Sunday, August 04, 2013

Is GOP Courting the Votes of Women?

In order to bring women back to voting for Republicans again, it is going to be essential to have Republican leadership and candidates capable of speaking to them in terms of economic philosophy and their lives.  Our economic philosophy works best for families, as well as individuals, and we need Republicans capable of articulating that message.

A recent poll revealed an extraordinary statistic - 4 out of 5 Americans face poverty and/or joblessness in their lifetime. 

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.
At one time, the term compassionate conservative was used in a favorable light. The reason being that it acknowledged that conservatives show compassion through our political philosophy.  There is no compassion to be found from liberal political philosophy that entraps whole generations in continual dependence on the federal government.  A person beholden to the federal government for survival is not a free person.  Now, with the portion of the Republican party voters that demand such harsh and simplistic rhetoric as to simply cut all social programs and entitlements as a means to economic progress, the party message sounds cruel and unforgiving to those truly in need.

We can reach out to women and bring them back into voting Republican again if we make the effort. We have to walk and chew gum at the same time again.

Think about it.  Women are the caretakers in the family.  Women make the economic decisions in the purchasing power of the family. These are general statements but for a majority of households it is true. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Why would the Republican party allow that fact to be overshadowed by extremist voices that turn off women voters?  Remember when the Soccer Moms of the Clinton days became the Security Moms of the George W. Bush days? Why have we allowed our common sense economic philosophy to be tossed aside as the social issues and purity demands of a small segment of the Republican party become the headline makers?  

Why not focus on what we as Republicans do believe about entitlement programs and social agendas?  No one asks that anyone abandon value beliefs.  What is necessary, however, in a real conversation is that we must become capable of expressing our political philosophy in a way that regular voters understand.  Republicans are good at rambling off numbers and statistics and all the boring stuff in politics.  What we have to do is get personal. Appealing to voters on an emotional level is not something Republicans are very comfortable with but it is where we have to go.  Think of it as putting a personal face on a policy position.  Think of it as America's story.

Women relate in a very personal way to government assistance.  It is hard to imagine anyone in today's America that doesn't have a family member or dear friend who has not accepted help from the federal government at one time or another.  Whether it is social security and food stamps for the elderly, unemployment insurance, WIC assistance for mothers and children, disability payments, and on and on.  The Republican party is the party of life - that includes taking responsibility for the lives of those in need of a hand. A hand up, not a hand out. While we continue to promote local and religious organizations to help out those in need, we must carry a message that the government is there for help, too, but we bring a message that the help is temporary - a safety net, if you will - and not a way of life. That message has to be told and told again and again. Personal stories are the way forward.

As referenced HERE by my friend, Lisa, it is understandable when either side of the aisle mocks the other side but it is necessary to turn it all around and show the alternative in a way that resonates.  How about instead of ridiculing the Democrat's story of Julia and her dependency on government programs, Republicans do their own story of a woman and how our vision works?

In the meantime, Hillary Clinton rolls on.  Her fans are ramping up for her 2016 campaign as I type this. Where is the female face of leadership in the GOP? We have lots of strong and successful women working in the party, all the way up to governorships.  We need women as the face of the party.  It's good to focus on Latinos and blacks and Asians, yes, but women in general have to come first. All women. For now. We have to start there in growing the party.

The Republican party is the party of small, efficient government. We are not the party of no government. It's easy to get carried away with harsh rhetoric. It is more important to treat others as we wish to be treated.  Ronald Reagan implored us to be happy warriors.  We need all voters to help us get our country back on track.  

Read this article, written by a Republican woman, and think about what she is saying.  It is the same message I've been talking about since last November. Republicans have to tailor our message to different audiences.  Minority outreach is good.  Outreach to women is crucial.  

It is ok to have many opinions within a party as long as we agree on the majority of positions.  Remember Ronald Reagan's 80% determination?  If someone agrees with the party on 80% of its policies, that person is one of our voters.  Do not be so close minded or simplistic to expect every adult voter to agree with 100% of a party's platform and its planks.  That is unrealistic and, frankly, a little creepy.  We are the party that encourages individualism, after all.  

It will take all of us in 2014 and in 2016, too.  Do not feed on those perpetually outraged.  Look to those doing the real work - going out into communities, promoting education, helping families in need, mentoring teenagers, and so on.  There is much to be done.  Talk to people.  

Do not kid yourself - women voters of all political philosophy - will vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 if she is the Democratic nominee.  Women are past ready for a woman president.  Just as Barack Obama brought out black voters from both parties, Hillary Clinton will do the same from women voters.  That is a hard reality.  Do not allow yourself to be in a happy talk bubble.  

Read the article.  Get ready.  Be prepared to fight onward.

1 comment:

Wilco Voter said...

I'm not trying to be persnickety here, but as an independent voter, I am appalled that House Republicans would pass a farm bill that looks to me like just so much corporate welfare while refusing to pass legislation to continue the SNAP program until there is an agreement on how many families to kick out. We've just been through the worst economic recession in this country since the depression. We still have unemployment above 7%. This certainly gives the appearance that Republicans care more about removing families from a safety net program than about generating jobs for people so they wouldn't need food stamps. Frankly, I don't buy into the whole "job creators" meme. To me, Republicans just look heartless.