success challenging the Democrats’ tone-deaf narrative. As the National Journal points out, former Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) alienated voters in the 2014 elections by furiously denouncing Cory Garner for trying to outlaw birth control, period — as Garner called for allowing contraceptives to be bought without a prescription.
Democrats are signaling that the historic 2014 Congressional losses have not deterred them from abandoning “War on Women.” If Hillary Clinton chooses to run in 2016, Republicans had better prepare to defend against a campaign that will wield social issues like a club. The 2016 “War on Women” hyperbole will make “binders full of women” a blip on the radar.
Follow Katie on Twitter: @k_mcq. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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