Too many Democratic candidates are running on a platform consisting mainly of being anti-Trump. Democrats have a terrible turnout record in mid-term elections and all close elections end up being turnout elections. Even in our current intensely polarized political climate there are persuadables who will actually go to the polls. Winning their votes is also an essential component of a victorious strategy. There is a lot here and it is important so let’s explore.
In order to be viable in a competitive election in 2018 Democrats have to actually be for something. Being against Trump isn’t enough. In 2016 Hillary Clinton won every female demographic, (including the total female vote), save one; white women which she narrowly lost to Trump 53-47. There will be a plethora of female Democrats running in November many of whom will help drive women voters to the polls. Regardless of gender, Democrats are going to need to turn that white woman vote around while retaining the lead in all the other sub-demographics. The best and only honest way to do it is to appeal to the issues women hold the dearest. Fortunately those stances are consistent with Democratic principles. Let’s look at what a few of them are.
Most of them are what one of my late mentors, John Maloney, Sr. called the kitchen table issues which have been the strength of Democratic platforms since at least the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They are what I call the real family values.
Women favor a strong public education system. They want their children, regardless of economic circumstances to go to a good school and have the opportunity to receive a quality education. While not the panacea that Democrats often portray it to be, education is still the greatest predictor of upward social mobility. At the federal level Republican enablers put Betsy DeVos in charge of the Department of Education. At the state level they are consistently trying to take money away from traditional public schools and funnel it to private and charter school run by their financiers at a profit.
Women realize that for their children to achieve in school they need to be healthy. Therefore affordable and available health care is another priority. At the federal level it is Republican policy to overturn Obamacare. Unable to achieve that despite control of both chambers of Congress they have nonetheless done everything they can to sabotage Obamacare. At the state level Republican controlled states have refused Medicaid expansion costing lives in the process.
It takes money to run a household. Today most women work outside the house. They would simply like to be paid based on their contribution, not their gender. Equal pay is simply fair and smart business. It’s about time women receive it. I could write an entire essay justifying equal pay from every perspective including that of the most vehement woman hater’s. Suffice to say that if you do not embrace equal pay you shouldn’t be running as a Democrat.
Still staying on the jobs front, women also want their jobs and those of their family to pay a living wage. Working forty hours a week only to still need the social safety net isn’t a good way to live, nor is it fair for the taxpayers to subsidize the payroll of companies as large and profitable as Walmart. I’m a typical Democrat who wants a strong social safety net realizing that similar to a seatbelt you never want to rely on it but it does save lives.
Don’t let your Republican opponent beat you with their job creation talk based on tax cutting, trickle-down economics. As them how Sam Brownback’s tax cut worked in Kansas. Then go out and get the latest numbers that prove the Obama economic recovery has actually lost velocity under the Trump Tower Tax Cut. Making a few people at the top rich just never seems to trickle down to Joe (or perhaps in this case Jane) Lunchbucket.
Women do want a few things for themselves and their daughters. Paramount among them is to make their own decision about reproduction and access to their bodies. We currently have a President who openly bragged of repeatedly committing sexual assault. At the state level, Republican legislatures have consistently passed laws restricting the availability of abortion to the point that it borders on unaffordable and in some cases women don’t discover they are pregnant until it is too late to legally obtain an abortion under their state’s laws.
Then we come to a special category of women; what we commonly call women of a certain age (basically mine and older). They are old enough to remember the days before Roe. They remember when all women were valued for the content of their brassiere as opposed to the content of their cranium. They desperately want to see a woman President before they die even though deep down inside they feel it will never be allowed to happen. These women are largely retired, have a lifetime of experience and make great campaign workers. You not only need their votes you need to channel their energy and anger if you want to win in November.
Dear 2018 Democratic candidate for state or federal office you cannot win by just being anti-Trump and you certainly cannot win without the support of female voters.
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