In a piece for Real Clear Politics, Republican National Committee Co-Chair Sharon Day says that Democrats just don't understand what women voters really want.
Day points to results from a conservative polling group, where “recent polling from Republican pollsters confirms what Republicans have said for years.” Though that statement may be shocking to some, what follows is more of the same: Democrats don't understand women, because they think women are single issue voters who are only concerned with women's health. Further, Day accuses Democrats of blocking a slew of Republican-backed legislation that would help women's interests.
More on women, voting, and those dastardly Democrats from the mind of the RNC Co-Chair below the jump.
Day says that Democrats have “long tried to reduce women to single issue voters,” while “Republican[s]have consistently called them out for failing to respect the fact that women vote on a wide range of issues.” This is the argument that comes up time and time again when anti-choice legislation is on the line and progressive voters and politicians start speaking out against the policies. Interestingly, the party that originates all of the anti-choice legislation is always quick to accuse Democrats of making the conversation “about abortion.” The truth is, if Democratic lawmakers and voters weren't constantly faced with a landslide of legislative attempts to restrict access to reproductive healthcare services, we wouldn't have to be talking about abortion.
Day goes on to accuse Democratic lawmakers of refusing to consider any law filed by a Republican that would address women's concerns, because it would reduce the political efficacy of the “war on women” rhetoric. Listing examples of bills as evidence, Day bemoans the unwillingness of Democrats to compromise on these important issues. Day points out that each and every one of these bills passed the House, but the Senate has so far neglected to take them up.
What Day neglects to mention is the highly partisan nature of almost every bill she lists. One directly and purposefully undermines the Affordable Care Act's thirty hour work week rule. If this one seems right out of the Republican playbook – beat the Obamacare drum until the whole party goes deaf – you would be right. Not only does this misrepresent the point of the 30 hour work week piece of the Affordable Care Act, it completely ignores the positive impact this piece of the ACA has had for many working women who are now able to better access healthcare.
Another bill that would supposedly help women have a better standard of life is one that requires businesses to allow merit-based pay raises outside of a labor contract – thus weakening the bargaining power of unions. If Day is truly hoping to appeal to women who are concerned about access to well-paying and secure employment and a better economic future for their families, perhaps the possibly devastating impact on unionized jobs is important to mention as a side effect.
These are just two examples of the “pro-woman” legislation Day believes women want and Democrats are refusing to consider. In the same breath, Day belittles Democrats' comments about the “monolith” of the female voting block, and then goes on to talk about the necessity of reaching out to exactly that group of voters where the poll says they line up more squarely with conservative values.
The most befuddling argument comes at the end of the piece, where Day calls on Democrats to better represent women by being open to compromise with Republican lawmakers on issues that matter to ladies. Perhaps Day has been absent from recent debacles including comprehensive immigration legislation (certainly an issue that impacts millions of women across the country) and the budget, or maybe she missed the coverage of primaries where a willingness on the side of Republicans to compromise with Democrats translated into even more conservative primary challenges, but either way – Day is calling on the wrong party to be open to compromise.
The votes of women are important. In many ways, President Obama's second term was in large part due to the voter gender gap. Perhaps Day's article is less aimed at the women the party has already lost, and more as a stop-gap method of retention. Don't worry, the article reassures conservative voters, the GOP does not really have a problem representing the concerns of women. It's all the Democrats' fault.