William Hamilton: The desperate housewives of the swing states
April 17, 2012
Political pollster Dr. Frank Luntz finds the best predictors of how women will vote are: family status and employment status. Of lesser importance in crafting an appeal to women voters are: age, education, and income.
Dr. Luntz says, “Younger women lean heavily toward the Democrats, while older women split their votes more evenly between the two parties. Married women over thirty-five with children at home slightly favor the GOP, while single women, including those who are divorced or widowed, are solidly in the Democratic fold.”
According to USA Today, the outcome of the presidential race will hinge on the swing states of: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In all states, however, Mr. Romney would be well-advised to extol the virtues of motherhood, for both stay-at-home mothers and for working-mothers as well. Any male who has had to take over from his wife learns full-well that being a housewife and mother is not just any job – it is a really difficult and exhausting job. Mr. Romney would be well-advised to seek the votes of older women who are mothers and grandmothers and talk to them about the creation of good, steady jobs and stress how the American family is at the heart of America’s greatness. Or, whatever’s left of it.
President Obama would be well-advised to go after young women who are single, divorced, or widowed. That demographic cohort is more likely to respond to promises of more social services paid for by someone else. Here, President Obama should have an advantage because, as the president was once described by Vice President Joe Biden: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
Rich Galen, the ever-wise political pundit, reminds us the presidential race is not truly a national race but, instead, 50 individual state races for 535 Electoral College votes plus one race for the three Electoral College votes of the District of Columbia for a total of: 538. Get 270 Electoral College votes and you win.
The current box office hit “The Hunger Games,” by taking its basic plot from the Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, reminds us of how male politicians can get off on the wrong foot with women.
When King Minos of Crete defeated Athens, he demanded 14 Athenian children be sent to Crete each year to be eaten by the Minotaur. But Theseus, a young, handsome Athenian lawyer-politician – Joe Biden would describe Theseus as a clean-type Greek – slipped in among the Athenian children. At the banquet held the evening before the children were to be thrown to the Minotaur, Ariadne, the King’s daughter, falls in love with Theseus.
Ariadne offers Theseus a deal: She will slip Theseus a sword with which to slay the Minotaur and also a ball of string so he can find his way back out of the maze that concealed the Minotaur. In return, Theseus must agree to take Ariadne away to some island where others can admire her beauty. Theseus agrees.
After slaying the Minotaur, Theseus takes the children and Ariadne to a neighboring island where the trusting Ariadne falls asleep. Then, Theseus, the jerk, doesn’t bother to wake Ariadne and sails off to Athens with the children. This was the origin of the Feminist Movement and the Myth of Men Behaving Badly.
Oops, sorry. I may have confused trying to communicate with women with the Myth of Sisyphus, the mythological figure who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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