We’ve already taken note this morning of Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty’s excellent article on how the GOP made inroads into the women’s vote in the just-completed midterm elections.
Wendy McElroy has a great piece over at The Hill that explores the same rich topic, only highlighting the Other Gender Gap:
For years, the Democrats' go-to strategy has been to accuse Republicans of conducting a "war on women" and so appeal to its formidable female voting base. The accusation may no longer be a winner.
Men are emerging as the new power base that Democrats ignore at great peril. This is especially true if women split their votes between both parties.
McElroy looked at post-election polling data to see just how the anti-woman smear played out this year. The votes of male voters seemed to have tipped the scales in a number of races—always towards the Republicans. A few highlights:
Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia). The pro-Democratic and feminist Emily's List issued a memo accusing Moore of turning "her back on West Virginia women time and again." It hit repeatedly on her opposition to ending "gender discrimination in pay." The exit data showed men favoring Capito by 37 points; women by 19.
Tom Cotton (Arkansas). Liberals emphasized that Cotton voted against the Violence Against Women Act. They reached back to his college days to critique an article he wrote for The Harvard Crimson which criticized feminist organizations. Men favored Cotton by 24 points; women by 10.
Joni Ernst (Iowa). The progressive PoliticusUSA called her "a lying Koch-funded teabagger, and an anti-woman's rights evangelical." It cited her support for a "personhood amendment" which would have granted constitutional rights to a fetus. Men favored Ernst by 18 points; women were evenly divided.
Cory Gardner (Colorado). His opponent, Sen. Mark Udall (D), ran a one-issue campaign: reproductive rights. Udall's first ad declared, "It comes down to respect. For women, and our lives. So Congressman Cory Gardner's history promoting harsh anti-abortion laws is disturbing," criticizing Gardner for championing "an eight year crusade to outlaw birth control." Men favored Gardner by 17 points; women favored Udall by 8.
While the GOP still doesn’t do as well as Democrats with women voters, its percentages are better—and, the male vote, always tilting Republican, seems more likely to be determinant in the future.
McElroy also poses the question we all want to ask: how does this affect Hillary Clinton’s almost certain 2016 bid for the White House?
Krauthammer suggested [defeated Democrats] fell because they pushed the war on women strategy too far.
If true, the development has profound implications for Hillary Clinton, who is expected to make a 2016 presidential run. Clinton's main perceived advantage is an ability to mobilize women voters through her signature approach of legislating feminism.
If this drives men further toward the GOP, however, it may be her main disadvantage.
I don’t like identity politics. But perhaps we can interpret the results of the midterms without resorting to identity politics: Americans as a whole have seen the failure of the once-glittering promise of progressive, big government policies. And now the voters, male and female, are moving towards a different consensus.