Sunday, March 11, 2012

G.O.P. Marginalizing Centrist Women

Saturday’s New York Times featured an article about the GOP agenda and subsequent female Republican frustrations. Frustrations stem from the Party’s recent focus on social issues, such as health care coverage for contraception and abortion rights. Many centrist women, who have voted R in the past, have grown tired of candidates’ attempts to invigorate the conservative base of the GOP by focusing on “bedroom issues.”

A Seattle woman was quoted in the article saying, “If Republicans would stop all this ridiculous talk about contraception, I’d consider voting in November.” While many centrist females feel disenfranchised by the overwhelming focus on contraception and abortion, others have found comfort in Obama’s stance: a promise to guarantee women’s rights to access.

Rush Limbaugh’s inappropriate remarks to a Georgetown Law student, calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute,” exemplify the ferocity of conservatives when addressing these types of issues.

The bottom line is: many women who would vote Republican feel as if they’re compromising control over personal health decisions by supporting Republican hopefuls.

It’ll be interesting to see how women vote in November, as a recent WSJ article highlights the growing inter-party gender gap, presumably because of an intensified focus on birth control issues. 


  1. I think the author’s idea that the current focus on contraception issues will dramatically hurt Republicans’ chances to win the votes of moderate woman voters in the 2012 elections. It seems as though Republicans are focusing on irrelevant social issues at a time when there is a strong uncertainty about America’s economic health—simply put, most voters would rather see the government spending their time working to improve the economy than see them arguing about birth control and other forms of contraception.
    While I’m sure some Republican candidates are finally seeing that they need to distance themselves from this focus on contraception, there are some commentators arguing that women are now being turned off by the way Democrats are attempting to champion themselves as supporters of women’s health. In his opinion piece titled Are Democrats in Danger of Looking Too Political on the Violence Against Women Act?, Slate’s Brian Lowder argues that women are growing tired of Democrats trying to politicize the issue of Birth Control. Lowder argues his point by citing how amendments providing domestic violence support to same-sex couples and support for illegal immigrants are simply political tools that Democrats are using to elicit Republican opposition to the Violence Against Women Act renewal. This argument is absolutely absurd on many levels, but it does show a growing disconnect that some Republicans in the media have with the voting public in regards to social issues. If Republican candidates want to win elections in 2012, they need to stop trying to appease their extreme conservative base and focus largely on winning over moderate voters---something that they are currently not doing well.

  2. Interesting point, that contraception issues are having an effect on the female vote. However, the majority of women voters have voted for Democrats for a few elections (as far as my memory goes back) now and I am not sure how much it is contraception or just the fact that, demographically, women tend to be more liberal. Also, your statement that "Rush Limbaugh’s inappropriate remarks to a Georgetown Law student, calling her a 'slut' and a 'prostitute,' exemplify the ferocity of conservatives when addressing these types of issues" is unfair. Likening Rush's antics to conservatives as a whole is like likening Michael Moore's to liberals. I doubt many politically active conservatives would support Rush's comments, and that definitely isn't part of the mainstreem conservative approach to the issue.