Alexander's Column

Women Will Elect the Next President

By Mark Alexander · Mar. 22, 2012
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” –Samuel Adams (1781)

“During Women’s History Month,” Obama proclaimed, “we … reaffirm our steadfast commitment to the rights, security and dignity of women. … We see the arc of the American story in the dynamic women who shaped our present and the groundbreaking girls who will steer our future. … With the leadership of the White House Council on Women and Girls, my administration is … making deep and lasting investments in the future of all Americans. I call upon all Americans to observe this month … with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that honor the history, accomplishments, and contributions of American women.”

Indeed, Obama should celebrate women and affirm his commitment to them – because, by a wide margin, they elected him in 2008. More than 56 percent of women voted for Obama versus only 49 percent of men, a seven-point differential, and women may well be the deciding demographic again in 2012 if we conservatives don’t get our message right. Check out this 2012 Obama campaign socialist appeal designed to lure female voters.

Democrats are masters of the “politics of disparity,” using classist, racist and gender issues to create division between Americans and thus conquer conservatives. Nowhere has that division been more successful than in racial demographics – almost 95 percent of black Americans blindly vote to uphold the Democrats' plantation state. (The remaining five percent are probably the most courageous group of voters in America!) But by sheer numbers, women are the largest voting block and thus hold the greatest power to decide elections.

Amid all the questions about which GOP campaign themes will defeat Obama this year, one that conservatives had better start asking is, “What message will draw female voters back to the right side of the political ledger?” That question is critical both because in every presidential election since 1964 more women have voted than men, and because only 43 percent of them voted for McCain. With men voting in 2008 with almost even numbers for McCain and Obama, the women’s vote gave Obama – the most leftist and least qualified major-party candidate in presidential history – an easy electoral win.

By “get our message right,” I am not talking about topical pandering to women’s special interests, but about enlisting more women into the front lines of the eternal fight for Essential Liberty. While conservatives don’t underestimate the critical role of women to the future of Liberty, we do a very poor job of recruiting. Women might not have signed our Declaration of Independence or Constitution, but today they are the deciding force – the force that will vote to either sustain Liberty for future generations, or vote to overwhelm it with Democratic Socialism.

Post Your Opinion: Will the Reagan campaign model still work?

Here are some additional statistics from Rutgers’s Center for American Women and Politics, verified through other sources, that deserve GOP attention.

In 2004, the majority of women voted for John Kerry, though the number of men voting for George W. Bush was sufficient to defeat Kerry. In 2000, a wide majority of women voted for Albert Gore, who carried the popular vote. If not for a razor-thin margin of victory in Florida – one in which the Supreme Court stepped in to prevent Democrat party hacks from stealing the election via continual recounts – Bush would never have had a first term awarded by the Electoral College. (I would note that had Al Gore merely won his, and my, home state of Tennessee, the Florida count would have been irrelevant – but we in the Volunteer State knew Gore well enough to defeat him!)

In 1996, after Bill Clinton’s record of womanizing was in full bloom thanks to Gennifer Flowers and the whole list of what Clinton’s political adviser Betsey Wright coined “bimbo eruptions,” 54 percent of women still voted for Clinton while only 38 percent voted for his Republican opponent, Bob Dole.

In 1992, 45 percent of women voted for Clinton versus 37 percent for George H.W. Bush. (Ross Perot rounded up the remaining votes.) Of course, as I noted early in the run-up to the 2008 campaign, putting an old guy like McCain up against Obama was tantamount to putting up old guys like Dole and Bush against Clinton – with predictable results. Apparently the GOP did not learn the lesson.

Notably, however, 1988 was the last election where a majority of women voted for the Republican candidate – 50 percent for George H.W. Bush, who narrowly edged out Michael Dukakis’s 49 percent.

Of course, Ronald Reagan carried more women in both 1980 and 1984 than his younger Democrat opponents. President Reagan carried majorities of women and men because he centered his campaign message on Liberty and free enterprise rather than parsing it 10 different ways in a self-defeating attempt to round up special interest constituencies – as Republican poll players advise candidates today. I would suggest, in fact, that the only reason that the elder Bush won a slim majority of women voters was carryover good will from President Reagan’s tenure in office.

In 1988, Bush tried to win over the hearts of women by placating them with his “kinder, gentler” conservatism, which evoked this stern response from Nancy Reagan: “Kinder and gentler than who?” In the end, there is nothing kinder and gentler than Lady Liberty herself.

Once again in 2000, the younger Bush made “compassionate conservatism” a centerpiece of his campaign. Didn’t work then, either.

Revelation: Men & Women Differ?

So, what is the GOP to do?

When it comes to communication between men and women, I think the title of John Gray’s bestseller, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” is an apt metaphor. (Maybe in today’s parlance, Men are from Google, Women are from Pinterest.) Apparently that divide is more prevalent in Republicans than Democrats.

I would argue that the gender divide is really centered on voter perception about a candidate’s strength, and that the message, more than age and other factors, is the foundation of a candidate’s strength. Though President Reagan was, at age 69, the oldest man ever elected to the presidency, he was rightfully seen by both men and women to be much stronger than either Jimmy Carter or Walter Mondale, both of whom he trounced at the polls. That was not true of the elder Bush, Dole or McCain, whose mild and muddled platform messages led to the perception that they were weaker than their younger opponents.

What will draw more female voters to a conservative candidate?

For the answer, I went to our resident experts – 10 of our female editors and National Advisory Committee members. (I should qualify their responses by noting that these women each have strong feminine sides, but are as tough and resilient as most any man – and two of them are not to be tangled with under any circumstances.) They concurred that a winning campaign is one centered on Liberty and free enterprise, which articulates how those themes serve the best interests of men, women and families.

However, the messenger needs additional qualities and our editors outlined a few of those as follows:

“Women are moved more by the likability and trustworthiness of a candidate than claims of what government will do for them.”

“Women are more likely to be the caregiver in a family impacted by a disadvantaged child, senior home-bound adult, dealing more with education needs and activities, health care consumer decisions, etc., and thus finely tuned to those issues.”

“We are professionals, educated and well informed, who are looking more for the character of who we would marry versus date, and prefer men with spine.”

“We care deeply about the poor and economically distressed, so tell us how the conservative model will do more to alleviate that than the liberal model. We influence our husbands and families more than Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly and often drive the family philanthropic decisions based on our passion for what is good and right. We are competent in boardrooms and often share the kitchen with our spouse.”

“We have life stories that include times of disappointment, despair, disillusionment and missed opportunities. We have triumphed, learned, loved and led. Make sure the conservative mandates are presented in such a way that we are inspired to use our life experience to achieve those mandates.”

“Craft messages and policy statements with language that appeals to our sense of fairness, justice and mercy, and you will win our passion, persuasion and political power! Speak from the heart to the heart – and tell your political handlers to take a hike. We are looking for truth, purpose and authenticity.”

“Liberty and freedom are to be cherished – say that with conviction at every whistle stop. We will fight for the future of our children and their children because many of us rise every morning with that objective. We can project a message to everyone around us while being charming, confident and kind.”

“Inspiration is what we seek – the kind of inspiration that has substance, honesty and resilience. Faith, Hope and Love are not cliché to us, but words that speak to our life and shape the legacy we want to and will leave the next generation, Lord willing.”

“Liberals know that many women can be lured into their camps by appealing to our emotions, and are masters at convincing us to sympathize with their agenda – persuading us to vote for a host of entitlements that leave many of us feeling good about that vote, rather than understanding that supporting statism perpetuates human misery. Republicans need to short-circuit the liberal message by appealing to the same emotional conviction and convincing us that Leftist doctrines are the source of misery, not the solution for it.”

“Many mothers I know don’t take the time to delve into the issues because they are busy raising families, in some cases juggling a career as well, so they are naturally more influenced by emotive sound bites, a liberal specialty, rather than lengthy cerebral debates. At the end of the day, the MSM is very biased. So the sound-bite consumers (women, in this case) vote without a full understanding of the issues. The Leftmedia definitely sensationalizes and spins to appeal to an emotional level in men and women, rather than a factual one.”

“I graduated from college in the early ‘90s, and since then worked at two 'women’s rights’ organizations. It took me longer to recover from the Leftist university indoctrination than to become disillusioned with the liberal feminist movement. With that as a backdrop, the Democrats have done an excellent job of convincing women, not only that they have their best interests at heart, but what those interests are. The feminist movement is a major driving force in the Democrat Party. There is no real counterforce in the Republican Party, and that is a significant problem. Republican candidates need to take control of the debate, especially on feminist issues.”

“Husbands and fathers, those of you who have not already fallen victim to feminization, act like men – but love and affirm your wives and daughters so they will be drawn to strength, not reject it.”

Post Your Opinion: Women, what else should the GOP know?

So, there you have insightful wisdom from conservative women, most of whom are keen observers of their female friends and colleagues of all political stripes.

The bottom line is that the GOP candidate who can clearly articulate why Liberty and free enterprise are winning goals for women and families, and who is perceived to be strong, to be of good character, trustworthy and devoted to his spouse and family, will very likely attract enough female voters to defeat Obama socialist propaganda.

“Above all we must realize that no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.” –Ronald Reagan

View all comments


Arlie O. Pritchard, Jr. said:

Focus on OPPORTUNITY and UPWARD MOBILITY for all Americans. STAY AWAY, completely, from SOCIAL ISSUES, particularly ABORTION.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Robert Fallin said:

The only candidate among the Republicans who embodies the qualities you describe is Ron Paul, and he is not doing well in the primaries with women. Why is that?

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Kurt.S in Missouri said:

It's not a matter of what the GOP should know, it is a matter of what women should know about the Liberals.By pushing pharmaceutical birth control, the Liberals are leaving women open to all of the dangers of the venereal diseases that are spread by direct contact. It is like they are saying "Your only worth is as a vessel for recreational sex and our only interest is in keeping you without child so you may continue in that mode."That is most demeaning. Why women consider that to be a worthy argument is beyond me.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM

mike517 in Ottawa said:

You asked "Will the Reagan campaign model still work?". Certainly!

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Jerry said:

I believe I've read that the problem is mostly with single women. Your "expert panel" sounds like it's coming mostly from married women with children.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Monte W. Allred said:

with the experience gained through several years of living in middle eastern countries, there is no doubt in my mind that women in the USA have no idea as to how their counterparts are being treated within the islamic faith. women of the islamic faith are treated, from a very early age, with total disrespect, as property to be used as necessary and disposed of if necessary as the men of the faith deem necessary, all within the mets and bounds of the almighty koran.Women have no rights, no freedom, of any kind.Sould Barrack Hussian Obama, an self admitted supporter of the islamic fath, gain another illegal 4 years as president of the usa, american women should consider their own fate if somehow or another this masterminded evil individual, eliminates our religeous freedoms and imposes the will of the islamic faith on all of us.This is what the Koran prescribes him to do and by GOD he will do it.Now with this in mind, what choice do the majority of women have in voting?

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Barry Payne in Merritt Island, Fl said:

A Reagan like campaign might work but we can't afford Reagan like deficits again. Barry Payne, Titular Despot Emeritus

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Debbie said:

All new tactics must be used to win against the liberals.Unfortunately the demographics have so changed since Reagan,that it will take more internet, social network to win for the Republicans.As a women, the main concern is a candidate that is honest, stands behind the promises spoken, and a sense of history and wherewe are going in the future.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Peter Ivanchich said:

Except for Ron Paul, all the other candidates are more of the same old-same old corrupt political establishment. There is election fraud being carried out in the recent primaries against Ron Paul. In counties where Ron Paul did extremely well, the Republican establishment decided not to include the results. Mitt Romney is just another John McCain.The Republicans share much of the blame for what this country has become by not adhering to Constitutional principles! The establishment has entrenched itself so well, I fear there is no way to get rid of our corrupt politicans except through revolution.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Lisa in MD said:

What I want is the government to not tell me what is best for ME or MY FAMILY. They don't live with me thank goodness! If I need help I will come and ask for it. I am willing to help those in need, but don't take advange of that help. The democrats all they seem to want to do is take my tax dollars and hand it to folks that are able to work but won't, Those folks I don't want to help. Do something with your life beside sitting around getting free stuff and that is why Obama is going to get back in, women are stupid to think that this man love this country. Nothing he does or says will change my mind. I didn't vote for him the first time and will NOT vote for him this time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

TheHarp in Oregon said:

Reagan's campaign model will work. It merely needs someone with the courage and vision to institute it. Where is that person? We're waiting.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

millerized said:

"Above all we must realize that no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." --Ronald ReaganThat should always be followed by a "Amen", in my opinion.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Karl Bullock said:

For whatever reason Republican voters seem to be playing the "best electable personality" game instead of picking the candidate with the best ideas on how to fix this gigantic mess we've dug ourselves into. Unfortunately, when you play the electability game, the result is mediocrity, and if mediocrity is your goal, you'll always achieve it. There is one candidate above the others who has the plans, the vision, and the proven tenacity to buck the system and get things accomplished the American people want, and he's not a neocon like Romney who is never really sure what he believes until he sees which way the political winds are blowing. Until we get serious and start electing on principles based on evidence of past accomplishments rather than rhetoric, we will continue this slide downward, and right now, we're not far from the bottom! Here's a hint: A plan leading $2.50 gas is a great start. From there, dismantle decades of insane liberal policies and put freedom back on the front burner!

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Lisa in MD said:

@ Monte, I agree with you. Had am friend married to a Muslim guy and it wasnt pretty sometimes for her. She is no longer married to him which is a good thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:11 PM

GMButler said:

@Peter Ivanchich,Why is it that folks like you who have names that sound "behind the Iron Curtain-ish", get it? I am working with a lovely Russian realtor with a thick accent and a Ron Paul bumper sticker who tells me, "If it looks like a Communist, talks like a Communist, and stinks like a Communist, IT IS A COMMUNIST, and Obama is a stinking Communist!"

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:11 PM