Politics and Public Opinion, Elections, Society and Culture

Single mom seeking GOP suitor

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The GOP can’t win a national race without the support of women. At 53% of the electorate in the 2012 election, women broke for Obama decisively, 55% to 44%.  Additionally, single women, which made up a nearly a quarter of all voters, went for Obama by more than two-thirds.

Earlier this week at an event hosted by the Independent Women’s Forum, a stellar line-up of women thinkers explained what the Romney campaign missed: To win, the GOP must have a strategy for reaching women that involves communicating with them on issues they care about. The discussion should be mandatory viewing for anyone who cares about conservative candidates making inroads with female voters.

But left unanswered was the question of how conservatives could speak to younger women in a society where the institutions upon which conservative policies depend — family, faith, work, and community — have been severely attenuated. When it did come up in the form of an audience question, — how to convince a young, single mother to support conservative principles — panelist Mollie Hemingway suggested teaching vulnerable young women the value of marriage for both reducing poverty and improving children’s outcomes.

Point taken. Most people, including writers for the New York Times, agree that stable, two parent households are the ideal. But is this a solution for all women?

Given the facts regarding young men these days, it can’t be. The truth is that, when it comes to men, the floor is falling out. As  Charles Murray shows in his 2012 book “Coming Apart,” men are dropping from the labor force, signing up for disability, not graduating from college, and in too many cases, ending up in jail. In other words, women are left in the lurch because men aren’t holding up their end of the bargain conservative policies require.

So when conservatives reach out to women what do we say? We can’t just say “stay married,” or, for sake of another policy problem often bandied about in GOP circles, “lowering entitlement spending and cutting social programs will encourage job growth.” The answers from women will be “but he’s a drain on my income, and my children are better off without his influence,” or “job growth to what end?” So where is the solution for a young single mother?

Another frequent conservative solution relies on community and local institutions, and conservatives are correct that these institutions are critical for bettering lives. But the foundation of community has long been the church, and in higher poverty areas, church attendance has dropped precipitously. Why should women, who on average are more risk averse than men, risk their security for something that seems nonexistent?

We do need solutions that rekindle communities. But these solutions have to accept people’s circumstances. With all the policy problems that have dominated for the last several years, we’ve lost touch with the daily realities of many women. We won’t ever convince people, particularly women, of the value of conservative big ideas if we can’t convince them that we have solutions that address their daily needs.

In the last election, the  American people were looking for trust and compassion which, as my AEI colleague Henry Olsen has pointed out, Obama carried by a margin of 63 percentage points, giving him the election. So until the American people can trust that conservative candidates both recognize and feel empathy for these voters’ deepest anxieties and to then work with them on that level, we won’t see voting behaviors change.

So while it is important to advocate for marriage and family, accepting that it’s not optimal or even possible for everyone, is an important step towards electoral victory. The great intellectual tradition that is American conservatism is surely big enough to address women as their lives exist today, not as we wish they could be.

15 thoughts on “Single mom seeking GOP suitor

  1. “The great intellectual tradition that is American conservatism is surely big enough to address women as their lives exist today, not as we wish they could be.”

    Thank you for making this statement.Because your FIRST ISSUE to address is the complete erosion of Conservatism’s intellectual tradition because it’s been hijacked by Roger Aisles and bought off “think tanks” that promote ideas that no traditional Conservative could possibly find any merit in.

    When the Conservative revisionists are exposed and disgraced- and this is a process that is happening right now- THEN you get the intellectual and MORAL basis with which to proceed. Right now, all you have is Ted Nugent and Karl Rove’s bastard child, masquerading as a legitimate political creed.

    Fix that first. Then you can talk.

    • Max has got it 100% correct. Van partially correct. The GOP believes in big govt but not for entitlements – only for the military and social edicts on women, immigrants, gays and lesbians, etc.

      so the GOP does believe in the power of Central Govt to tax people to finance their preferred big-govt.

      the challenge for Conservatives though is do they really want to govern or do they want to impose their rigid ideology on people who live in a country that has representative, elective governance?

      how do you do that and still get elected and stay elected?

  2. The GOP has abandoned its principles and moved to positions that thinking voters cannot accept. If it wants to win power it has to abandon its big government agenda and differentiate itself from the Democrats by arguing for individual liberty and responsibility. It cannot fight the welfare state programs of the Democrats by supporting warfare programs that will bankrupt the country.

  3. When so many of the men of this country are staggering or down from a dozen knife-wounds in the back, or turned coat, I think it is too late for any solution to come from a better sales pitch to women.

    I think it is time for the women who are not completely foolish to stop shopping for knights in spotless, gleaming armor, mounted on perfectly formed white horses, to stop tongue-lashing every flaw, real and imagined, and start looking for the man (and the party) who is still fighting, or at least willing to fight, the good fight, even if he is bloodied, bowed, and not very pretty, and do what she can to patch him up and help him fight on.

  4. For the sake of accuracy, your headline should have read, “Single Mom Seeking GOP Money” or better yet, “Single women seeking Men’s Money.” As unflattering as it sounds, it is much closer to the mark. For better or worse, single mommies are now married to the State. Hypergamy, favorable welfare policies, protected legal status, and no-guilt no-fault divorce means women can have all the benefits of men without having to have them personally around. Many of these women have no desire for men in their children’s lives either, leaving our country a social wasteland. They do need men and conservatives because so many of them cannot really provide for themselves in spite of the rhetoric to the contrary.

    The GOP will never outbid the Democrats for the single women’s vote. Knowing that, they need to focus on a strategy that will bear fruit. The right should monopolize the men’s vote and then pick off as many married women as possible. This is not unlike how the Democrats now get 100% of the black vote then try to split the white vote. It would be divisive as hell but it could permanently alter the balance of power. It would also allow the right to avoid racial politics, something which they do not have the stomach to fight, and use gender as a proxy. With 98% of single black females voting for Obama and 71% of them single mothers at the time of their children’s birth it does not take a rocket scientist to know that the Axis-of-Single-Mommy are to a large extent, women of color and not natural allies of the GOP irrespective of the spin that is put on this. These women have zero compunction about not plundering the public coffers in order to give some taxpayer (white male / married white women) a tax cut. It is time to turn the tables. The way I see it is that women need men much more than the other way around.

    The next $ billion the right invests in politics should be to organize the men’s. It would be a natural counterweight to feminism and would pay dividends for the next 100 years not just building a more just and stable society but a more patriarchal and right leaning one as well. I could vote for that.

  5. “Single women seeking Men’s Money.” As unflattering as it sounds, it is much closer to the mark. For better or worse, single mommies are now married to the State. Hypergamy, favorable welfare policies, protected legal status, and no-guilt no-fault divorce means women can have all the benefits of men without having to have them personally around”

    This is a disgusting sentiment. It accuses the women of being moochers and dependent on others, when the usual reason for the single motherhood is the utter lack of responsibility shown by the man.

    Boy, this election REALLY shook out the population from one side or the other. Look who lost- badly.

    • “This is a disgusting sentiment. It accuses the women of being moochers and dependent on others, when the usual reason for the single motherhood is the utter lack of responsibility shown by the man.”

      Max,

      Women are currently filing 70% of all divorces. Can you explain how this is an utter lack of responsibility shown by men? While you are at it, explain to us why only 4% of alimony payments are from women to men. You get bonus points if you can tell us without a lecture about manning-up.

  6. “Women are currently filing 70% of all divorces. Can you explain how this is an utter lack of responsibility shown by men?”

    The fact- if it even IS a fact- that more women file doesn’t mean anything. A lot of men are slackers, cheaters and deadbeats and have already left the marital home. What would you expect the woman to do in that case? Send a Thank You note?

    I was lucky enough to be brought up in a home where I learned how to treat women with respect. When I got out into the real world, I was shocked- and still am- how disrespectful so many men are to their women and families.

    The divorce rate has been hovering around 50% for some time, although surely not all of them involve children or support. But you’re hanging this on women is REALLY off the rails. No worries- you got the political party you asked for, and it got hammered.

    Carry on.

    • Max,
      I don’t know you so there is no need to make this too personal but you seem a little bent out of shape. I am assuming by your handle you are a man. Don’t worry, no one is accusing you of not being manly. And if you are a woman, then I sincerely apologize for calling you manly. Either way, you did not get the bonus points.

      Respect is not getting pissed on and calling it rain. Nor is it something you get in return for money. That is something else. The fact that women are filing 70% of divorces, and it is a fact, is actually quite significant. It is also quite damning and unmistakable. The fact that 41% of children are born out of wedlock is equally so. We have created a welfare system that has in no small part replaced the family. More specifically, it has replaced the men in the family. You can behave like a chivalrous fool and pretend otherwise but facts are a stubborn thing. The worst part of this is that many of those same men who have been cheated out of their families are then required to pay for their displacement, if not directly through alimony and child support then through taxes which fall more heavily on men than women. Throw in affirmative action, wealth transfers through social security, health insurance premiums / benefits, and government benefits and obligations, public education, etc. and it is fair to say men are getting a raw deal.

      If you think that the whored out Democrats and their feminist allies did this all by themselves, don’t. There is an almost equal number of stupid Republican White Knights helping them along. In fact, when you factor out abortion and sexual libertarianism there is probably not two dimes worth of difference between the two major parties. Some people will get and stay married irrespective of the money and social pressures but they (we) are quickly becoming a minority. More and more people, particularly women are giving in to their hypergamous instincts and are just availing themselves upon the State, which is now the new Alpha Baby-Daddy. He funds their lives from cradle to grave.

      • “The fact that women are filing 70% of divorces, and it is a fact, is actually quite significant. It is also quite damning and unmistakable.”

        Sir, are you this daft? Generally, in a legal proceeding, it is the offended party who sues the the offender for redress. This statistic is NOT damning, (or even (sic) “unmistakable”) and your comments are laden with ignorance and prejudice.

        • If someone is a Republican – and in theory, concerned about their general elect-ability from demographics other than white guys – why in the world would they engage in rhetoric like this in the first place?

          It’s almost as if there are Conservatives that basically want to be involved in governance at all… just throw one bomb after another….. makes one wonder what the goal really is….

  7. The fact that the GOP is thinking about this in terms of messaging verses their own “values” – implying that there are people – women out there with different values and no matter how you configure your messages they’re not going to have the GOPs values – says reams about that attitude.

    And it’s not only with women.

    It’s as if the GOP has already decided that their “values” really won’t be values for those who are “not like them”.

    The trick to governance is not to get elected on false pretenses using clever messages then to impose on others your principles – governance requires you to acknowledge the constituencies different values and principles and through leadership – work to a path you both agree on.

    The GOP and it’s rancid right seems intent on “sticking to their guns” in defiance of what it actually takes to govern – a plutocracy – in a country whose Constitution established representative government – via elections.

  8. Here’s an idea.

    Create jobs for men by stopping mass immigration, sending the illegals home, and ending the trade deficit.

    If men had jobs that paid enough to support a family, women might find them more appealing.

    Married women (of all races) supported Romney in 2012.

    The problem is that corporate America supports all of the policies that destroy job opportunities for men (Open Borders, “free” trade, outsourcing).

    • Here’s an idea.

      Create jobs for men by stopping mass immigration, sending the illegals home, and ending the trade deficit.

      Who exactly would ‘create’ jobs for men? And if immigrants were not allowed in the US tech sector would be in shambles. Without all those Germans and Brits your aerospace sector would certainly be very different. And let us not mention the semiconductor sector, which was mainly created by immigrants. Same is true of much of the rest of the tech sector.

      The only sector that is predominantly created by Americans has been the porn industry. And while that provides many jobs for young American men and women a country has to have something more in order to create real wealth.

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