Can Alison Lundergan Grimes finally say who she voted for in 2012?
Grimes, who lost to Senator Mitch McConnell, likely the next Senate Majority Leader, after a gaffe-filled campaign, looked silly when she refused to state the obvious.
But her bigger mistake was relying on the phony “war on women” rhetoric that helped the recipient of Lundergran Grimes’ 2012 mystery vote retain the White House. The “war on women” didn’t work in 2014.
Other “war on women” casualties last night included defeated Colorado Senator Mark “Uterus” Udall, whose campaign was described by one pundit as “wall to wall gynecology,” and Texas gubernatorial aspirant Wendy Davis.
The deck was always stacked against Davis in red state Texas, but her early supporters thought she would win by beating the “war on women” drum. Like Grimes, Davis was not helped by being a gaffe-prone candidate.
Sandra Fluke, whose valiant crusade to make Jesuits pay for her birth control made her the poster girl for the “war on women,” was defeated in her bid for a seat in the California State Senate.
I don’t like to talk about the gender of a politician, since I am not a fan of identity politics, but it should be noted that GOP Senator-elect Joni Ernst is the first woman ever to be elected to state-wide office in Iowa. Shelley Moore Caputo is replacing retiring Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia, and Mia Love sailed to victory for a House seat from Utah. New York’s Elise Stefanik, 30, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress last night. Democrat Elizabeth Holtzman, who was 31 when first elected to Congress in 1973, formerly held that distinction.
Republican Marilinda Garcia was defeated last night in her bid for a seat in Congress from New Hampshire. But we have not heard the last of this impressive young woman. Susana Martinez had no trouble holding onto her job as governor of New Mexico. Nikki Haley’s race to remain governor of South Carolina didn’t get much attention because she was never in serious jeopardy.
Why didn’t the “war on women” help the Democrats in 2012? I have a theory: it was not the 2014 midterms that were an “election about nothing,” as the Democrats and pundits repeatedly suggested. It was 2012. There were serious issues on the horizon in 2012, but the Democrats managed to keep the lid on Pandora’s box. The economy: it’s getting better. Terrorism: hey, Bin Laden is dead, and GM is alive.
The Democrats couldn’t keep the lid on Ms. Pandora’s box in 2014. ISIS, beheadings, and stagnant wages were all too real.
The “war on women” was always a luxury item—something to use in a frivolous campaign year. But the chips are down abroad and things are hard at home.
We are well aware of real things to fear in 2014. Thus, despite his best efforts, Mark Udall was unable to frighten women that the GOP was coming for their contraception (though he continued to try even after his opponent came out for making forms of contraception that are now prescription available over the counter). But the GOP never had designs on women's birth control pills and devices. The contraception “issue” was always a luxury item.
In 2014, the voters got real. This awakening to reality may not be beneficial to Hillary Clinton, who is preparing to run for the White House on her gender.