I just published an essay on Donald Trump and included some data on recent presidential elections and thought it made sense to do a separate post on the importance of American women in presidential elections.
Actually, “importance” does not do justice to the weight women have in our national elections: primacy is a more appropriate word.
Look at this chart and see what I’m talking about:
Mitt Romney won the men’s vote by a wide margin (52% vs 45%), but lost the women’s vote by a much bigger margin (44% vs 55% — a whopping 11 points).
On top of this differential, many more women than men voted in the election: 53% of votes cast vs only 47% for men.
Much was written about why Romney lost, but it’s all a waste of words when you consider the lopsided gender result in the election. No other voting segment even comes close to the women’s voting block (Hispanic, for example, was only 10% of total, making the women’s segment more than 5 times as big in the election).
George W. Bush defeated John Kerry in 2004, and did so in my opinion by closing the gap on the female vote (but not entirely):
Bush won the men’s vote by 11 points and lost the women’s vote by only 3 points, and won the election overall.
If more women had gone Kerry’s way, Bush would not have won — just look at the dominance overall: women accounted for 54% of the vote vs 46% for men.
A Republican running for president must appeal to women sufficiently to narrow the gap the way George Bush did.
Nothing else matters, in my opinion.
Abortion and Issues that are not Abortion
Now, it is clear that a Republican candidate will fail to win a majority of women’s votes for as long as that candidate is anti-abortion.
Therefore, there are only two ways to go if a Republican seeks to win more female votes:
- Embrace the Pro-Choice stance on abortion rights, and mean it
- Appeal to women on other passionate policy matters and hope that such matters can compete with the abortion issue when considering presidential candidates
I am not hopeful about candidates embracing #1: Republicans campaigning to win the primaries are afraid to go against the pro-life wing of the party. I think this is a shame, because I absolutely believe that a pro-choice Republican would destroy any Democratic candidate in every presidential election from now until the end of time.
But it won’t happen.
Therefore, we need to encourage the second option above.
So how did George Bush largely close the gap in 2004?
I am not sure, but I recall a lot of ink being spilled promoting the notion that his focus on security in the wake of 9/11 resonated with many women.
So what are the existential issues facing out nation in 2016?
Clearly the federal debt, at $18.3 trillion and counting (>100% of GDP…), and the trillions in unfunded liabilities across Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and now Obamacare; the rise of Russia; the rise of Muslim Jihad inside the American homeland; the rise of China; the accelerating destruction of our health care system; and the asphyxiation of our nation by rampant illegal immigration and associated costs we can no longer afford financially or culturally.
Will any of these compete with the abortion issue among female voters?
I certainly hope so, but it will take a strong Republican candidate to set the right priorities for 310 million Americans whose heritage, values, and legacy of freedom are under vicious and unrelenting assault from a federal government that knows no bounds and crushes all in its path.