So, Republican leaders, how is that women voter outreach going? Not too well, if your latest projects are any indication.
Of course, there was only so much we could really expect from a party who literally had to hold classes to teach their candidates how not to say, “women who are pregnant by rape should be forced to give birth” (oh, they still believe it, it’s just to make sure they don’t say it like that). When you have to actually be “schooled” on how to talk to female voters, outreach was always going to be a bit outside of the party’s comfort zone.
The newest efforts, though? Well, they aren’t going so well. In an attempt to prove that they are pro-women, the GOP is talking to them the only way they know how — by belittling them.
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That’s the only explanation behind a new website in Texas called “Female Fact(her).” The name, presumably, comes from the idea that women somehow have a different set of facts than men, or maybe that they do have the same facts but they have to learn them in a different, more gentle way, because ladybrains? Whatever the reason that the GOP decided to create female-centric “facts,” the truth is they really, well, aren’t the truth at all.
“The website is a laughable attempt to appropriate some selected successes of feminism — for example, better educational opportunities for women, and workplace advancements that have allowed a very few of them to rise to the highest echelons of the business world and attribute them to the Republican politicians who have dominated Texas politics over the last 20 years,”reports Texas journalist Andrea Grimes. “In doing so, the campaign is apparently trying to unite all the Texas womenfolk who’ve been oppressed by Obamacare’s affordable birth control, who long to carry their assault rifles to Target.”
“Laughable” is exactly the right word, too. Starting with the fact that the Texas GOP couldn’t come up with enough topics to even talk to women about, and were forced to duplicate three of them in their logo to look like they had more talking points (apparently there were no facts on, say the environment, daycare, parental leave, early childhood education or retirement to share), the site is rife with deception. They tout the need for more women in higher level executive work roles while ignoring the factors like family leave or equal pay that keep them from attaining those levels in the office, or discuss how health care costs allegedly go up for women over age 55 due to the Affordable Care Act but neglect to mention the ways it decreased for many under that age because of the end of charging women more then men in insurance plans simply because they are female.
Talking down to women isn’t just a Texas GOP thing. Nationally conservatives think the best way to get through to women voters is to explain how voting for Democrats is bad by comparing them to a bad relationship. That’s the gist of a new ad out from Americans for Shared Prosperity, which depicts a woman bemoaning how awful her boyfriend is because, “He’s in my emails, text messages, spying on me, but ignoring real threats — He thinks the only thing I care about is free birth control, but he won’t even let me keep my own doctor.” The “boyfriend,” of course, is President Barack Obama, and the ad claims that “I know I’m stuck with Barack for two more years, but I’m not stuck with his friends,” apparently meant to encourage women to vote out Obama allies in the midterm.
Of course, there are a myriad of issues with this message, starting with the GOP’s offensive underlying statement that women in bad relationships should wait it out and do whatever they can to make it slightly more pleasant in the meantime. But that’s expected from a party that thinks that women can’t understand complex issues unless they are presented as a dating game. “Reducing the relationship women have with the government and the president to a dating relationship when we’re talking about serious policy issues, I think these women voters feel they have a more complex relationship, and I’m not sure that’s really being understood,” Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers, told MSNBC.com.
With just six weeks until election day, the GOP really needs to figure out its relationship with women if it wants to win their votes. So far, these cutesy outreach tricks aren’t cutting it.