It’s always comical to watch the party that never stops screeching about “identity politics” try its hand at nakedly empty appeals to those same groups, especially when their fake members are more compelling than the nine real ones. Hot on the heels of their “Republicans are people, too” campaign that included stock photos of people who might not have been Republicans at all, the GOP is out with another bit of fail-y outreach to the voters they spend every other waking minute alienating. Their idea to reach out to women, who voted for Barack Obama by an 11-point margin in 2012, is to put out an ad demonstrating that there are at least nine women in the party. Most of them aren’t in Congress (yet), which sort of highlights how Republican voters don’t elect women. There are 23 Republican women in Congress, versus 76 Democrats, but that’s because shut up.
The ad itself is so ham-fisted that it should conclude, “I’m Oscar Mayer and I approved this message,” but the good folks at Emily’s List decided to add some substance to the literal word salad that ties together the spot’s “Look! Womenz!” clips:
Kudos to Emily’s List for not even bringing up the pig castration, anchor-babying, and plagiarism, but in the press release accompanying the video, included the Republican narrative that’s fueling their delusion that the party can appeal to women:
“We don’t need Cosmo to do the same thing the Democrat political operatives do and stereotype women as a voting bloc that doesn’t care about the economy, national debt, immigration, or foreign policy,” Day wrote. “I was also disappointed when Cosmo said they won’t endorse any candidate who doesn’t meet their litmus test on abortion. Again, they are perpetuating the stereotype that women only care about a narrow set of ‘women’s issues’ and have only one opinion on them.”
The Republican Party, staunch defenders of the interests of white men, realizes that they don’t do poorly with all women. Mitt Romney won with white women by an impressive 14 points. He also won with married women by a seven point margin, but the message they seem to have taken from this is that all they really have to do is take their regular white male appeal and slap some lipstick on it. If you’re married, and reasonably privileged, why would you need an abortion, or contraception, or even equal pay? You’re way more complicated than these “narrow women’s issues,” right? You’re probably married to a dude who’s benefiting from the pay gap, anyway, so evening things up is only going to help out some other chick.
The problem is that, when you look a little more closely at those results, they tell a more complicated story. White women and married women are the only two groups of women that Romney won, but among women with children living at home, he lost by 13%. What Republicans fail to understand is that those “narrow women’s issues” are actually not narrow at all, and not just women’s issues. Family planning is primarily an economic issue. Sixty-one percent of women who have abortions already have children. and three quarters of women cite economic reasons for having an abortion.
If the Democrats have erred in their “War on Women” strategy, it has been in not more accurately labeling it the “War on Those Women,” the kind who need equality and freedom of choice. They’re already doing pretty well with women, but such an acknowledgement would help them to get the 44% of women they didn’t get last time to realize that a lot of them are “those women.”