November 20, 2015

ROLL CALL: Could National Security Make 2016 Tougher for Women Candidates?

As national security becomes a bigger issue in the wake of the attacks in Paris, some Democratic strategists worry the issue could cause troubles for their Senate candidates in 2016 — and women candidates in particular.

Polling shows voters generally view Republicans stronger on national security issues than Democrats. But some Democratic strategists and pollsters add the issue is especially challenging for women, who do better at the ballot box when the economy and social issues are at the top of voters’ minds.

“Voters do look at gender,” said Celinda Lake, a prominent Democratic pollster. “Women do better when people are focused on domestic issues [rather] than foreign policy, on policies that require empathy and being in touch rather than toughness. So terrorism is tough for women and tough for Democrats.”

More than a half-dozen Democratic Senate candidates this cycle are women, some of whom are considered the top recruit in their respective race. And these female candidates’ successes will be essential to whether Democrats can net the five seats necessary to take control of the Senate.

I can see Carly as a war leader just fine. On the other hand, the days when it was possible to imagine Hillary as the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history are gone, trumped by her miserable performance when confronted with crises.

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