When I was growing up in the ‘70s, there was a groovy poster that asked the penetrating question, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” Well, in most places, the Democrats found that out on Election Night 2014 after they tried to restage the 2012 “War on Women.”
I didn’t have to become unexpectedly single in my late 40s to be reminded of one basic fact:
Grown women don’t dig being condescended to.
But that was the Democrats’ whole approach in wooing the next constituency they wanted to be able to someday take for granted.
Ever since Sandra Fluke announced she couldn’t afford birth control because she unconvincingly claimed to have needed $3000 of it through her law school tenure, the Democrats have decided that gender identity politics could be as valuable to them as racial identity politics.
It seemed to work in 2012, thanks to an unexpected assist from Todd Akin, who probably picked up the crazy idea in a tent meeting somewhere (where he got the rest of his scientific knowledge) that pregnancies resulting from rape are not merely rare, they basically cannot happen.
So Democrats, spurred on by their cultural Left wing in Hollywood and the media, decided that women (a majority of the population) could be the new minority victim group in their identity coalition that would give them an unassailable majority. But this ignored the fact that economic populism and a flat-footed opponent who directly matched their stereotype had a lot more to do with the 2014 Obama victory.
They decided to openly treat women as though their pretty heads couldn’t be bothered with such things as stagnant middle class incomes, the fact that their kids can only get part-time work because of Obamacare, Ebola, or the fact that the world is “going to hell in a handbasket.”
No, in the Democrat world, chicks only care about their lady parts.
Aside from the condescension of candidates like Mark “Uterus” in Colorado, the Democrats had another problem—most women don’t hate men.
It’s easier to keep the black vote home in urban areas because a) blacks don’t like Republicans and b) there are real problems somebody needs to be blamed for.
But most adult women are married. Most have sons. They don’t WANT an economy or a culture that advantages women to the disadvantage of men. Nor do they feel particularly oppressed by them.
And where Republicans ran candidates—men OR women—who refused to fight on the Democrat turf of gender identity, they won their competitive races. All of them.
But where they did, they got stomped.
In Michigan, wealthy former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land cleared the field by going up on television early and often starting in the late winter, after Congressmen Mike Rogers and Dave Camp made it clear they were not interested in running for the open Senate seat even though they had big war chests and were retiring.
When the Democrat nominee, the singularly unimpressive Congressman Gary Peters, suggested that Terri Lynn Land was part and parcel of the “Republican War on Women,” the above was Land’s response.
Voters echoed her response of “Really?” But not in the way she wanted. Talk about a pregnant pause. She wasn’t the only one checking her watch.
The ad went semi-viral, and though most of the coverage was mocking, Land and her team took this as a signal to double down on the “I’m a woman, I really really am” strategy.
Land’s next ad (no longer available on YouTube) showed squabbling boys in blazers and khakis fighting in the back yard, while Land assured us that “as a mom,” she was used to bickering children and would be able to whip Congress into shape too.
Yes, no one ELSE of the 535 members of Congress has ever reproduced.
Land continued to run awkward TV ads featuring herself, while stumbling badly in public appearances, so she began to severely limit them—a major problem if you want to win in a decidedly purple state. She refused to debate—though not openly of course—leading the Detroit Free Press’s Brian Dickerson to remark that she was “about as accessible up to this point in her campaign as a music video diva recovering from plastic surgery.”
I have never agreed with Brian Dickerson on any issue, and he has been a particular thorn in the side of any conservative judicial candidate I have worked with in the Metro Detroit region—but I wish I had written that.
Land then doubled down on playing the Woman Card by playing the Woman Victim Card. She refused to participate in a Free Press-sponsored debate unless Brian Dickerson apologized for his “sexist” remark.
In October, I bet you could find more references to Terri Lynn Land crying “sexist” in public than you could for Gloria Steinem.
Late in the campaign, Gary Peters gave Land an opening she could have driven a truck through. This ad was lauded by the liberal press as the best of the campaign:
The proper response, of course, is “Gary Peters is frugal with HIS own money, but here is what he has done with YOURS” compete with ridiculous earmarks from spending bills and Obamacare.
Here is how Land countered:
Yep, she’s still a Mom—and she threw in the leftist myth about “equal pay” in at the end for good measure.
On Election Day, a governor who passed right to work in the birthplace of the UAW and all incumbent Republican statewide office-holders swept into office. Republicans, already in comfortable majorities, made even more gains in both the state House and Senate.
Terri Lynn Land managed 41% of the vote. It’s hard to think of what she would have gotten without the Republican wave.
You’d think the Michigan Republican establishment would have learned they can’t play identity politics. In 1986, they recruited William Lucas, a moderate black Democrat Wayne County executive (home of Detroit), to switch parties and run for governor on their ticket. But their campaign basically consisted of “hey, look, Detroit, our candidate is black, so don’t vote 95% Democrat, okay?”
Lucas only took Michigan’s most Republican (and whitest) county in a historic landslide loss.
Lesson to Republicans: Women don’t like to be condescended to by women, either.
Colorado, of course, was famously Ground Zero for the Democrats’ fight in the war on women. The newly blue state has famously socially liberal areas like Boulder and Denver, and incumbent Senator Mark Udall thought he had the race in the bag as long as he pounded his pro-life opponent into the ground.
After a while, Udall’s single-minded focus had the liberal Denver Post dubbing him “Mark Uterus.”
Here’s how hilariously desperate the sex warriors got:
Result: Senator Uterus got 45% of the vote. Only slightly better than the tongue-tied Land.
In the meantime, Republican women were sweeping into office, talking about big government, Obamacare, terrorism and the economy.
The most famous of these, of course, is Joni Ernst:
Ernst ran as a veteran, an Iowa farmer, and on conservative issues. After the “Make ‘Em Squeal” ad, she doubled down on her Heartland image:
Note: she embraced being a woman without making it the primary focus.
Interestingly, the consultant for Ernst’s rich, self-funded primary opponent mocked Ernst’s ads, saying they were a turn-off for “women and independent voters.” I bet he and Land’s consultant attend the same Washington cocktail parties.
Ernst almost fell into the gender identity trap when outgoing Senator Harkin made a typical old guy comment about how people shouldn’t vote for her because she looks like Taylor Swift. Ernst should have mockingly thanked Harkin for the compliment; but her expressions of being “offended” were so cheerful that nobody took it too seriously and it didn’t take her offtrack.
Meanwhile, Mia Love became the first black female Republican elected to Congress, and she’s from Utah, a state not exactly known for being friendly toward leadership from either demographic category. Here’s what she told CNN about her win:
Thirty-year-old Elise Stefanik, of upstate New York, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress; she dabbled in “women’s issues,” but mostly played on her youth as a contrast to stale, entrenched Congress.
And Shelley Moore Capito, the first woman elected to the Senate from West Virginia, ran on the War on Coal.
There is right now a perfect opportunity for Republicans to declare a war on identity politics in general. Something even Bill Clinton paid lip service (sorry folks, I couldn’t resist) to recently:
When Republicans play identity politics, they concede a leftist point that puts them on a playing field they cannot win. Too many of the consultant class have learned the wrong lessons from Democrat victories of the past. The public is past this, and it’s time for Republican consultants to get past it too.