Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Should GOP Worry About Gender Gap?

Everybody wants the GOP to worry about the gender gap, the fact that more women vote for Democrats than Republicans.

So, the worriers say, the GOP should "reach out" to women with women-friendly policies.

The same applies to the Hispanic vote and the black vote.

National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru takes a look at the problem. Democrats, he writes look at the gender gap and "conclude that they need to hit “women’s issues” hard both to raise their percentage of female votes and to boost female turnout."

Republicans, he adds, look at the gender gap and "conclude that they have a problem with women that they desperately need to address."

But couldn't the oppose be true? Shouldn't Democrats conclude they have a desperate problem with men and Republicans that they need to hit "men's issues" hard?

The simple fact, Ponnuru writes, is that since about 1980 women have trended Democratic because
Polling has for many years consistently found that women are more supportive than men of social-welfare spending, economic regulation, and gun control, and less supportive of military action.
The point is that the Republican Party is the party for people, men and women, that believe in less social-welfare spending, less economic regulation, less gun control and more concern for the enemy without (Commies and Islamists) than the enemy within (racists, sexists, homophobes).

Thus, it makes complete sense that single women vote Democratic and married women vote Republican.  Because when you get right down to it, all women need a protector, women's liberation and feminism be damned. That protector is either a man or a government. Period.

The point is that a Republican can still win in 2016, gender gap or not. All that need happen is that more men and women switch their vote and vote Republican.

As I understand it there are two basic strategies for winning elections. You can run on issues that appeal to your base and split the opposition. Or you can ignore the bases and appeal to the independents in the middle.

In 2012, it is said, the Democrats went for the base and the Republicans went for the independents. The Democrats riled up their base with class warfare (Romney as uncaring rich guy) and gender warfare (GOP war on women). They backed it up with Catalist, their Big Data turnout machine. Republicans assumed the base would turn out and tried to appeal to independents. You know how that turned out.

Apart from Catalist, the Democratic strategy also put the GOP in the uncomfortable position of responding to the question of "when did you stop beating your wife?"

So what should the GOP do? Look, politics is division. You want to unify and enthuse your supporters -- with "base" issues -- and you want to divide and demoralize the opposition -- with "wedge" issues. Then, as a second tier priority, you worry about independents.

So much for tactics. Now let's think about strategy.

I think the GOP should start making a small-government pitch on the basis that big government is dangerous and risky. It should push back on the idea that big government creates security and safety. Just look at the last ten years. The big government mortgage policy nearly crashed the world economy. Millions of people can't find jobs and they are increasing the deficit by relying on government benefits. Government dependency makes people unable to adapt to life challenges. And all the focus on domestic issues means that government takes its eye of the ball on foreign policy. Isn't that the first job of government? Keeping Us Safe?

Put it this way. Every entitlement recipient believes that they deserve their benefit. But what about all the others? Why not spread the idea that increaseing the roll of social-welfare recipients means that the government may run out of money and leave the really deserving current recipients in the lurch? It's all very well to expand Medicaid. But what about the folks already on Medicaid that need it for their health care? Every time you add a new program you are putting the existing beneficiaries at risk.

Social welfare makes people dependent. That's risky. Economic regulation favors existing interests and squeezes people without an in to the rich and the powerful. That's unjust. Guns are the woman's equalizer in a dangerous world. The military is there to Keep Us Safe.

It's the truth. Government riles people up to believe in its promises, but in the end it leaves people hungry, sick, and dying by the side of the road. Hey, think about Mao and his Long March of 6,000 miles from southeast China all the way to the west and then the north. Mao, they say, didn't actually march. He was carried in a litter. How many of the original soldiers that started out on the Long March in October 1934 from the red base actually made it a year and 6,000 miles later to the northern border close to the Soviet Union?

Ultimately what makes the world go round is work and family and skills and the determination to find a way to be useful to other humans. People that sit back and rely on a powerful patron get shafted.

Guess what side the GOP is on?

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