by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
As things started to look really bad for Democrats in the waning days of the midterm election, we started to hear complaints that Democratic candidates had focused too much of their effort on flogging the idea of a Republican “war on women.” Colorado’s Mark Udall returned to this theme so often that he was dubbed “Mark Uterus,” and you can see where that got him: he lost by a five-point margin.
And that’s not the worst of it. No one built their campaign around the “women’s issue” of abortion rights more fully than Wendy Davis in Texas. She went down in flames, which included losing the votes of Texas women by nine points. She lost among married women by 25 points, which indicates the shallowness of making birth control and abortion into a campaign issue. It appeals only to young women for whom the issue is perhaps more immediate, but who are also relatively uninformed. Which explains why they don’t realize that this is partly a fake campaign issue: while many Republicans want to limit abortion rights, the Republican campaign against birth control is a bizarre leftist fantasy.
Speaking of birth control, Sandra Fluke, who burst onto the national scene after being called a rude name by Rush Limbaugh because she was agitating for free university-provided condoms, lost her race for a California state senate seat.
So if the “war on women” was such a political loser, does that mean it was a mistake to focus on that issue instead of, say, the economy, or jobs, or foreign policy, or something else?
Well, this implies that Democrats had any choice in the matter. To list the alternative issues for Democrats is to rattle off a series of pretty unpromising topics.