The measure, which would broaden the reach of domestic violence programs and continue existing grants to law enforcement and battered women shelters, has received widespread support among liberals. Meanwhile, every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee recently struck down the measure when it came to a vote. How could such a bill—which Vice President Joe Bidensaid is not “even a debatable issue” and has incited impassioned op-eds like this one from Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), who was molested and raped in her youth—become victim to gridlock?
But the blame should not be placed entirely on “immoral” Republicans, which is how some Democrats have attempted to frame this debate. There are legitimate reasons for opposing parts of the bill. The legislation expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims of violence, and opponents argue that it does not adequately ensure that grants geared toward domestic violence are well spent. Additionally, it protects new groups, like same-sex couples, which is naturally contentious.
Instead of initiating compromise on some of these measures, however, this polarized debate has incited anger among the general population. From a public relations point-of-view, it is very hard to be against something titled “Violence Against Women,” because it immediately paints that candidate as someone advocating for domestic violence. I would argue that this quality of the bill’s name has increased gridlock by further angering liberals, who can easily overlook the Republicans’ rationale behind their opposition and instead frame them as womanizing politicians.
Though I can certainly understand why supporters would choose this name for the bill—as it essentially forces people to support the bill—this intent certainly backfired. Thus, would renaming bills like this to give them more neutral titles possibly prevent future gridlock?