Thursday, November 06, 2014

Women problems for Democrats

Before we get back to dissecting election results, let's take note of the first kernel of wisdom emerging from the early analysis of the dismal Democratic results; women bailed on them.  And not just in Texas.

Democrats hoped women voters would help them weather a tough election year, but weariness with President Barack Obama and disgust with relentless partisan warfare in Washington prompted many to abandon the party they had backed two years earlier.


Female voters expressed disgust with both parties, but on Election Day it was the Democrats who suffered most. They needed to win the women's vote by a wide margin in order to offset Republicans' huge advantage among white men.

In the end, Democrats won women by 5 percentage points over Republicans, according to exit polls -- far short of the double-digit margins they have racked up in more successful years.

Democrats lost women voters even in states like Colorado, where they ran a relentless campaign accusing Republicans of threatening access to abortion and birth control. Voters tossed out Democratic Senator Mark Udall even as they rejected an anti-abortion ballot initiative.

Many of the dozen women interviewed by Reuters in battleground states said while they supported abortion rights, they were more concerned by what they described as faltering leadership in the White House and a tendency by candidates from both parties to focus on negative attacks rather than explain what they wanted to achieve.

"I can't vote for people who allow such negativity, because it doesn't say much for their characters. They're being politicians -- they're not being the kind of leader I want," said Maxine Schein, 69, a lifelong Democrat who this year voted for a third-party candidate.

That's Team Blue's first wake up call.   Here's the snooze going off again.  You should read from the beginning for context that includes the struggles to raise the minimum wage (many women), address pay inequality (mostly women), and defend assaults against reproductive freedom (all women).  There's also been the discussions around sexism and violence epitomized by this year's hashtag #YesAllWomen -- it has a Wiki if you fellas were out to lunch-- as well as the domestic abuse cases among NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson that captured the nation's attention, and the glaring exposure given to the rape culture on college campuses.

Now then...

There is a strong desire to see society no longer dominated by old, wealthy white men which gives the idea of a woman president great appeal. Unfortunately, it is Hillary Clinton, as of now, who is the most likely female candidate in 2016.

Hillary Clinton has been entrenched in corporate politics for decades with ties to the largest corporations in the world including Boeing, Goldman Sachs and Walmart. She’s part of the corporate club – not a tool to end their agenda. Any real fight for women’s equality will come up against the resistance of corporate America, which will not accept changes that affect their bottom line. This is why we need to build a mass women’s movement independent of both corporate parties linked to a new political force representing the interests of the 99% against the 1%.

The Democrats want women to believe that the way to defend their rights is to vote for them. It is certainly true that right-wing Republicans have been the main force attacking women’s rights in recent times. Yet the Democrats have singularly failed to stop these vicious attacks.

You don't have to buy what follows: the author's suggestion that a genuine socialist movement is the best response.  I think there's enough opportunity for Greens and even some progressive Democrats to take the initiative and run with it.

Jill Stein was certainly that person in 2012.  Elizabeth Warren could be that person in 2016, but probably won't be.  The real question is: what woman will?  I don't think a man can sell this.

Anyway, I suspect there'll be much more to blog about on this topic over the next few years.

Update: At least here in Texas it should be noted, in context and in clarification, that "women" is meant to refer to "white women".

I went to the Texas Tribune first for a dissection of the election results, and one piece of information struck me as particularly… wrong. The Tribune cited CNN exit polls to illustrate the landslide, saying Abbott “beat Davis by lopsided margins with white voters (72-27), men (65-34) and women (52-47). Davis beat Abbott among Latinos (57-42) and African-Americans (93-7).” Last time I checked, though, there were thousands upon thousands of women in Texas considered Latina and African-American — what about their votes?

As RH Reality Check’s Andrea Grimes reports, their votes were solidly in Davis’ favor: 94 percent of black women and 61 percent of Latinas voted for her. Only 32 percent of white women did. That’s certainly not enough women to say that Abbott won the whole gender (though that’s a ludicrous statement in the first place).

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